A new report from the Government Accountability Office outlines the risks of increased domestic drone use -- "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" -- following adoption of a recent law. The GAO report -- "Measuring Progress and Addressing Potential Privacy Concerns Would Facilitate Integration into the National Airspace System" -- notes widespread concern about privacy. The GAO report found that privacy "concerns include the potential for increased amounts of government surveillance using technologies placed on UAS, the collection and use of such data, and potential violations of constitutional Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures." The report also notes that "non-military unmanned aircraft system GPS signals are unencrypted, risking potential interruption of command and control . . .." Earlier this year, EPIC warned Congress that "there are substantial legal and constitutional issues involved in the deployment of aerial drones by federal agencies." EPIC, joined by over 100 organizations, experts, and members of the public, has petitioned the FAA to begin a rule making to establish privacy safeguards. For more information, see EPIC: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler