Federal agency accepting comments on UAS privacy policies

By Patrick C. Miller | March 12, 2015

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is accepting comments on privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) until April 20.

A memorandum issued by Pres. Barack Obama last month directed NTIA to establish a process with stakeholders to develop and communicate the best practices for the commercial and private use of UAS in the national airspace, covering a broad range of UAS platforms and commercial operations.

The presidential document—“Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems”—laid out policies promoting responsible use of UAVs in the private and commercial sectors.

“The Congress recognizes the potential wide-ranged benefits of UAS operations within the United States in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which requires a plan to safely integrate civil UAS into the National Airspace System by September 30, 2015,” said President Obama.

Some of the questions to be addressed include:

  • Should a working group be established for each area dealing with privacy, transparency and accountability?
  • Should stakeholders distinguish between micro (under 4.4 pounds), small (between 4.4 and 55 pounds) and large (more than 55 pounds) UAS platforms?
  • Do smaller or larger platforms raise different issues for privacy, transparency, and accountability?
  • Are there existing best practices or codes of conduct that could serve as the foundations for stakeholders' work?

Written comments on the policy can be submitted by email to [email protected]. They should be machine-readable and not be copy-protected.

Comments can also be mailed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4725, Attn: UAS RFC 2015, Washington, DC 20230. The name of the person or organization filing the comment, as well as a page number on each page of their submissions.

All comments are a part of the public record and will be posted at the NTIA website here without change. All personal identifying information such as names and addresses voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. NTIA will accept anonymous comments, but does not want confidential business information or sensitive or protected information.


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