If it wasn’t for those loud, pesky politicians like Rep. Ed Markey, D‐Mass., co‐chairman of the House Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, who introduced updated legislation last week to among other things (pdf), require the FAA to “not issue drone licenses unless the application includes a data collection statement that explains who will operate the drone, where the drone will be flown, what kind of data will be collected, how that data will be used, whether the information will be sold to third parties, and the period for which the information will be retained” as well as require “law enforcement agencies and their contractors and subcontractors [to] include an additional data minimization statement that explains how they will minimize the collection and retention of data unrelated to the investigation of a crime.”
The AP published a story about how drone manufacturers are worried about the growing “privacy concerns” in the United States concerning the prospect of swarms of government, private, commercial, and hobbyist UAVs taking to the air once the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration works out how to let them fly safely in U.S. airspace. The agency intends to have the rules worked out by 2015.
Privacy is an especially complicated concern when it comes to domestic drones, specifically because the technology has gotten so powerful so quickly. For as little as $200, you can buy drones that could easily surveil homes and businesses without permission.
The manufacturers are worried that the FAA will dawdle in its rule making and thus allow politicians, privacy advocates, and others who worry that drones will be abused the time to place what they consider to be unnecessary barriers to their use.
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