On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that its multistakeholder process to develop best practices to address privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to private and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) had concluded with the group reaching a consensus on a best practices document. As we previously reported, the NTIA announced in March 2015 the multistakeholder process in response to a Presidential Memorandum issued by the White House in February 2015, which directed NTIA to facilitate discussion between private sector entities to develop standards for commercial UAS use.
The best practices, which are voluntary, encourage UAS operators to take certain measures including:
- make a reasonable effort to provide notice to individuals of the use of UAS, including the general timeframe and area in which UAS may intentionally be collecting personal information;
- show care in collecting and storing information that identifies a particular person;
- avoid the collection of covered data where the operator knows the data subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy;
- limit the use and sharing of personal information (e.g., for purposes such as credit eligibility, healthcare or employment eligibility) without consent;
- avoid sharing personal information for marketing purposes;
- secure any personal information collected; and
- monitor and comply with evolving laws relating to UAS.
The best practices also acknowledge that UAS have the potential to provide significant benefits to both consumers and businesses. The stakeholders who participated in the group included representatives from industry, news organizations, consumer and privacy advocacy groups, academics and trade associations.