Archive for August 28, 2013

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Aerospace States Offer Guidelines for UAV Legislation

Easing Privacy, Civil Liberties Concerns

Unmanned aerial vehicles — also known as unmanned air systems, remotely piloted aircraft or simply, drones — have been getting a lot of attention lately because their use in missile strikes against terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Critics of U.S. policy say those strikes also kill civilians, causing hard feelings against the United States among the very people it’s trying to win over.

A Gray Eagle UAV in flight 9U.S. Army photo)

A Gray Eagle UAV in flight (U.S. Army photo)

There is also concern that when the Federal Aviation Administration finally allows drones to fly in U.S. airspace, many will be used by police, government agencies, paparazzi and just plain snoops to spy on people — violating innocent people’s privacy and suspected criminals’ civil rights.

An organization of aviation-friendly state officials is also concerned that a growing wave of UAV-restricting state laws could hurt a burgeoning industry that they predict will some day create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in commercial business and tax revenues for the states.

Already, at least six states have passed legislation restricting UAVs including who can fly them and what they can be used for. Several of those laws limit how law enforcement can use the robotic aircraft in investigations.

Now the Aerospace States Association has come up with guidelines for state lawmakers on how they can regulate UAVs without killing off a job-creating industry in its infancy. The association, after consulting with two state government national organizations and other stakeholders like the American Civil Liberties Union, came up with proposals such as when a search warrant should be required for an aerial search of property by a UAV.

Your 4GWAR editor was at the association’s briefing on the guidelines at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (the Industry’s largest trade group) conference and expo in Washington earlier this month.

You can see that story — written in collaboration with colleague Michael Bruno — in the latest (Aug. 19) issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology (subscription required).

Unmanned aircraft play a vital role in counter terrorism, counter insurgency, maritime and border security as well as special operations.

August 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment


August 2013


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