With a record number of unmanned aerial vehicles expected to be sold for this holiday season, the FAA decided it’s time for new regulations. By February 19th you should register your drone with the FAA system or face quite high penalties for failing to do so.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), creating a regulated registration system was necessary. Too many incidents have seen unmanned aerial vehicles (that is drones) disrupt the national airspace or put someone in danger. The registration system should spell accountability and safety.
However, while the idea isn’t bad at all, the rushed manner in which it was applied left room for loopholes. With the record sales expected to peak during the holiday seasons, the FAA hurriedly creates a task force to work on the matter. In only a couple of months, the registration system was up and working. The FAA released the website on December 21st. Now, by February 19th you should register your drone with the FAA system before taking it for a ride.
The entire system could surely use tweaks. For once, privacy issues are a major concern. And while the FAA registration system does register your drone, it fails to regulate the use of drones in a manner that could actually ensure safety and privacy at the same time.
With the task force comprising industry representatives as members, little was done to take into consideration privacy concerns. The FAA registration system requires all pilots (unmanned aerial vehicles owners) aged 13 and above to register by February 19th. The registration process is fairly simple. Open the website, open the registration form, provide your physical address, your name and email address and there it is. The registration number is out.
Yet, the database thus create may be publicly searched. Imagine children’s physical addresses just out there in the open. But not their email address. This is one point of concern. The second, related to regulation glitches, concerns the privacy of well…anyone. No point stops drone pilots from flying the drone directly in their friendly neighbour’s backyard. And filming families, family dinners and other more delicate moments.
Several cases have turned up during this year when ‘friendly neighbours’ shut down drones hovering above their yards or homes or bathing children. Other drone pilots flew their unmanned aerial vehicles too close to the firefighters battling the raging wildfires this year.
From this perspective, the FAA registration system scores well on prospective accountability were drone pilots to not follow some basic guidelines. Yet, it fails to score as well on creating a well regulated system that can prevent some of these concern points from becoming reality.
Nonetheless, if you’re the proud owner of a drone weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds, please register it. The system is not perfect, but it’s a start.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia
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