It didn’t really take many of us by surprise when a few days back the FAA confirmed that drone operators in the country will have to register their drones with the agency. It was known for months that FAA was drafting rules relating to drone registry and now they’re live. There have been concerns about privacy since drone operators are required to provide personal information like names and addresses when registering their drones, and it turns out that those concerns are legitimate since the drone registry is going to be public.
Contradictory statements of the FAA and DOT already have a lot of people concerned, the agency said that only it and a contractor will have access to the personal information while the DOT says that all personal information related to registered drones has to be made public.
John Goglia at Forbes kept reaching out to the FAA for a definite answer and he did get one back in email.
“Until the drone registry system is modified, the FAA will not release names and address. When the drone registry system is modified to permit public searches of registration numbers, names and addresses will be revealed through those searches.”
What that means is that once the drone registry system is sorted it will allow public searches of registration numbers as well as the names and addresses associated with those numbers. Anybody will be able to find a drone’s owner and where they live just by running that drone’s registration number in the database.
There has been some resistance to this exercise but it’s not enough to make a significant impact, the FAA’s drone registration drive is going to go ahead, and if no changes are made then the registry is going to be open to the public.