By September 2015 the FAA is to publish proposed rules for the integration of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, into the National Airspace System (NAS). All indications are that those rules will relate to safety and will not focus on privacy issues. Privacy issues, however, are a big concern for citizens.
It has been reported that President Obama intends to issue an executive order to develop privacy guidelines for commercial UAS operations in the U.S. airspace. These same reports expect that the executive order will put the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) in charge of such guidelines. The NTIA is the part of the Department of Commerce that is responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issue.
So, depending on the ultimate content, such an executive order and resulting guidelines may serve to address citizens’ concerns regarding the use of UAS by businesses. We will stay tuned and advise as we determine whether these reports are true, if citizens’ concerns are as a result eased, and what this will mean for potential commercial operators of UAS.