Markey: U.S. Still 'Flying Blind' on Drone Privacy

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is all for harnessing the power of drones, but also wants the government to establish privacy rules. Currently, the Obama Administration has helped stakeholders come up with voluntary drone privacy best practices, an approach it has taken with other privacy issues, including facial recognition and apps and, announced just this week, the Internet of Things.

But in the wake of the White House announcement of efforts to boost drone use, and voluntary efforts on privacy, Markey called for more.

“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,” he said. “As more drones take flight, voluntary privacy guidelines and best practices are simply not enough. 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.”

Markey has proposed The Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act, legislation to establish drone privacy rules including informing the public about the location and ownership of drones.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.