Yesterday, CDT submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a program that the FAA will soon establish to collect information from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. The FAA plans to integrate UASs into American airspace by 2015; to do so, it must collect data from controlled test sites to better understand UAS safety and privacy implications.
Additionally, our comments highlight some of our recent work on the use of drones domestically. We emphasize the importance of using identification signals to distinguish between individual drones in test sites (following on our recent discussion of a possible “license plate” for drones). We also highlight the importance of data minimization, and propose specific limits that respect free expression rights. As Congress addresses the use of drones domestically via proposed legislation, the policy issues of privacy and free speech will need to be considered in order to adequately protect individual privacy and free expression rights. CDT looks forward to further engagement on the issues of domestic use of drones as the FAA and other governmental entities grapple with the complex issues that such technologies raise.