Commercial Drone Alliance Statement on Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill Privacy Provisions:
The Commercial Drone Alliance is committed to ensuring that the privacy rights of the public are protected. The vast majority of UAS users, whether hobbyist or commercial, use UAS in a respectful way. Commercial UAS operators go to great lengths to protect personal privacy. In addition to complying with numerous federal, state, and local privacy laws, commercial UAS operators take common sense approaches to gathering information where even the smallest privacy concern could arise. Operators are careful about where they fly and what images are taken.
In May 2016, as part of the Department of Commerce’s NTIA multistakeholder process, the UAS industry agreed to a set of privacy Best Practices that create some of the strongest privacy protections in the country. The Best Practices include promises: To create and publish privacy notices; not to intentionally collect information where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; to minimize flights over private property without permission or legal authority; to delete or de-identify information when no longer needed; to avoid making information public except as necessary or with permission; and to manage cybersecurity risks.
In addition last week the FAA, in collaboration with industry, kicked off a new Remote Identification Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to assist the agency to create standards for remotely identifying and tracking unmanned aircraft during operations. The Commercial Drone Alliance is actively participating in this effort and believes we must give this ARC an opportunity to fulfill its mandate.
The approach outlined in the bill could actually compromise security and privacy. Rather than legislating a prescriptive approach and inhibiting innovation, the Commercial Drone Alliance encourages lawmakers to remove the privacy provisions from the Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill and allow the industry’s voluntary privacy best practices and Remote ID ARC efforts time to work.