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Sat, Jul 21, 2012

Unmanned Aircraft Industry Backs Privacy Legislation

DoD Bill Reaffirming Individuals’ Fourth Amendment Rights Falls In Line With Industry’s Emphasis On Professionalism

Tthe Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) on Thursday announced support for legislation to reaffirm individuals’ Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. An amendment included in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) only allows funding for the operation of UAS “in accordance” with the Fourth Amendment.

“The unmanned aircraft systems industry strongly supports Rep. LoBiondo’s amendment included in the Defense Appropriations bill, which reaffirms Americans’ Constitutional rights. Unmanned aircraft can help our police, fire fighters and first responders save time, save money and most importantly, save lives, while fully respecting Americans’ rights to privacy. This amendment is right in line with our commitment to the safe and responsible integration of unmanned aircraft into our skies,” said Michael Toscano, president & CEO of AUVSI.

Earlier this year, Congress passed, and the president signed into law, legislation requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to plan for the integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System by 2015. Since then, AUVSI has met with a variety of stakeholders, including nearly a dozen privacy advocates and civil rights groups, to listen to their concerns and begin working toward solutions.

The industry’s backing of the privacy legislation is just the latest example of its commitment to the safe and responsible integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. The industry recently released a Code of Conduct for UAS manufacturers and operators to ensure the safe, professional and respectful use of unmanned aircraft. The Code of Conduct set forth guidelines to provide AUVSI members – and those who design, test and operate UAS for public and civil use – with recommendations for their safe, non-intrusive operation, including respect for the privacy of individuals.

“Like with any emerging technology, it important that a commitment to safety, professionalism and respect is part of the foundation of its use. The Code of Conduct reflects how the rights of individuals and the safety of all users of civil airspace are our top priority as we work to unlock the incredible potential this technology holds,” Toscano said.

FMI: www.auvsi.org

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