Senate Legislation Introduced To Deal With Expected Onslaught Of Domestic Drones


Legislation introduced in the Senate this week would add mandatory privacy controls and transparency provisions to existing legislation meant to guide the United States into an era of widespread government and commercial domestic drone use.

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has offered the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act in a bid to— among other things— require warrants for law enforcement use of drones and limit commercial data collection.

Markey’s legislation would also prohibit the FAA from issuing drone permits to applicants unless the license application “includes a data collection statement that explains who will operate the drone, where the drone will be flown, what kind of data will be collected, how that data will be used, whether the information will be sold to third parties, and the period for which the information will be retained.”

With regard to law enforcement, Markey also seeks to require government agencies and their contractors to “include an additional data minimization statement that explains how they will minimize the collection and retention of data unrelated to the investigation of a crime.”

In an effort to expand transparency, Markey’s bill would also create a public website listing drone license approvals and details about planned data collection efforts using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The bill includes an exception for the provisions requiring warrants for law enforcement use of drones in events where there is imminent risk of death or serious injury or if the Nation is under attack by terrorists.

The FAA is currently developing domestic drone use laws by order of a 2012 mandate. While over 400 drone licenses have already been issued by the agency, the agency is working to have the guidelines fully in place by 2015.

Conservative estimates say that within the next five years, there could be upwards of 7,500 commercial drones in U.S. airspace.

“Bills like the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2013 assure that Americans’ privacy won’t go extinct in the 21st century,” Chris Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union said of Markey’s bill. “It is vital that we have comprehensive rules in place so that new technologies like drones are used in a responsible manner by both companies and the government before they blanket the skies.”

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • vicki

    And what of the private non-commercial use of drones?

    • disqus_mo8ewPYVck

      People seem to have forgotten that Iran downed one of our drones, sent it to the Soviet Union – er, uh, I mean Russia and then it was turned over to Pakistan – our “…Friends in the war-torn region…” (Jay Carney)

  • oldhill

    You stupid Jerk writers, The right to privacy went away in 1994 when they turned on the computer in Falcon Airforce Base, CO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Muffin Man Mashinksy

      Alas, you are right, the Genie has been out of the bottle for some time now & it will only get worse…this bill will be feckless…there are now drones equipped with technology to see through walls…it is game, set , match!!

  • oldhill

    How long does it take to turn a surveillance drone to a weapon drone? 15 minutes?

  • KingKen

    You ninnies-!!! These drones won’t be for surveilance…they will be for taking dissidents like myself. I can hardly wait-!!

    • Deerinwater

      These drones ~ are the future way of doing things. ~ for both good and bad.

      ready or not ~ they are coming.

      i don’t particularly like the idea, but accept the fact that my like or dislike don’t matter.

  • John C. O’Hara

    I don’t care what laws are put in place to protect “private law abiding, non combative, American citizens!” Private companies are going to exploit the heck out of these machines. Imagine what the media alone is going to do as with them! They’ll be peaking in windows of every person that calls 911 for help and if actors and celebrities think the paparazzi are up their hind sides now just wait till they get their disgusting hands on them, wait until they start falling out of the sky. Without a doubt they enemy and anyone with a agenda against the US will hack and exploit this! Maybe someone will start following around our police, lawmakers, and Congress people. Let’s see how the above the law will respond to the intrusion!

  • paendragon

    Ethics are for people who reject true Morality.

    Morality hinges on the Golden Rule of Law (“Do Not Attack First”).

    Ethics describe the symptoms of your decision to break the Golden Rule of Law (the Moral Law).

    So, when Hitler decided to immorally killl all the Jews, he decided to be “ethical” about it, by “painlessly” gassing them to death before burning their bodies.

    In THIS case, the bill only lists all the “ethical” ‘rules’ about who, what, when, where, why, and how they ARE going to deploy their immoral drones against us all. It’s a done deal, and all the ethical laws in the world only exist to distract us from their initial immoral decision to attack us all first.

    You have all just been judged “Guilty Until (never) Proven Innocent” by “your” governments – now what are you going to do about this latest decision of theirs to slanderously attack you all first?!

    • Deerinwater

      painlessly? ~ You lost me there buddy.

      • CommonSense4America

        You will never feel the Hellfire missile. You will be just,,,gone.

  • CommonSense4America

    With all of the secrecy and lying by our government officials, why should we believe them now? It is really a sad day that we cannot trust our government. The rule of law is broken. I believe in common decency, courtesy, and the Ten Commandments. As for the government,,,go eff off.

  • Robert Messmer

    Could we shoot down a non-government drone for trespassing on our airspace? After all I sure thought that was a weapon it had, so I was just defending myself.