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Sen. Schumer urging federal agencies to implement rules for drone use

By SPENCER DAVIDSON

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Commerce Department to quickly develop and release privacy rules and guidelines for the use of small unmanned aircraft systems by the end of the year, Sunday.

The unmanned aircrafts, or drones, are being used by the U.S. to aid military operations and Schumer stated have become much more common in commercial uses as well.

Schumer is concerned that the increasing use by private investigators to spy on unaware parties, such as people in their residences, as well as drug dealers to deliver illegal drugs poses serious public safety concerns for New Yorkers.

He stated that he believes drone technology has the huge potential to be a mainstay in both military and commercial operations, however, needs to be regulated by organizations such as the FAA in order to reduce the consequences that create privacy and safety concerns for the general public.

As of now, the FAA has not implemented a clear list of rules and regulations for drone technology in New York State and the rest of the country, allowing these infringements on privacy to remain a possibility, and opens residents to potential privacy/safety issues.

"New York has become the wild, wild west for commercial and hobby drones," Schumer said. "Until clear, smart regulations are put in place by the federal government, they will continue to threaten the privacy and safety of New Yorkers."

Schumer continued, "I'm urging the FAA and the soon-to-be empowered Commerce Department to develop and release much-needed regulations about small drones, along with specific privacy protections, by the end of this year, which much include a ban on drones used by private investigators and drug dealers."

A recent report in the New York Post stated that private investigators have been using drones to spy on partners suspected on cheating on their significant other, individuals who lie about disabilities, and people who are involved in criminal activities. In addition, it was reported that these unmanned aircrafts have been used by drug dealers to fly marijuana and other illicit drugs discreetly in order to deliver them to buyers.

Although the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed in 2012 did establish a "special rule for model aircraft," in which the FAA is prohibited from taking actions against unmanned aircraft that meet a certain criteria, there was never a specific set of guidelines that determined what exact actions or uses would be able to be regulated.

Schumer hopes that these new guidelines will be put into place before the end of 2014.

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