FAA RELEASES NEW DRONE AUTHORIZATION LIST

2/16/13

Last year, alarm was raised among some Americans regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s expanding legislation for drone use over U.S. soil and the list of 63 authorized drone sites in the country. With more recent news that the Obama administration has approved drone strikes on some U.S. citizens, which some have said is “chilling” and the government saying “we can kill you,” the FAA has recently released an updated list of domestic drone authorization applicants. The list was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The list shows 20 new applicants, mostly law enforcement and universities but also the first tribal entity, EFF noted.

Here are few of the new authorization applicants EFF called out:
· The State Department
· National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
· Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (near San Diego, California)
· Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (Idaho)
· Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Northwest Oregon)
· Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (North Dakota)
· King County Sheriff’s Office (covering Seattle, Washington)
· Medina County Sheriff’s Office (Ohio)
· Ohio Department of Transportation (Ohio)
· Sinclair Community College (Ohio)
· Lorain County Community College (Ohio)
EFF’s Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney for the privacy advocacy organization, wrote the hope of the nonprofit in releasing this information is that people will ask their own local law enforcement about their plans for drone use. “We also encourage people to ask hard questions of government officials about who is funding drone development in their communities and what policies the government will demand agencies follow if they fly drones,” Lynch wrote on the website. “We need greater transparency and citizen push-back to protect Americans from privacy-invasive domestic drone use.”
The FAA regulates unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones. Arlington does have the agency’s permission to test the aircraft away from crowds, buildings, and highways. “The FAA regulates operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems to ensure that they pose no hazard to manned aircraft or people and property on the ground,”
The department said the equipment would be used in situations including search and rescue, SWAT and major accidents.
Sources—the blaze, liz klimas

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