On May 18, 2016 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) released a set of voluntary best practices for commercial and private unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) use. That best practice guide was the end result of a development process involving input from individuals and entities in the commercial, academic, civil, and government sectors. Some of these best practices include requiring drone operators to:

  • Minimize operations over or within private property without consent of the property owner or appropriate legal authority;
  • Have a detailed data collection policy and limit data collection to what is outlined in that policy;
  • Not knowingly make the personal information of others public unless permission is first obtained; and
  • Not use or share personal information for marketing purposes without first gaining permission.

These best practices do not apply to news reporting agencies, which are instead encouraged to operate under the ethics rules and standards of their respective organizations. Industry groups, such as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems international (“AUVSI”), hope this federal privacy guidance is adopted by state and local governments.