With public unease over domestic drones continuing to grow, Rep. Edward Markey on Tuesday offered a bill designed to “prevent flying robots from becoming spying robots.”
“As drones increasingly fill our skies, Americans must be afforded a level of privacy and protection from these aerial technologies,” said Mr. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mr. Markey’s bill, an updated version of legislation he put forth last year, is one of at least a half-dozen drone privacy bills introduced in the House. Measures have also been brought up in the Senate, but so far none have become law.
Specifically, Mr. Markey’s bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration to include a data-collection statement with each application for a drone license, detailing what data will be collected and how the information will be used. It also would require law enforcement agencies to secure judicial warrants before using drones for surveillance, would create a public database of all drone licenses and list the times and locations of all legal drone flights.
Privacy advocates immediately praised Mr. Markey’s bill, though it’s unclear if it will get a vote on the House floor.
The privacy and Fourth Amendment fears associated with drones have only been heightened after the Government Accountability Office revealed last month that the federal government doesn’t know which department or agency is responsible for addressing those concerns.