Democrat drafts drone privacy bill

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) released a draft bill on Wednesday that would require drone operators to meet certain privacy standards.

The bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to consider privacy issues in its rule-making process for granting licenses to commercial drone operators. The bill would also require the drone operators to disclose the kinds of data they plan to collect and how they plan to use it.

ADVERTISEMENT
Police are already allowed to fly drones in American airspace, and the FAA is developing rules to grant licenses to civilian operators

“Drones are already flying in U.S. airspace — with thousands more to come — but with no privacy protections or transparency measures in place," Markey said in a statement. "We are entering a brave new world, and just because a company soon will be able to register a drone license shouldn’t mean that company can turn it into a cash register by selling consumer information."

Markey's bill would require law enforcement agencies to develop a "data-minimization" plan to limit the data they collect with their drones.

According to an FAA estimate, by 2020, there could be 30,000 drones in use in the United States.

In a statement, Markey noted that many drones are equipped to carry surveillance equipment like video cameras, infrared thermal imagers and radar.