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Multistakeholder Process: Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Date: 
June 21, 2016

This web page provides details on the NTIA-convened multistakeholder process concerning privacy, transparency, and accountability issues regarding commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems.

On February 15, 2015, President Obama issued the Presidential Memorandum “Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”  The Presidential Memorandum states: “As UAS are integrated into the NAS, the Federal Government will take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise.” The Presidential Memorandum establishes a “multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop and communicate best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues regarding commercial and private UAS use in the NAS.” The process will include stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia, and will be initiated by the Department of Commerce, through NTIA, and in consultation with other interested agencies. 

NTIA’s role in the multistakeholder process is to provide a forum for discussion and consensus-building among stakeholders.  When stakeholders disagree, NTIA’s role is to help the parties reach clarity on what their positions are and whether there are options for compromise toward consensus, rather than substituting its own judgment.  Furthermore, this stakeholder group is not an advisory committee, as neither NTIA nor any other Federal agency or office will seek consensus advice or recommendations on policy issues from participants in this multistakeholder process. Public stakeholder meetings will be webcast, and there will be an opportunity for stakeholders viewing the webcast to participate remotely in the meetings through a moderated conference bridge.

On March 5, 2015, NTIA sought public comment regarding privacy, accountability, and transparency issues concerning UAS.  Individuals and entities in the commercial, academic, civil society, and government sectors filed comments.


Stakeholders at the May 18, 2016 meeting agreed to conclude the process, and a diverse group of stakeholders came to consensus on a best practices document. This document was updated at the request of stakeholders on June 21, 2016, to include background information and reaction, but it does not include any changes to the UAS best practices agreed to on May 18. The previous version of the document can be found here.

The stakeholders that support this best practices document include:
Amazon, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Center for Democracy and Technology, Commercial Drone Alliance, Consumer Technology Association, CTIA, Future of Privacy Forum, Intel, New America’s Open Technology Institute, PrecisionHawk, X (Formerly Google [x]), Small UAV Coalition, Online Trust Alliance (OTA), News Media Coalition, Newspaper Association of America (NAA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), Digital Content Next (DCN), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), NetChoice, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Angela Simpson thanked and congratulated stakeholders for their hard work and dedication to the multistakeholder process to develop best practices that will help guide the development and growth of UAS in the United States.

Stakeholder Statements

The following are links to statements from participants in the multistakeholder process for privacy, transparency, and accountability regarding commercial and private use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.


Previous meetings:

May 18, 2016, 2pm-5pm ET in the Boardroom at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006.

  • Agenda
  • "Voluntary Best Practices for UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability (Combined Draft),” May 18, 2016 (Amazon, AUVSI, Center for Democracy and Technology, Consumer Technology Association, CTIA, Future of Privacy Forum, New America’s Open Technology Institute, PrecisionHawk, X (Formerly Google [x]), Small UAV Coalition) [ — clean (pdf) — redline (pdf) —]
  • Drone Manufacturers Alliance [ — redline (pdf) —]
  • Letter from Access Now, ACLU, and EFF on UAS Best Practices Draft [ — pdf — ]
  • News Media Coalition Proposals [ — pdf — ]
  • Proposed Notice Language offered by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and other Participants [ — pdf — ]
  • NTIA Drone-UAS Use Cases [ — pdf — ]

February 24, 2016, 1pm-5pm ET in the Boardroom at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006.

  • 02/24/2016 Meeting Agenda
  • “Voluntary Best Practices for Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems:  Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability (Combined Draft),” December 22, 2015 [ -- pdf -- ]
  • “Governing Principles Guiding UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability Best Practices (Draft),” December 9, 2015 [ -- pdf -- ]
  • Center for Democracy and Technology, “Comparison of CDT and Hogan 11/19/15 draft drone privacy best practices” [ -- pdf -- ]
  • News Media Coalition, “Voluntary Best Practices for Commercial and Private use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability,” February 23, 2016 [ -- pdf --]

November 20, 2015, 1:00-5:00 p.m., ET, Boardroom at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

  • Agenda
  • Center for Democracy and Technology, “UAS Privacy Best Practices - Discussion Draft” [ -- clean pdf -- redline docx -- redline pdf -- ]
  • “Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability – Voluntary Best Practices for Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems" - Hogan Lovells [ -- pdf -- ]
  • NetChoice, “Privacy best practices for the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” [ -- redline docx -- clean docx -- ]
  • News Media Coalition Comments Regarding "Best Practices" Discussion [ -- pdf -- ]
  • NTIA Working Group on UAS: Positive Societal Benefits [ -- pdf -- ]

October 21, 2015


September 24, 2015:

August 3, 2015:

  • Agenda
  • Preliminary Background Resources [ -- docx -- pdf -- ]
  • FAA Presentation [ -- pptx -- pdf -- ]
  • Gregory S. McNeal Presentation [ -- pdf -- ]
  • High Priority Issues [ -- docx -- ]
  • Proposed Procedural Frameworks [ -- docx -- ]
  • Next Steps in Advance of Sept. 24, 2015 Meeting [ -- docx -- ]
  • Resources Regarding State Laws and Bills
  • Privacy Policies for FAA Test Sites

Additional Information