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Improving Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

July 13, 2015 by Angela Simpson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have the potential to provide a wide range of innovative and beneficial services to businesses and consumers in the United States. From enhancing news gathering, improving agribusiness, providing new delivery models, to providing Internet in remote areas, the possibilities for UAS are staggering.  Consumer trust and responsible operation are keys to fully tapping the transformative potential of unmanned aircraft.

Earlier this year, President Obama called on NTIA to launch a multistakeholder process to develop best practices that enhance privacy and promote transparent and accountable operation of UAS by commercial and private users. The end goal is best practices that mitigate consumer concerns while promoting growth and innovation in this exciting sector.

In April, we received more than 50 comments regarding the most pressing UAS issues and potential solutions. This input will be the basis of the group’s initial discussions. 

The first meeting will be held on August 3, 2015, with subsequent meetings to take place this fall. We expect this process to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, civil society and academia. The group will craft best practices that can help guide commercial and private UAS operators.

We are looking forward to applying our experiences promoting multistakeholder policymaking in the Internet governance and privacy arenas to this effort to craft best practices for privacy, transparency, and accountability regarding UAS. As we have in other multistakeholder forums, NTIA will act as a neutral convener, with stakeholders driving the process and determining the content of the best practices. 

We appreciate the public’s engagement on UAS and look forward to working with all interested stakeholders to make progress on these important issues.