Alaska is First with Comprehensive Approach to Privacy
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Legislative Task Force has unveiled its privacy and use guidelines for Alaska’s drone operators prior to the holidays with the personal rights of citizens in mind. With as many as one million drones soon to be under Christmas trees and then in the skies, the task force is emphasizing privacy this season, adding to its ongoing focus of safety.
“The public’s number one concern is privacy, and it is mine as well,” Representative Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, said. “Enormous opportunities abound in this fast-evolving industry, and I want Alaska to get a piece of that pie, but we must first ensure the privacy rights of Alaskans are protected as we welcome this new technology that can save lives, save money, and save time.”
Co-chaired by Rep. Hughes and Sen. Peter Micciche, the task force is comprised of private industry members, State of Alaska department officials, public members, and individuals with technology and aviation expertise, and began work on the guidelines last spring. Personal privacy rights have been in the forefront of concerns raised by the public to the task force.
The task force examined common scenarios and decided an illustrated, easy-to-understand format was best. “I am very happy with the final product – it will be a great tool for educating the public. It’s user-friendly and applicable to all ages and skill levels of drone operators,” Hughes said. Non-drone users will find it helpful as well. The guidelines answer questions such as when does a flying drone breach privacy, what if my neighbor is sunbathing on her deck and my son is flying his drone, and can I shoot a drone down if it’s flying over my house?
“We’ve already received national attention and positive feedback from the FAA, military personnel, and national industry representatives,” Hughes said. “Alaska is a true pioneer in the drone industry, in drone policy, and in drone public education.” Alaska is the first state to address privacy concerns this way. The task force will continue its outreach to help protect citizens’ personal privacy. It is providing the guidelines to drone retailers, school districts and libraries. In addition, for easy distribution, it plans to create postcards with a QR code and link to the online version of the guidelines.
Last year the task force emphasized safety during the holidays with its “Alaska’s Know-Before-You-Fly Drone Safety Guidelines.” This year, the task force is emphasizing privacy while reviewing safe operations. Hughes added, “With drones flying off store shelves, the timeliness of this publication release couldn’t be better. I hope Alaskans enjoy the booklet, but what I really want drone operators to know is that it is extremely important for them to follow the guidelines. Safety and privacy are precious commodities to Alaskans.”
The task force was created by passage of House Concurrent Resolution 15 during the 28th Legislature to help direct a state policy for Alaska.
A pdf file of the guidelines is attached to this release; a more easy-to-view version and additional information can be found at www.AlaskaDrones.org.
Please note that the guidelines provide informational aid and overview of certain federal and state laws that may apply to drone use and are not intended to provide legal advice or a comprehensive review of all laws pertaining to drone use.