#AceNewsReport – May.16: EPIC has filed a reply brief in EPIC v. FAA, a lawsuit concerning the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to issue privacy rules for small commercial drones #AceNewsDesk reports
EPIC sued the FAA last year after it refused, yet again, to establish drone privacy regulations—even though Congress demanded a ”comprehensive plan“ for drone deployment in the United States and after more than 100 experts and organizations petitioned the agency for privacy safeguards. In a brief filed last month, the FAA acknowledged “that cameras and other sensors attached to [drones] may pose a risk to privacy interests.” Despite this admission, the FAA continues to deny the agency’s responsibility to set privacy rules.
“The FAA’s response that ‘its mission’ does ‘not include regulating privacy’ ignores the mandate of Congress and the agency’s prior statements,” EPIC wrote in reply. “It is not possible to address the hazards associated with drone operations without addressing privacy in the final rule for small commercial drone.”
EPIC also explained that the FAA “profoundly mischaracterizes the aviation technology at issue” by suggesting that cameras are simply add-ons to drones. Even the FAA’s own statistics disprove this claim: nearly every drone the agency has authorized to fly requires a camera to carry out its approved operations. “Drone cameras are an integral component of drone operations,” EPIC wrote. “Without a camera, it would be almost impossible to operate a commercial drone. Once this essential characteristic of drones is understood, the agency’s high-flying response . . . falls to the ground.”
The case, which is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., is expected to go to oral argument later this year.
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