- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lawmakers who were not quite as enthusiastic as Amazon over expectations that door-to-door deliveries by drones will become a reality by 2015 have brought forth a bill that would ban the practice, at least for the time being.

Sen. Mark Udall said, in The Hill: “Amazon’s experimental drone delivery system is just the latest example of how unmanned aerial systems have the potential to change everything from retail shipping to search and rescue missions.”

He’s among a score of lawmakers — hailing from both parties — who heard Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ pronouncement of product delivery-by-drone with alarm and took up a legislative call to protect his constituents’ privacy.

Sen. Ed Markey introduced legislation requiring privacy rules for drones be in place at the federal level “before our skies teem with commercial drones,” The Hill reported.

Republican Rep. Ted Poe has similarly introduced a bill to protect people’s privacy from drones, warning that “companies could use drones for information gathering whether that is taking a photograph of your patio furniture or recording the make and model of your car,” The Hill reported.

Currently, federal law bans drones for commercial use. But the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to forge rules to open the door to businesses to fly the craft. Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has announced its intent to hold hearings to make sure any new allowances are tempered with privacy protections.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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