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US government publishes drone best practices

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James Mccullough
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Unless you're a media company

You can't use drones to check whether your employee really is sick, or to take pictures of your neighbors, unless you're a news organization in which case the sky is the limit - or more accurately not the limit.

As the name suggests, the guidelines are not obligatory or legally binding but will form the start of a broader US government effort to come to terms with drone technology and how it will impact citizens and businesses in the future.

In many respects, the guidelines are the antithesis of recent rules published by the Federal Aviation Authority FAA : where the FAA's rules are precise, the NTIA guidelines are vague; where the FAA threatens fines, the NTIA advises caution; and where the FAA is often hopelessly unrealistic, the NTIA's guidelines are grounded in reality.

It also recommends that some potential uses be banned altogether, including anything relating to: employment eligibility, promotion, or retention; credit eligibility; and healthcare treatment eligibility.

It also advises people not to fly over private property, not to gather personal information, to give people a reasonable level of privacy, and to delete data on people if they ask.

Instead they should "operate under the ethics rules and standards of their organization, and according to existing federal and state laws."

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James Mccullough
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