White House Calls For Multistakeholder Model Of Drone Privacy

Markey Says Enforceable Sules Still Needed

Add drones (officially unmanned aircraft systems or UAS) to the list of items on the White House agenda for creating a multistakeholder model for protecting privacy and security.

TV stations are testing drones for news gathering and last fall the FAA approved exemptions to drone regulations that will allow TV and movies to use the small, unmanned aircraft to get killer shots without endangering any humans.

The Obama Administration and the FAA released an executive order Feb. 15 with rules for government drone use and for creating a process for promoting protection of privacy, civil rights and civil liberties in commercial and private use (like the guy who landed the drone on the White House lawn) of drones.

Within 90 days, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration has to get to work on a framework for "privacy, accountability, and transparency for commercial and private UAS use."

NTIA has plenty of experience along those lines. It has been teaming with the Federal Trade Commission on coming up with voluntary guidelines for enforcing the President's privacy bill of rights, including mobile app privacy (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/cdd-slams-process-produ...), to mixed reviews.

On the government side, the President ordered that government agencies will only collect information "relevant to an authorized purpose," kept only for 180 days or less unless absolutely necessary, and will not be shared out side the agency unless required by law.

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who has pushed for strong rules, not voluntary practices, and has introduced legislation to that effect, continued to push for more.

“While this proposal is a step towards ensuring Americans’ safety and security are protected as drones take to the skies," he said, "it stops short of ensuring that the strongest safeguards are in place to protect privacy and promote transparency. The FAA order merely directs NTIA to come up with a voluntary framework for privacy for commercial drone use.  We need strong, enforceable rules for both commercial and government activities that require transparency about the collection, use, and retention of data collected by drones before they take flight. I plan to reintroduce legislation in the coming weeks to ensure that this technology that could hold great benefit cannot and will not be used to spy on Americans.”