To recap: In the last year, there has been increasing focus on the issue of domestic use of aerial drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or “unmanned aircraft systems,” UAV or UAS) to conduct surveillance. Months ago, Congress approved the FAA reauthorization bill, which includes a provision to integrate the use of aerial surveillance by drones in the United States by 2015. In July, drone makers sought to answer concerns by releasing voluntary guidelines, but privacy questions remain. Also, there are security questions, as well, as a recent drone “hijacking” proves. Recently, the FAA released its roadmap (pdf) for integrating the use of drones into domestic airspace as well as final privacy requirements (pdf) for the test-site program.
This year, several states have passed or considered laws restricting the use of drones for surveillance in the United States. In February, Charlottesville, Va., became the first city in the United States to pass legislation against the domestic use of drones. U.S. News and World Report says: “The resolution, passed Monday, ‘calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court,’ and ‘pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.’” In April, Idaho passed a law, SB 1134, that would restrict the use of UAVs by law enforcement officials. Read more »