Drone Fliers Navigate Privacy Pitfalls Without FAA Guidance

October 21, 2015 – In The News
Law360

Scott L. Vernick was quoted in the Law360 article, “Drone Fliers Navigate Privacy Pitfalls Without FAA Guidance.” Full text can be found in the October 21, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

With the deadline approaching on Congress’ mandate for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to integrate commercial and recreational drone usage into domestic airspace, companies that are prepared to use drones must navigate the current patchwork of state laws and regulations to avoid pitfalls the FAA has failed to address.

While the FAA is expected to release its final rule soon, the agency has repeatedly stated its focus is on safety rather than privacy. As a result, it will be left up to the states to fill the void on privacy issues.

Even in states without specific drone privacy laws, operators could face liability under “peeping Tom” laws, stalking statutes and a host of other common tort laws, attorneys say.

“Businesses could face liability in instances where the drone is flung into areas that are traditionally considered private, or if the drone is collecting data, whether that collection violates anybody’s privacy rights,” said Scott Vernick, a noted privacy attorney.

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