Aviation industry leaders call on FAA to focus on ‘safety rather than privacy issues’ surrounding drones
By End the Lie
In a letter penned on November 8, 2012, the heads of 20 of the nation’s largest aviation industry groups called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Michael Huerta to continue to integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), better known as drones, into the American National Airspace System (NAS) in a timely manner.
The letter calls on the FAA to completely ignore the quite troubling privacy concerns posed by drones and thus the legal concerns surrounding the sharing of drone-collected surveillance between military and law enforcement.
“It is our belief that for FAA to succeed, the agency must remain focused on safety rather than privacy issues, where the FAA has no statutory standing or technical expertise,” the letter states.
In other words, they want the FAA to write off any and all privacy issues since they supposedly have “no statutory standing or technical expertise” without actually identifying where or when these concerns will be addressed.
It is worth noting that even some in Congress have questioned the expansion of drone use in the United States and those who support it tend to use some disturbing reasoning like citing the supposed benefits of using drones in a warzone (many of which are not true, by the way).
This lack of concern for privacy is especially troubling with new drone training facilities being built, some 110 potential drone bases already identified, the Department of Homeland Security’s increasing interest in small drones and the rise of mind-bending drone technologies.
These industry groups are apparently quite confident in the future of the drone industry. So confident, in fact, that they state, “The future of aviation undoubtedly includes remotely piloted aircraft.”
“The importance of airspace access cannot be overstated and FAA must aggressively protect its preeminent role as manager of the national airspace system,” states the letter.
The groups whose heads signed the letter include the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Air Traffic Control Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Airlines for America, Airports Council International – North America, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Cargo Airline Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the International Council of Air Shows, the National Air Traffic Control Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Business Aviation Association, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the Recreational Aviation Foundation and the Regional Airlines Association.
Clearly, the support for the integration of drones into the NAS is far from isolated amongst aviation industry associations. This almost certainly ensures that the FAA will continue this integration process since such powerful lobbies usually get their way in modern corporatist America.
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