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EPIC FOIA: Drone Industry Cozied Up to Public Officials

Documents obtained by EPIC reveal a steady line of communication between government officials and the drone industry leading up to the government’s policy on drones. According to the documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, public officials regularly communicated with privacy sector members of the Small UAV Coalition, an industry trade group that includes Google, Amazon, and DJI, a Chinese drone company. The government’s “multistakeholder process” has been criticized for undermining democratic institutions and giving industry lobbyists preferential access to government agencies. EPIC advocated for enforceable privacy rules prior to deployment of commercial drones in the United States. After the a multistakeholder process produced voluntary guidelines, EPIC  sued the FAA. The case is currently pending before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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