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White House Drone Memo Right to Focus on Privacy

Today, the White House issued a memo to federal government agencies on the domestic use of unmanned aircraft – drones – by the federal government. The Center for Democracy & Technology issued the follow statement in response:

“Drones have the potential for significant societal, scientific, and economic benefits, but also pose new and intrusive privacy problems. The White House’s memo requires government agencies to enhance transparency and develop clear rules to protect the privacy of Americans. This is an important and welcome step in advancing drone technology, while protecting civil liberties,” said CDT Senior Counsel Harley Geiger.

“However, the White House memo itself does not establish strong privacy and transparency drone standards for agencies, leaving it up to the agencies to develop these standards. Because the memo’s requirements are not specific, the drone policies the agencies set for themselves will be key to how individuals’ privacy is actually protected. Congress still has a role to play in setting strong privacy and transparency standards for drone use,” Geiger added.