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Finding Common Ground on UAS

More than a year ago, President Obama asked NTIA to convene stakeholders to help develop best practices to address privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to private and commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

I want to join Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in congratulating the stakeholders who reached consensus yesterday on a set of best practices that will help guide the development and growth of UAS in the United States. I also want to thank everyone who put in the many hours of work throughout this process. Multistakeholder processes only succeed through stakeholders’ dedication, hard work and willingness to compromise.

UAS holds the potential to provide significant benefits to both industry and consumers in myriad ways. These include using UAS to inspect cell phone towers without risking human lives, monitor crop growth and take aerial photos of real estate.

The best practices agreed to by a diverse group of stakeholders -- including  privacy and consumer advocates, industry, news organizations and trade associations --  represent an important step in building consumer trust, giving users the tools to innovate in this space in a manner that respects privacy, and providing accountability and transparency.

The voluntary best practices encourage UAS users to: 

  • inform affected persons of UAS use and the collection of data;
  • take care in the collection and storage of information that identifies a particular person;
  • limit the use and sharing of such data;
  • secure data; and
  • monitor and comply with the law as it evolves.

These guidelines provide the flexibility to evolve as the industry grows while ensuring a baseline understanding of ethical practices.  We will work with stakeholders on the best ways to disseminate and promote these practices broadly so that businesses and users that were not able to be at the table can take advantage of the collective wisdom in these documents while growing their UAS-related businesses or using their personal UAS responsibly.  We look forward to continuing the conversation with stakeholders as this industry develops and grows.