U.S. Government Grounds Drone Fleet, Cites Surveillance Concerns

January 13, 2020

The U.S. Interior Department is permanently grounding its fleet of drones over concerns that the devices will enable aerial surveillance by the Chinese government, according to the Financial Times. The Chinese-manufactured drones, which were used to monitor and map federal land, have been temporarily grounded since October. EPIC, NGOs, and leading experts had long urged the Federal Aviation Administration to regulate the privacy risks of drones. Although the FAA is set to require remote identification of drones—as EPIC first recommended five years ago—the FAA has refused to address drone surveillance. EPIC is currently challenging the FAA's failure to disclose records from the Drone Advisory Committee, which acknowledged the privacy risks posed by drones but failed to propose any privacy safeguards.

Support Our Work

EPIC's work is funded by the support of individuals like you, who allow us to continue to protect privacy, open government, and democratic values in the information age.