The U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking comment on a new multistakeholder process aimed at developing privacy best practices for the commercial and private use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
The public is invited to submit suggestions concerning the structure of the multistakeholder engagement and the substantive issues stakeholders will discuss. NTIA expects to convene the first public meeting within 90 days from the publication of the request for comment (RFC).
In a Presidential Memorandum released in February, the White House called on NTIA to convene stakeholders to develop best practices that would enhance privacy, accountability and transparency related to the commercial use of UAS in the National Airspace System.
The Small UAV Coalition plans to be a key participant in the multistakeholder process.
The coalition applauds NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling for his leadership of these issues and for his emphasis on balancing privacy concerns with the need to protect U.S. innovation and economic competitiveness.
Michael Drobac, executive director, says, “The Small UAV Coalition has met with the NTIA in the past to discuss ways in which our members proactively work to protect consumers’ privacy. We are eager to now begin a productive dialogue with all engaged stakeholders. Maintaining consumer trust is paramount to our industry, and we urge all operators – public and private – to adhere to existing privacy laws and to explore new ideas consistent with the president’s order.”
In the RFC, NTIA is seeking input on questions that could frame the multistakeholder discussions, including the following:
- Do some UAS-enabled commercial services raise unique or heightened privacy issues?
- What specific best practices would mitigate the most pressing privacy challenges while supporting innovation?
- What information should commercial UAS operators make public?
- How can UAS operators ensure that oversight procedures for commercial and private UAS operation comply with relevant policies and best practices?
- Should discussions be divided to address the needs of different aircraft sizes or commercial uses?
Those seeking to provide input on the RFC will have 45 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register to submit comments to NTIA.
Comments may be submitted by email to UASrfc2015@ntia.doc.gov.