Baucus, Tester to FAA: Americans deserve privacy


Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to uphold the civil liberties and privacy rights of Americans as it integrates drones into domestic airspace.

In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Baucus and Tester urged the agency to produce a comprehensive plan to ensure individual privacy rights are not violated by the growing industry related to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

“We believe that the FAA has the responsibility to ensure that robust safeguards are in place to protect the privacy rights guaranteed under the constitution,” Baucus and Tester wrote. “Without appropriate guidance, UAS could pose a significant risk to this basic right, and American citizens deserve transparent policies to ensure that privacy rights and civil liberties will not be unjustly compromised by UAS use in domestic airspace.”

Baucus and Tester have urged the Obama administration to protect the privacy rights of American citizens related to drone surveillance and in March pressed the U.S. Attorney General to provide greater transparency and accountability for the use of surveillance drones in the United States.

In that March 2013 letter to the U.S. Attorney General, the Senators acknowledged drones may be useful for fighting wildfires and aiding in search and rescue efforts, but say greater transparency is needed to ensure privacy rights of American citizens are protected.