Journalists Get Drone Best Practices Carve-Out

Advised to operate under exiting ethics standards
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Stakeholders have come up with voluntary best practices for data collection by commercial and private drone users, but journalists have gotten a carve-out.

The stakeholders cited the reliance of the public on an independent press and the protections of the First Amendment.

"For this reason, these Best Practices do not apply to newsgatherers and news reporting organizations. Newsgatherers and news reporting organizations may use UAS in the same manner as any other comparable technology to capture, store, retain and use data or images in public spaces," the guidelines say. "Newsgatherers and news reporting organizations should operate under the ethics rules and standards of their organization, and according to existing federal and state laws."

Among the practices that apply to other users, including TV and films producers increasingly using the technology, include making reasonable efforts to provide prior notice, limit the collection, use and storage of data covered by the guidelines, protect it, and monitor and comply with state laws.

“I want to congratulate the hard-working stakeholders who reached consensus on privacy, transparency and accountability best practices related to private and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (NTIA is part of Commerce). “As the President recognized when he directed NTIA to convene this process, these best practices can help promote Commerce priorities by allowing the industry to grow, develop and innovate while helping to build consumer trust.”

The best practices are the latest in a series produced by NTIA-curated stakeholder meetings in an effort to put some meat on the bones of the Administration’s privacy Bill of Rights.

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