Sen. Markey files bill to protect privacy in commercial drone use

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Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has filed a bill to require the Federal Aviation Administration to insert privacy protections in its examination into the possibility of allowing drones to be flown in commercial airspace.

The FAA has been studying the possibility of allowing non-military uses of drones, which has been sought by police departments and other legal officials.

Markey said Monday that his bill, which has been dubbed the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act, would require the FAA to make sure that drone uses had warrants before they conducted any surveillance. 

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"Before countless commercial drones begin to fly overhead, we must ground their operation in strong rules to protect privacy and promote transparency,” Markey said in a statement.

“My drone privacy legislation requires transparency on the domestic use of drones and adds privacy protections that ensure this technology cannot and will not be used to spy on Americans," he continued. "I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on this bipartisan issue to ensure that strong personal privacy protections and public transparency measures are put in place now.”

The FAA's examination of potential drone use has faced criticism from civil liberties groups who argue that they would violate the privacy rights of American citizens.

The FAA has been planning to test the impact of drone use on commercial airline service in six sites around the country.

The agency is required by Congress to render a verdict on the possibility of expanding drone use by 2015.