NTIA Sets May 18, 2016 Meeting to Further Develop Best Practices for UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability

On May 3, 2016, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a notice announcing a May 18, 2016 meeting of stakeholders to address privacy, transparency and accountability in the use of UAS.  This meeting is further to a February 15, 2015 Presidential Memorandum concerning the safeguarding of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties related to domestic use of UAS.  That Memorandum: (i) established guidelines for the federal use of UAS in public activities, directing federal entities to protect civil rights and liberties while ensuring accountability and transparency in the operation of UAS; and (ii) tasked the NTIA with developing a multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop such guidelines for non-commercial UAS operations.  Since February 2015, the NTIA has convened several meetings to discuss privacy issues surrounding the use of UAS.  The May 18th meeting will consider a working draft of voluntary best practices for UAS privacy, transparency, and accountability.  The best practices currently being considered include informing other people not involved in the operation of the UAS of the use of the UAS; showing care in the operation of UAS; showing care in the storage and collection of personal data by the UAS; limiting the use and sharing of data; and securing data.  In an effort to protect the First Amendment rights of newsgathering organizations, the voluntary best practices are not intended to apply to news organizations.  The best practices continue to evolve as both private and public use of UAS expand.