This assessment would be directed by the Secretary of Transportation to ensure that privacy rights aren’t violated. Subsequently, a detailed set of regulations would be created for the operation of drone systems in civil airspace by private and public operators. Broadly speaking, S. 1639 would do the following:
- Outline the procedure for applying to operate a drone system.
- Force operators to disclose the data they are collecting and how their drones are used.
- Establish a set of privacy principles that drone operators must follow.
- Prohibit government agencies from requesting data collected by drone systems, except in emergencies (court warrants, permission through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or an imminent threat to a specific entity).
- Privacy terms would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Create a publicly-accessible website to monitor where and when drones are flying.
- Authorizes any state to pursue legal action against any entity that has negatively affected state residents by violating privacy principles.
- Requires the FAA to revoke the licenses of drone system operators who violate any of the terms laid out in this bill.