Government hustles to enact privacy rules for drones

Following up to a post here from July 23, 2014 regarding the development of privacy guidelines for commercial drones operating in U.S. airspace by the Obama administration. This is a "heads up" to the community. Those seeking to provide input on the RFC will have 45 days from March 4, 2015 (the date it was published in the Federal Register) to submit comments to NTIA. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

From PC World Mar 4, 2015

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration plans to host a series of meetings with interested people aimed at developing best practices for protecting privacy in the burgeoning aerial drone industry.

The NTIA will launch what it calls a “multistakeholder process” focused on drone privacy standards in the coming months, the agency said. The NTIA on Wednesday opened up a request for comments on discussions aimed at developing privacy best practices for both the commercial and private use of drones, sometimes called unmanned aircraft systems.

The NTIA-led discussions aim to address privacy concerns while ensuring the U.S. “maintains its leadership and promotes innovation in this growing industry,” NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling said in a statement.

In a February memorandum, President Barack Obama called on the NTIA to launch the discussion on drone privacy standards.

As drones move into the air space, the U.S. government will “take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise,” the White House said in the memo.

The NTIA asked several questions in its request for public comments. Among them:

— Do commercial drone services raise unique or heightened privacy issues?

— What privacy practices would lessen privacy concerns while supporting innovation?

— What information should commercial drone operators make public?

Since 2012, the NTIA has hosted privacy discussions related to mobile apps and facial recognition technology. Some privacy groups have criticized those efforts, saying the discussions are dominated by industry representatives.

Separate from the NTIA discussions, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun issuing drone licenses, and the agency, in February, issued proposed rules for commercial drone flight.

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Comment by technicus acityone on March 7, 2015 at 10:27am

Privacy rule especially for users and owners of drones? Hmmm ...

Comment by Greg Nuspel on March 7, 2015 at 10:59am

I have seen a good answer to this 

Comment by Gary McCray on March 7, 2015 at 11:24am

We've all know this was coming, just not clear from where.

Until now, it had looked like the FAA might have been the agency responsible for this aspect as well.

The fact that it isn't (at least not at this time) actually could be beneficial.

The fact that it is being placed in the same evaluative group and standards as other technologies already under scrutiny is probably good news for us.

They are less likely to react with Draconian excess.

And so far at least, their language at least suggests they are going to take a measured and balanced approach, weighing things carefully.

Of course, sadly, this is Free Market Free For All US politics and the biggest gun (or wallet) usually wins.

Still, at least it isn't the cry for stomping out the drones.



Comment by F1P on March 7, 2015 at 12:04pm

Wright term to resolve "privacy" problem is TELEPRESENCE.

Drone is telepresence device.

U may put your drone or any another telepresemce device in any place where u may positioned themselves and use them at this place in any maner that u may do it yuorself directly.

Any additional restrictions are unconstitutional. Otherwise, it will be necessary to require similar special rules for passenger planes and helicopters, residents of high-rise buildings, owners binoklepy and telescopes, cameras  and any apparatus for capturing an image. And that something else will have to do with the owners of birds which also has also set the camera. = p

Comment by F1P on March 7, 2015 at 12:12pm

Aprppos is it privacy crime?

It device must be prohibited?

Comment by Thomas Donalek on March 7, 2015 at 2:27pm

In many aspects of privacy, we already have existing laws that have been worked through in courts.  If a neighbor stands in his back yard with a wide angle lens on a camera and takes a photo in any direction, he's likely to get the adjacent houses in the photo, and this generally isn't a problem.  A few dark pixels will be the "interior" of those adjacent houses, but this isn't a violation of anyone's privacy under existing laws.  If a neighbor puts a "zoom" (telephoto) lens on her camera, puts herself in a concealed location, points the camera into a neighbor's window, adjusts the camera's exposure to capture the interior of that neighboring home and takes photos looking into the interior of that home, then she is almost certainly violating the well-functioning laws we already have.  The same would be the case if she put a camera on a stick and held the camera/stick boom over her fence in order to take photos through the neighbor's windows into their home.  If she climbs a tree on her property in order to peek over the fence and take photos of the neighbor sun bathing in their yard for prurient purposes, the existing laws handle that.

Laws are already on the books that cover what a news crew in their helicopter or a police helicopter can and can't do in terms of the privacy of the homeowners and businesses below.  If an officer uses his police helicopter and camera to spy on his ex-wife from the air, there are laws on the books that address that.  If a news helicopter lurks over a house and pints their stabilized, high-quality professional camera down into a skylight to "peep" into someone's house, the current laws address that type of activity.  

In every way I can think of, we already have existing laws that protect our privacy in relation to what can and can't be seen from different vantage points and what cameras can and can't be used for.

This visible new(ish) technology is eliciting reactions from the public, and there really should be education to clarify to the public and to people operating RC model aircraft what those laws are and how they protect our privacy and limit what we can and should be doing with our UAVs.

Comment by Gary McCray on March 7, 2015 at 3:15pm

@ Thomas +1

Comment by F1P on March 7, 2015 at 11:57pm

>>>> Thomas Donalek

" then she is almost certainly violating the well-functioning laws we already have."

There are federal level laws is mandatory for ALL and for ANY situations and otherwise local legislation thats most based on local normatives and precedents.

Privacy issues are matters of private prosecution - the complainant itself formulate and prove their own claims,   NOT the Federal Prosecutor or the FBI or any other the federal level officials .

Any restrictions on the federal level aimed at a certain group of persons on the grounds of nationality, religion, convictions, professional or any other affiliation properties unacceptable as unconstitutional. Drone society have all properties of convictions group.

Fedral law give framework for local - all that is not forbidden is considered valid, all of the specific individual problems and complaints are resolved on a private basis at the local level.
way the general principles of law in all countries except those which generally have at least something sane.

Idiotic media compay in press and other sources make wrong image of situation and substitute a common problem in priority claims from insignificant group of people which themselves  provoked be  massmedia itself  in most cases.

Fixx me if i fail plz. Sorry for my "google english".  =)

Comment by Thomas Donalek on March 8, 2015 at 8:01am

F1P, I am not a lawyer, but the sort of "convictions group" you might be thinking of would be essentially a religion in US law, not something like "people who fly drones."  For a law that claims to protect the privacy of the general public, arguing that it disproportionally impacts one group of people who use a particular technology (such as "drones") wouldn't be an effective legal claim to have the law overturned.

Also, the system you describe where federal laws create the framework for local laws, and complaints start at the local level and work their way up would be actually logical.  But in the US we have "federalism" where there is a federal system operating in parallel with the state-based systems, and federal laws aren't a hierarchical level above state law.  Fundamentally, the national Constitution does provide a framework for all laws, federal and state and local.  But every state has its own constitution that theoretically provides the frameworks for that state's law.  The federal Supreme Court (and to some degree, lower federal appeals courts, though their decisions apply only strictly within their one of 11 districts, but courts in other districts take the decisions of other district courts into account) can overrule state laws and even state constitutions, but the process of getting the federal Supreme Court to rule definitively on an issue is very complicated and takes years in most cases, so it (and thus the federal Constitution) exerts a relatively indirect effect on state and local laws.  Currently, we have a human rights issue that has historically been used as a political "wedge issue" where a federal court judge has issued a ruling invalidating an amendment to a state's constitution, but that state uses extremely political elections to select the judges on their state Supreme Court, and one of those politician/judges is trying to claim that the federal courts can't overrule that state's constitution.  Basically, our system is a crazy mess, but more-or-less works, usually, except for when it doesn't.

My statement above is essentially "political." Not in the sense of one party versus another party, but rather an approach that can help the general public and politicians to understand that privacy is a long-standing issue, and we have been dealing with human nature (the desire of some people to act inappropriately with or without "technology") for as long as the United States has existed, and we've been dealing with technologies such as telescopes and camera lenses for roughly a century.  So-called "drones" don't actually change any of the underlying issues.  Because they are "novel" they are attracting the attention of the general public, and the same jerks who have done all sorts of absurd things to "peep" and pry over the decades will abuse this apparently "new technology."  Some portion of the population have a visceral, irrational negative reaction to seeing a multirotor in the air, and form the baseless idea in their head that it's focused on spying on them individually.  (We've seen this in the US from the person who was attacked on the beach in Connecticut, to an instance in Seattle where the resident of a tall apartment building looked out the window, saw a multirotor in the distance and formulated the belief that it must be looking into the windows of her apartment (as we here know, it was mounted with a wide angle lens and from 100m or more, couldn't see anything through her windows.))  Politicians always feel that they must "do something" in regards to any new issue, so in these circumstances that impulse will be to pass or amend laws to single out "drone" use, so that come the next election, they can tout that they "did something" about this "new threat."

In most cases, we should be able to help the general public and politicians to understand that the fundamental issues of privacy aren't new, and that we already have laws that prohibit the misuse of technology like cameras and "aircraft."   (and at the same time, try as much as we can to educate people who operate unmanned vehicles what the laws prohibit and how to behave responsibly.)  There will be misuses of these systems, but that happens today with creeps peeking in neighbors windows and jerks zooming their cameras into others bedroom windows even without multi-rotors.

Comment by F1P on March 9, 2015 at 1:49am

If someone believes that someone else persistently and deliberately tries to invade his privacy using the drone, he must show proof of their accusations, not publicly display their paranoid delusions of persecution.
In common case  technical feasibility does not prove the fact of its use for malicious purposes.
But he has the right to remove any where published images or parts of images that violate his right to privacy. If it proves again =)

A propos false and intrusive allegations and harassment on the basis of the scope of interests can not be the subject of judicial review?

This pattern of behavior to which you aspire.

Why any delirium pubs should  causes endless excuses from the community? You is not tired?
All this has nothing to do with the issues that we are deal.
Society pursuing very different goals and objectives.
Neither you nor anyone from the community does not set itself goals to spy on someone else, or to gather information on him. On the resources of the community are not discussed such issues and not published any materials or that class. Moreover you do not find almost anything associated with the community in the internet. People involved in quite different.
There are obviously need to start protecting the community, all of its members and their hobbies (the area of ​​human activity that we love and dedicate a lot of time and effort) from the idiotic accusations and attacks.

This should be done by all available legal means - including an explanation of how and active legal protection in case of inadequacy of the other side.

I hope google translator not distorted text to beyond recognition? :))


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