A reported White House plan to rely on voluntary adoption of privacy best practices for UAS operations appears unlikely to address concerns that the aerial vehicles will be used to spy on people in their homes or abused by law enforcement officials conducting surveillance.
The U.S. Administration is reportedly working on an executive order to have the Department of Commerce lead industry and privacy advocates in developing voluntary guidelines to address public demands for privacy protections. The job will fall to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to set rules to integrate UAS. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) estimated last year that within three years of such integration, the U.S. market for unmanned aircraft could surge to $13.6 billion and top a total of $81.1 billion within a decade.
Privacy worries, however are widely acknowledged to be slowing the FAA’s efforts. In addition more than 40 states over the last two years have weighed legislation restricting the use of UAS with 14 states adopting such measures and another half dozen still considering limits.
In response to concerns, the FAA established privacy requirements for the six UAS test ranges it set up at the end of 2013 and AUVSI has adopted an industry code of conduct for UAS operators.
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