U.S. Senator: We’re ‘Flying Blind’ When it Comes to UAS Privacy

Following the White House’s announcement of new efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. airspace, Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., is calling for additional privacy safeguards.

“While I am pleased that the White House continues its efforts to safely integrate drones into our national airspace, when it comes to drone privacy, we are still essentially flying blind,” the senator says in a release.

Earlier this year at a congressional hearing, Markey – a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – brought up a “spies in the sky” aspect of drones.

“We need guidelines, especially with regard to information gathered about children in our society,” he said.

In March 2015, he and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., proposed the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act, which the lawmakers said would ensure standards for informing the public about the location, timing and ownership of UAS.

“As more drones take flight, voluntary privacy guidelines and best practices are simply not enough,” Markey adds in the release. “Drones flying overhead could collect very sensitive and personally identifiable information about millions of Americans, but right now, we don’t have sufficient safeguards in place to protect our privacy.

“We need to put privacy rules on the books now before more and more drones take flight over our heads and backyards,” he concludes.


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