The commission, co-chaired by Rep. Stephen Ucci, will address issues of privacy and safety in an effort to balance appropriate regulation with support for the new industry. Ucci told local news stations that he did not want to stifle the use of drones in reasonable commercial applications, such as agriculture or first response work. Ucci also emphasized that problems exist not with drones, but with irresponsible users. He pointed out that now that the DOT has announced their own system of drone registration, the goal of the commission is simply to establish rules about how drones may be used in Rhode Island.
RI was ahead of the curve on suggesting drone registration, as Rep. Raymond Gallison introduced that topic at a hearing on drones held last spring. The RI Assembly hearing in March addressed issues of drone registration, privacy laws, and the unauthorized use of drones by law enforcement.
The selection of members has met with criticism from the RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights (RICDHCR), who claim that the commission, which includes representatives from industry and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will be too “pro-drone” to protect consumers sufficiently. The group, led by RI College Philosophy Professor Randall Rose, has been a vocal opponent of drone use. Earlier in the year, the RICDHCR organized a protest before a drone store opening in Warwick, RI, claiming that drones represent a threat to personal privacy rights.
“The discussion at the commission today talked about Rhode Island being a leader in permitting drones. It didn’t talk about Rhode Island being a leader in protecting people’s privacy,” Rose told NBC10.
The new commission will meet once a month, with a goal of developing new legislation by January when the General Assembly reconvenes.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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