Seminar Addressing Drones
The focus of the FAA in complying with the mandates of FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to incorporate drones into the National Airspace System has been mostly concerned with command and control, detect and avoid, licensing and operational regulations, and other important issues. There are standards and data structures that are being established to support the inclusion of UAS into the airspace. There is, however, a gap in policy regarding the technology required to enforce privacy. There should be rulemaking that requires FAA, Dept. of Commerce, or some other responsible entity to research and enact a streaming metadata infrastructure to provide context to the image collection activities of the UAS community. Such a structure has long been administered by the NGA through their Motion Imagery Standards Board, and most military and intelligence community imaging platforms comply to some extent. The realization that these standards were required came late, after interoperability problems between different UAS systems highlighted the need. The incipient commercial drone industry is in a similar state to the early days of the Predator. There is universal awareness that flying safely and under control are the most important initial concerns. There is now an opportunity to drive structure into the data gathering workflows that will allow real, technology-dependent privacy enforcement to be a part of this exciting new industry. We formed Aerdos, Inc. to develop image privacy technology to support the drone industry along with other markets. While we have a selfish interest in the establishment of community standards for real-time metadata streaming and collection, we feel it is inevitable that the industry will eventually come to that conclusion on its own. Now is the time to build those requirements into the regulatory process, allowing drone manufacturers, operators, and support systems to consider them in their development roadmaps.