Congress Defends Power of Local Authorities to Regulate Drone Privacy

Both the Senate and House are considering bi-partisan drone bills to protect the ability of states and local government to safeguard privacy. The House's Drone Innovation Act, sponsored by Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) and the Senate's Drone Federalism Act, sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), would ensure that FAA regulations do not preempt legitimate interests of local governments to protect personal privacy. Earlier this year, EPIC submitted a statement to the House Transportation Committee and a statement to the Senate Commerce Committee to emphasize the unique privacy risks of drones. EPIC explained that the FAA has failed to establish necessary privacy safeguards and that the states must be free to protect privacy interests. In 2015, EPIC sued the agency, arguing the FAA failed to protect the public from aerial surveillance. EPIC v. FAA is currently before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Argument will likely take place this fall.

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