FAA Publishes Final Rule for Operating Drones Over People
January 15, 2021
The Federal Aviation Administration published the final rule for the operation of drones over people. The rule allows drones to operate over people without first obtaining a waiver to do so. The drone must meet certain requirements (e.g. the drone can't have exposed rotating blades), and the rule doesn't generally allow sustained flight over large gatherings of people outside. EPIC, in comments to the agency, argued that all drones operating over people should broadcast identifying information. In response to comments by EPIC and others, the FAA's final rule prohibits the operation of drones over "open-air assemblies" unless the drone meets the broadcast ID requirement that takes effect in September 2023. Through lawsuits and previous comments to the FAA, EPIC has repeatedly argued the FAA has an obligation to implement privacy safeguards for drones before they operate regularly over people.