A civil liberties group has sued the Federal Aviation Administration, claiming that the agency must create privacy rules before its commercial drone rules go into effect. The claim could bog down a rulemaking process that has already been ongoing for more than three years.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has repeatedly told Congress and the FAA that something must be done to make sure drones aren’t used in a way that invades the public’s privacy, but both the agency and those in the commercial drone industry have taken the viewpoint that the FAA should regulate safety, not privacy.
The suit is much like the ones being filed against the Federal Communications Commission in the net neutrality rules proceedings: EPIC has asked the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC to review the proposed rules, which are set to go into effect in late May. If the court decides to hear the case, that date will be pushed back until after the case is heard.
Not much in the way of arguing or evidence has come out yet, but EPIC has said that the FAA unlawfully ignored a petition signed by EPIC and other privacy groups in 2012 urging the FAA to consider privacy.