Draft of a House Bill Restricting FAA Licensing of UAVs Unveiled


A House member from Vermont unveiled the draft of a bill that would require those seeking to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle over U.S.-airspace to provide detailed information about the use of the UAV before receiving a federal license to fly the drone.

Rep. Peter Welch, D, unveiled the draft document that would prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration from issuing a drone license unless the application includes a statement that lists who will operate the drone, where the drone will be flown, what kind of data will be collected, how that data will be used, whether the information will be sold to third parties and the period for which the information will be retained.
The draft would also require the police applicants, as well as their contractors and subcontractors, to provide a “data minimization statement” that says how data collected by the UAV that is unrelated to the investigation of a crime will be minimized. The draft also requires the FAA to create a website listing all approved UAV licenses, data collection and data minimization statements, any data security breaches suffered by a licensee and the times and locations of flights.
In addition, under the draft bill, even if a police agency had a license to operate a drone, the agency would still have to obtain a warrant to fly the UAV except in special circumstances such as search and rescue operations and the imminent danger of death or serious injury.
“As drones emerge in the airspace over the United States, I am deeply concerned that American’s constitutional right to privacy and their right to know are protected,” Welch said. “Drones can be a valuable tool for law enforcement, public safety and other commercial uses, but it is essential that the law be updated to cover this technology and to ensure individual privacy and transparency in its operation and use,” he said.
Welch made the draft of the bill public at Chittenden County, Vt. on June 12, but he has not yet introduced the bill in the House.
Click here to access Welch’s website.