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Privacy to Enable “Drones for Good”

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Privacy and “Drones for Good”                                

by Paula J. Bruening

Intel lit up the night sky in Sydney, Australia last month with its first public Drones 100 show. While the display over the Opera House dazzled, it also highlighted the tremendous potential drones hold to save lives, respond to natural disasters, safely repair infrastructure, and deliver life-saving food and supplies to areas afflicted by disasters. In her recent blog, Jennifer Mulveny of Intel’s Global Policy Group, Australia, highlights the event and the related panel discussions about “Drones for Good.” David Hoffman, Intel’s Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer, moderated the panel and discussed the privacy implications of drone technology.

Intel understands that the benefits drones promise are possible only if individuals trust that the technology will be used in ways that benefit them, their community and society. They must also be confident that the information drones gather and process is protected and processed in ways that respect their privacy. Establishing that trust and confidence is yet another reason why it is so important that we “Rethink Privacy” and identify ways both to enable drone innovation and use, and protect the privacy of individuals.

Participants in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) multi-stakeholder process took an important step when it released a consensus, stakeholder-drafted document outlining privacy guidance for organizations that deploy drones.

The document provides a set of voluntary best practices for UAS privacy, transparency and accountability. The best practices apply to both commercial and non-commercial drones and focus on data collected rather than any particular iteration of the technology. One section of the document applies to the activities of newsgatherers and news reporting organizations and takes into account protections provided by the First Amendment. The document also includes an Appendix titled “Guidelines for Neighborly Drone Use” intended to serve as a quick and easy reference guide for recreational drone operators.

At a meeting last month, the White House acknowledged the work of the multi-stakeholder process, and encouraged participants to promote the best practices through channels that will reach the full range of commercial and private drone users – large companies, small and medium sized enterprises, and individuals. Intel looks forward to joining colleagues in the private sector and in government to inform the public about the promise of “Drones for Good,” and the measures organizations and individuals should take to realize that promise.