Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said uniform, federal rules about drone use need to be crafted soon to prevent a potentially catastrophic event above U.S. skies.
“Drones do many good things. They are great for law enforcement. They are used to fight forest fires, see where they are, many other places. But there are some dangers too; safety,” Schumer said last night on CNN. “We do not want a drone flying into the engine of a jetliner and causing mayhem, and privacy. You do not want a drone hovering outside your office window, your living room window or even your bedroom window.”
“And, a few months ago, the courts threw out any regulations on drones. So, we need some regulations. We need to keep drones for their useful purposes, but make sure that they do not interfere with our safety or our privacy.”
Schumer said the drone regulation can’t just be the purview of the states.
“This is something that really requires federal regulation, first. Densely populated areas like New York — you do not want New Jersey regulating a New York drone. You can use national regulations. And, there ought to be set rules. This is going to be a new way of doing many different things,” he said.
“And, I think even those who are involved would rather have one national rule than a bunch. The FAA has always been in charge of our skies. We do not have separate laws to tell airplanes how to fly over New York versus Illinois versus Florida. And, it ought to be the same for drones.”
Amazon is interested in using drones to make deliveries, and the unmanned aerial vehicle industry is lobbying hard against rules that could restrict commercial possibilities for the technology.
“The federal regulations should be done in a smart way and thread the needle, allowing commerce and the useful uses of drones; but, at the same time putting limitations on privacy. For instance, do we want to allow private investigators to use drones and follow any of us around without our knowledge or permission?” Schumer said.
“So, the real privacy issues. But maybe there are some who say we should not have drones. I am not one of those. I think they serve many useful purposes. And smart regulation can save the baby and throw out the bath water.”