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Drones Drawing State Lawmakers’ Attention, Security Risks Posed by EV Chargers & More

July 07, 2023 (3 min read)

States Focus on Drone Use

As drones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and sophisticated, state governments are coming up with new ways to use them.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced in May that the state would be adding 10 drones—including one with thermal imaging technology—to its fleet of 8 already deployed for monitoring state beaches for sharks.

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has already experimented with the use of drones for tracking game and surveying fish passage structures, among other things, plans to start using drones for crop-dusting noxious weeds.

Last month, roughly a year after a gunman killed seven people and wounded nearly 50 others at a Fourth of July parade in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation (HB 3902) allowing law enforcement to use drones to monitor special events.

Several states have also considered restrictions on the use of drones.

A bill introduced in Iowa (HF 572), for instance, would prohibit drone operators from flying over feedlots and other agricultural animal facilities.

Arkansas enacted legislation (HB 1125) making it a class D felony for a registered sex offender to buy, own or use a drone with image-capture capability.

And Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi (SB 2853) and Tennessee (HB 1070) have all recently barred public agencies from purchasing or deploying drones made in China. (PLURIBUS NEWS, STATE NET)

EV Charger Security Vulnerabilities Pose Significant Risks

Security researchers say vulnerabilities in the EV chargers governments and consumers are rushing to install could not only allow hackers to access the vehicle data or credit card information of individual users or frustrate them by turning their chargers on or off, but also potentially disrupt entire power networks.

“It’s not about your charger, it’s about everyone’s charger at the same time,” said Ken Munro, a cofounder of the British security research firm Pen Test Partners. “We’ve inadvertently created a weapon that nation-states can use against our power grid.” (WIRED)

MA Appeals Court Rules ‘Intangible Harms’ from Data Breach Sufficient Grounds for Class-Action Suit

A panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for customers of a mail-order pharmacy whose personal information was stolen in a cyberattack and allegedly used to file a fake tax return to bring a class-action lawsuit against the company.

A trial court had ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to establish they’d suffered a “concrete injury.” But the appellate panel, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision, ruled: “Intangible harms can also be concrete, including when they ‘are injuries with a close relationship to harms traditionally recognized as providing a basis for lawsuits in American courts,’ such as ‘reputational harms, disclosure of private information, and intrusion upon seclusion.’” (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

Food Delivery Giants Sue NYC over New Minimum Pay Requirements

Uber, DoorDash and Grubhub have sued New York City in an effort to prevent the city’s new minimum pay requirements for gig workers—starting at $18 per hour and increasing to $20 per hour by 2025—from taking effect on July 12. The companies contend the data regulators used to set the pay rates was faulty. (NEW YORK TIMES)

FTC Proposes Rule Banning Fake Online Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule that would ban fake online reviews and testimonials. The rule would prohibit the purchasing or selling of fake reviews; the suppression of negative reviews; and the repurposing of favorable reviews for one particular item to other listings, a practice known as “review hijacking;” as well as bar company insiders from reviewing their company’s products or services without disclosing their relationship to the company. (CNBC)

CO, WY Teaming Up on Carbon Air Capture

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop direct air capture technologies to remove greenhouse gas emissions from the air. Two companies broke ground on Wyoming’s first major carbon capture projects in May. (CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE)

States Taking Keen Interest in Nuclear Energy

Fourteen states, including Colorado, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia, have enacted legislation dealing with nuclear energy this year. Among other things the measures commission studies, repeal moratoriums and provide nuclear workforce development incentives. (PLURIBUS NEWS)

—Compiled by SNCJ Managing Editor KOREY CLARK

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