NAB, RTDNA Back Voluntary Drone Use Standards

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio-Television Digital News Association have said they are committed to participating in a government-convened stakeholder process to come up with voluntary drone privacy standards.

That is according to comments filed to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which the President has charged with overseeing that process.

Calling their news operations "surrogate eyewitnesses for citizens," NAB and RTDNA said their goal is to ensure that the standards do not "unnecessarily" restrict the use of UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) for newsgathering.

The associations said that they understood the privacy concern, but suggested that should not trump the potential for improving news coverage "especially in emergency situations."

"While this is a legitimate concern," they said, "it is not a novel one. UAS simply represent one more manifestation of the always complex intersection between technology and privacy."

They also point out that the industry has a history of developing voluntary guidelines for new-related technologies, including for "helicopters, high resolution satellites, telephoto lenses, hidden cameras, and directional microphones."

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.