Monday, September 25, 2023
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Obama Orders Rules for Government Drones

WASHINGTON (CN) - Federal agencies using drones for surveillance and data collection will get a new set of regulations, the White House announced.

Drones, broadly called "unmanned aircraft systems" have been increasingly used as tools by citizens, organizations and government agencies in recent years.

Among other things, the government uses drones for scientific research and monitoring borders, federal lands and wildfires.

Advocates praise drones for their ability to collect information efficiently and with less risk to aircraft piloted by humans. Many have also strongly criticized the U.S. military's use of drones to conduct air strikes, and have raised concerns about breaches of privacy.

In September, the government plans to fully integrate civil drones into the National Airspace System, and the White House issued a memo outlining regulations for them.

Because drone technology continues to evolve and has many practical uses, the memo requires agencies to examine their policies about data collection before new technology is deployed, and at least once every three years.

Among other things, agencies cannot hold on to personally identifying information collected by drones for more than 180 days, unless the mission requires it to, and must comply with the federal Privacy Act.

Agencies that use drones will also be expected to give public notice of their usage of the aircraft, as well as an annual summary of their drone operations. In related news, the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday proposed rules for individuals and organizations who want to use drones for business purposes.

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