Civic News
Federal government / Technology

Shooting drone pics? Sen. Rockefeller has new regulations for you

The retiring senator announced details on his proposed bill Friday, the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Privacy Act of 2014.”

Millennial Media logo. (Courtesy of Millennial Media)

After setting open government advocates’ nerves on edge last week by objecting to a FOIA reform bill, retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) is proposing a bill to implement privacy restrictions on commercial drone users.
“While their use is rapidly increasing and holds great promise for American businesses and consumers,” Rockefeller — the head of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee — said in a statement, drones “also pose a significant privacy risk if we do not deal with such matters up front.”
The draft bill, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Privacy Act of 2014, would require commercial drone users to obtain consent before filming individuals, under privacy rules to be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.
It would also require “civilian” drone users to post a laundry list of information about the flight and subsequent collected data, including:

  • “information about the circumstances under which the UAS would be operated”
  • “the specific purposes for which images, data and other identifying information would be collected”
  • “the measures to be taken to anonymize and aggregate such information unless prior express consent of the individual was obtained”
  • “contact information for an individual to revoke their consent or to obtain copies of collected information”

A quadcopter drone used by an advertising startup in Philadelphia. (Photo by Dan Marcel)

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