Lawmakers introduced bicameral legislation to promote transparency, privacy for commercial and government drone use
Washington (July 24, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today called on the Obama administration to put in place strong, enforceable rules, not simply voluntary practices, to protect the privacy rights of Americans as it develops guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones. A news story today in The Politico reported that President Obama intends to issue an executive order on privacy and drone use, quoting a White House spokesman that “there is an inter-agency process underway” to address privacy issues. In November 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a “road map” for integrating drones into the national airspace that did not include federal privacy protections. The FAA has estimated that 7,500 drones will be flying in American skies in the next five years.
“While we applaud your efforts to address this pressing national issue, we believe that the federal government should put in place strong, enforceable rules – not voluntary best practices – that protect the privacy rights of American citizens,” write the lawmakers in the letter. “Although we are confident that most drones users will serve as good actors and follow best practices, we worry about the worst offenders who will take the opportunity to act unrestricted and ignore any voluntary guidelines.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Last year, Senator Markey and Rep. Welch introduced the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act, legislation that would to require transparency in the use of domestic drones and privacy protections for Americans. Specifically, the legislation would amend the FAA Modernization and Reform Act to: