Drone Expert Witnesses may soon be called to testify on how and to what extent authorities can remotely identify a drone’s pilot.
At the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Symposium in Baltimore, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) debated the question of when they will allow the identification of the operator of unmanned drone aircraft.
As reported by Ben Hanock in his article: “What’s Next: Whose Drone is That?“, this “remote ID” rule could be a first step to more permissive regulations for commercial drone flights. Authorities want to be able to know who’s operating the drones before drone flights out of the line of sight are allowed. Right now they are generally not allowed under FAA regulations.
If such rules are put in place, this will certainly set up an upcoming battle between privacy and security, one in which attorneys and drone expert witnesses will surely be involved.
First, it will be necessary for the FAA to implement rules regarding the identification of the operators of drones before they allow expanded operation. If such rules are allowed, it is still unclear whether all individuals would be included in such a rule. For example, would the FAA be able to monitor casual operators of drones? Could the FAA capture information from journalists and other information gathering entities? This could raise privacy concerns that will lead to future litigation.