FAA opens up drone registration data

FAA opens up drone registration data

In response to a number Freedom of Information Act requests, the Federal Aviation Administration released information detailing the cities, states and ZIP codes of small drone owners who have registered their unmanned aerial vehicles.

The FAA has been collecting the data through the registration system it launched last December for small hobbyist and recreational drones that weigh a half-pound to 55 pounds. The registration effort seeks to curb mounting incidents of drones interfering with civilian aviation by operating near airports, at high altitudes or in the vicinity of emergency response aircraft.

In a May 18 statement, the agency said that it would not release owners' names and street addresses, however, because privacy protections exempt that data from release under FOIA. Many of the registrants are minors, hobbyists or recreational users.The agency had stipulated from the beginning of the registration project that the data would not be searchable by name or address. That information is only available if someone searches by a specific registration number.

Only people with a valid email address and password can access the registration system, which uses digital certificates and encrypts all information. FAA officials said law enforcement agencies will have access to information to help identify aircraft that are involved in incidents.

This article first ran on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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Mon, May 23, 2016

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