2 US Senators, Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and John Thune (R-SD) want the FAA to fast-track its “long-delayed” guidelines for remote drone identification, through a letter sent on Monday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “Remote identification will enhance safety, security, and privacy, and serve as a critical tool for law enforcement to respond to and address reports of illegal and unauthorized drone operations,” they said.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) announced in February of this year that drone owners would soon have to “display their device’s registration numbers on the outside of the craft […]with the directive set to take effect on February 23rd.”
Drone flying over buildings….Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash
The agency, however, is still in the process of developing its proposed rules, according to the report by Reuters above, as it has faced thorny issues regarding remote drone identification as well as disagreement among industry and various federal agencies over software and hardware requirements and how to address privacy and data security.
In fact, this requirement is nothing new, for as part of the FAA regulations covering the need to register their drones, owners need to place the registration number within the battery compartment, as long as it is readily accessible.
However, FAA had to change this rule because it posed a danger. The law enforcement community is reported to be “concerned a downed drone could be rigged to secretly contain a bomb inside the battery compartment.”
Having an identifying number prominently on display outside the craft makes it easy for authorities, law enforcers, and concerned citizens to identify violators of drone safety/privacy rules. Many drone owners believe rules are rules and meant for the good. But some remain skeptical about it all, saying these are just additional red tape for normal law-abiding citizens.
Still, in light of the continuing violations of the no-fly-zones rule, the FAA should indeed come out with clear cut rules on the remote drone identification system the soonest, including how this can be effectively implemented.