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FAA Grounds Drone Privacy Safeguards

In a letter to EPIC, the Federal Aviation Administration denied a petition to initiate a public rulemaking to address privacy and civil liberties issues posed by domestic drones. The agency stated it was not required to solicit public comments on the privacy implications of drones because privacy was "not an immediate safety concern." In March 2012, EPIC joined by over 100 other organizations, experts, and members of the public petitioned the FAA to "conduct a notice and comment rulemaking on the impact of privacy and civil liberties related to the use of drones in the United States." The agency published a notice with proposed privacy requirements for drone operators at FAA designated drone test sites. EPIC submitted comments in response to the notice, urging the agency to mandate minimum privacy standards for drone operators. After considering numerous public comments on the privacy impact of aerial drones, the FAA proposed that test site operators develop privacy policies but did not require any specific baseline privacy standards for drone operators. For more information, see EPIC: Domestic Drones and EPIC Spotlight on Surveillance: Drones - Eyes in the Sky.

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