Drone Papers, Please

Do you own a drone? Do you plan on owning a drone at some point in the future? Do you live in the United States or its territories? Bad news:

Its very likely that your name and address will be publicly available in a government maintained database.  You will of course be billed $5 by the FAA for the privilege.

The idea of tracking who uses commercial drones is not something that raises red flags.  Once you start taking into account larger and larger drones, ones carrying cargo, its probably not a bad idea to know who is flying them and where.

We accept this kind of registration with other commercial vehicles with no problem.

But hobbyists is where I start to draw the line.  We live in an age of increasingly accessible and parseable data, often to our great benefit, and that genie will never go back in the bottle.  In our brave new world every piece of data about you need not be defaulted to public and definitely not when it concerns telling the world about what hobbies you have and what items you own.

Forbes Contributor John Goglia plied the FAA directly for an answer and had this confirmed.

I like gadgets and i’m bullish on drones as a cool force for innovation, so this gives me pause.  In a cataclysmically bad year for privacy in America, a small change to these registration rules seems like a fight we can win.

If you think you may be directly affected you can reach out the Federal Aviation Administration directly with a formal comment. The Academy of Model Aeronautics is talking to the FAA about whether change to this regulation is possible, but your voice helps.

We’ve seen the impact on other regulatory rulings like the FCC’s changes for Net Neutrality in the past year, so don’t discount the impact of leaving a comment.

That’s all for now… Happy Droning!

Drone photo by Lima Pix – Used With Creative Commons License

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