The White House confirmed that an inter-agency process is underway regarding the possible issuance of an executive order that would address privacy issues related to the operation of commercial unmanned aircraft, or commercial drones. The executive order could include a directive to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to facilitate a multistakeholder process for drafting a voluntary code of conduct for that would establish best practices for the commercial use of drones.
At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working to meet a September 2015 deadline to issue rules that would allow for civil operation of small unmanned aircraft systems in US airspace. However, a June 26, 2014 report by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Transportation found that the FAA is “significantly behind schedule” in meeting the goal of achieving safe integration by the September 2015 deadline, which was imposed by a statute enacted in 2012.
With a possible multistakeholder process on drones on the horizon, NTIA has continued to push ahead with the current process for facial recognition technology or FRT. On July 24, 2014, NTIA convened its ninth Privacy Multistakeholder Meeting for FRT, where participants continued to refine proposed definitions for the terms “facial detection,” “facial categorization,” and “facial identification.” The group will focus on these terms as they move forward in crafting a voluntary framework. Other FRT issues that are expected to be discussed during the process are marketing, retention, destruction, and consumer choice. The next NTIA multistakeholder meeting on FRT is expected to take place in October.