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Government Privacy

FAA Admits Names & Addresses In Drone Registry Will Be Publicly Available (forbes.com) 300

Lauren Weinstein sends word about this admission by the FAA that has led many to have concerns about privacy. Forbes reports: "The FAA finally confirmed this afternoon that model aircraft registrants’ names and home addresses will be public. In an email message, the FAA stated: 'Until the drone registry system is modified, the FAA will not release names and address. When the drone registry system is modified to permit public searches of registration numbers, names and addresses will be revealed through those searches.'"
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FAA Admits Names & Addresses In Drone Registry Will Be Publicly Available

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @04:42PM (#51155449) Homepage Journal

    The overweight mulletmoron piloting it knows where my house is, and more besides. Turnabout is fair play.

  • I "was" all for this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealQuestor ( 1750940 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @04:48PM (#51155477)
    As a multirotor pilot I have have really had no qualms about this, right up until now. Now there is no way in hell I am going to sign up for this. I'll instead toss another 50 dollars to the AMA and hopefully THEY can inject some sanity into this mess.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The American Marketing Association?

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      As a multirotor pilot I have have really had no qualms about this, right up until now. Now there is no way in hell I am going to sign up for this. I'll instead toss another 50 dollars to the AMA and hopefully THEY can inject some sanity into this mess.

      It can be a fairly expensive hobby, I'm not surprised if doctors are lobbying...

      • As a multirotor pilot I have have really had no qualms about this, right up until now. Now there is no way in hell I am going to sign up for this. I'll instead toss another 50 dollars to the AMA and hopefully THEY can inject some sanity into this mess.

        It can be a fairly expensive hobby, I'm not surprised if doctors are lobbying...

        AMA = academy of model aeronautics :) http://www.modelaircraft.org/ [modelaircraft.org]

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @04:53PM (#51155499)
    At least from the FAA's point of view this will prevent any possible hacking/privacy leak scandals!
  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @04:57PM (#51155515) Homepage

    I don't know... Maybe I'm coming at this from a different perspective, but as a HAM radio operator, my base station address (and home address) is public information, and is easily searchable by call sign. If you want to use a public resource, whether airwaves or airspace, you need to be traceable. That's, in fact, the entire point.

    Put another way, the privacy implications of having untraceable drones outweigh the privacy implications of being able to track down who's controlling them.

    • I don't know... Maybe I'm coming at this from a different perspective, but as a HAM radio operator, my base station address (and home address) is public information, and is easily searchable by call sign. If you want to use a public resource, whether airwaves or airspace, you need to be traceable. That's, in fact, the entire point.

      Put another way, the privacy implications of having untraceable drones outweigh the privacy implications of being able to track down who's controlling them.

      Would you be OK with having your name and home address publicly searchable from your license plate?

      So that anyone who sees your car can find out your name and where you live?

      How about cell phones? Lots of people talk on the phone in inappropriate places. Would you be OK with having your name and home address searchable from the ESSID of your phone, which is displayed in all nearby phones while you talk?

      Let's reverse this. If the database is online, it can be searched in reverse.

      Would you be comfortable with

      • by MikeDataLink ( 536925 ) <mike&murraynet,net> on Sunday December 20, 2015 @05:20PM (#51155633) Homepage Journal

        Would you be OK with having your name and home address publicly searchable from your license plate?

        So that anyone who sees your car can find out your name and where you live?

        It already is. All DMV records are public data. Publicdata.com has all of them for $2 a month.

        • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @08:03PM (#51156305)

          In the state where I reside, it costs only 50 cents to get the tag info. Literally all you need is the tag number and change and they will happily give you a whole print out of the vehicle stats including VIN, the taxes paid on said vehicle, the insurance company and policy number and of course the name, address and phone number of the registered owner.

          So when you see that hottie in traffic and want to get to know them, just snap their tag and take some quarters to the DMV office.

          • So when you see that hottie in traffic and want to get to know them, just snap their tag and take some quarters to the DMV office.

            Kids these days. Back in my day we pulled up beside them, wound down the window and shouted "show us your tits luv!"

            Jokes aside though I once asked a girl for her phone number through a car window and then had a conversation with her. This is back before using the phone and driving was illegal, and back before phones were so sleek flat and smooth that you had to look at them to use them rather than just feel for the buttons. Got me a date using that move.

            Also had some random girls in the car in front of us

        • by Rhyas ( 100444 )

                    Actually, the cheapest plan they have seems to be ~$15/month.

          -= Jay =-

      • Would you be OK with having your name and home address publicly searchable from your license plate?

        The Google has some interesting news waiting for you.

      • by Higaran ( 835598 )

        Would you be comfortable with having the online database of gun owners publicly searchable?

        Yes then the criminals will know where not to go. They will be able to see I have guns at my house, and they should really think twice before trying to break in.

        • Unless they case your place and wait until no one's home to break in, having a reasonable idea that there are firearms to be had. Not everyone has the cash to lock their guns up in a good safe.
          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            Not everyone has the cash to lock their guns up in a good safe.

            You don't have to leave it at home, you can keep it on your person, or even lock it in your glovebox --- that is better than leaving it totally unsecured.

            If you cannot afford to lock it up or take it with you at all times, or otherwise appropriately secure it (Such as by putting it in a bank safety deposit box, when you cannot secure it at home), then you cannot afford to own a gun.

            • Keeping it on your person or in a safe deposit box isn't really an option for rifles, shotguns, or other long guns. A cabinet isn't as secure as a safe, but it isn't "totally unsecured", and I'd argue it's a damn sight more secure than being in a car's glovebox.
        • there are guns littering this country and yet there are still home invasions. Pretty safe bet the criminals simply don't care.
        • Would you be comfortable with having the online database of gun owners publicly searchable?

          Yes then the criminals will know where not to go. They will be able to see I have guns at my house, and they should really think twice before trying to break in.

          Good luck with that.

          What would actually happen is they'd wait until you were on vacation, and then specifically pick your house to ransack.

      • Would you be OK with having your name and home address publicly searchable from your license plate?

        So that anyone who sees your car can find out your name and where you live?

        If you are in an accident the other driver can go to the DMV and obtain your name and address from your license plate.

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      It's one thing that the government has the information, but to make it searchable by every spammer on earth? Why? If a drone lands in your yard, call the cops. They can check the registry. There's no reason it needs to be publicly available to anyone. This is just begging for it to be misused.
    • I don't know... Maybe I'm coming at this from a different perspective, but as a HAM radio operator

      Do you still have to take an exam for that? In Latin?

    • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @05:40PM (#51155739)

      I can be searched on the FCC's pages.
      I can be searched on the FAA's pages.

      TL;DR version - it's your choice to exercise this privilege and that privilege includes the cost of registration.

      I'm not an apologist for the government. I rail against things that cut into my rights.
      However, I recognize the difference between my rights that cops who stop me want to violate, and
      privileges I choose to exercise.

      These certificates I hold (amateur radio operator and commercial pilot)
      are not RIGHTS in the United States, but rather PRIVILEGES which I've chosen to attain.
      In the process of CHOOSING to attain both those certifications I could have chosen not
      to give out private information (and not get the certificate) or, as I did, choose to give it out
      in return for the privilege of using the airwaves and flying in the air.

      When you choose to drive a vehicle on private property in this country you are not required
      to hold a driver's license, be of a certain age, acquire and maintain liability insurance, nor
      even have your vehicle registered. HOWEVER to use that same vehicle and driver on the
      public roads all the laws and registrations must be followed. (Don't get me started on how
      this is abused by governments...)

      The national airspace system (NAS) is one such resource. If you intend to fly in it, you
      must do so in a manner which is legal. Until this year that meant "Have a good time and
      stay out of trouble." As of tomorrow that also means "get a tail number [not an N-number]
      for your UAS[not drone]."

      If you have made the choice to continue flying your UAS then if you wish to do so as per
      the law you must register it, display the tail number, and have your information available
      at the FAA -- and probably subject to search.

      Merry Christmas,

      Ehud Gavron
      N5NEQ
      CPL-H (Commercial Pilot - Helicopter)

      • Seems to me that the largest complaint against this registry is that the registration is required for these small remote controlled aircraft even if they are not operated in the public airspace.

        For your analogy to hold between cars and drone I would not be legally required to register a drone that I operated within the confines of my property up to 200 feet above it. It appears that the FAA feels that even if this drone never leaves that legally defined private property box that I am still required to regi

      • by bongey ( 974911 )
        Captain Sum Ting Wong help us if you are a pilot because you don't even know what NAS rules. Below 500 AGL is not a part of the NAS unless next to airport, thus the FAA doesn't have any legal authority. Supreme Court "declared that a landowner controls use of the airspace above their property in connection with their uninterrupted use and enjoyment of the underlying land."
        • by gavron ( 1300111 )

          FAA controls from the ground up. Sorry you were so eager to use a racial slur you didn't look it up.

          https://www.faa.gov/news/updat... [faa.gov]

          Ehud

          • Instead of copying and pasting the FAA's words, would you like to demonstrate where in our legal system it has been determined that the FAA controls from the ground up?

            I'd also like to point out that the FAA does not control Class G airspace: it is defined by the FAA's own media as uncontrolled (https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/pilot_handbook/media/PHAK%20-%20Chapter%2014.pdf). The FAA may place rules upon flight in the area (such as remaining 500' away from any person, ve

            • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Sunday December 20, 2015 @08:47PM (#51156451)

              You're confusing "uncontrolled" with "under nobody's control."

              Uncontrolled airspace (class G) means that it is not under ATC operations. See 14 CFR 91.126 (not 91.119 "Minimum safe altitudes").

              Further note explicitly 91.126(a)
              "Unless otherwise authorized or required, each person operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an airport in a Class G airspace area must comply with the requirements of this section." That's "must comply" not "optionally can choose to comply" or whatever. The use of this airspace is subject to FAA regulation and control.

              The FAA and its regulations are in full control of flight above ground in these United States. Uncontrolled airspace is airspace without direct Air-Traffic-Control facility control, not "outside FAA regulations, purvey, domain, nor control."

              That's from the ground up, not 400ft AGL, not 500ftAGL, not some small amount unless you lease them your airspace right of way...

              I guess I'm just not used to the attitude of "we can pretend the FAA has no power and do what we want because it pisses us off we have to register our UASs". Ultimately if you don't want to abide by the laws, that's your right. Making up ideas of why the FAA has no jurisdiction is just as nutty as those Sovereign Citizen people claiming the IRS is a hoax and that money they print is real.

              Res ipsa loquitur.

              Ehud

          • by bongey ( 974911 )
            The FAA can say what they want, but the the Supreme Court will just slap them down hard again. The rules for drones is going strait to court, where the FAA will lose again.
            FYI the FAA has already tried similar rules in the past only to lose in court.
            You also need the difference between politically incorrect and racism.
          • by bongey ( 974911 )
            United_States v Causby , wasn't the FAA then but the ruling is still legally binding to the FAA . This is going strait to court.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Causby
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • If you own a house your name and home address is already on public records and easily searchable. All this adds is you also have a drone at said address...

    • What this adds is that when some moron pilots a drone approximately matching the description of yours into traffic on the interstate near your house causing a fatality accident, they'll be knocking on your door, and you'd better hope you've got an airtight alibi.

      • by Zmobie ( 2478450 )

        That is the point of the drone registration yes, but that doesn't actually have anything to do with the database being public or private which is what TFA is about...

        • I'm not sure if I feel better or worse that you have to have a color of law enforcement employment to access the database... I think I'd actually rather have everything that law enforcement knows about us publically accessible, so people can get outraged about it like this and reign some of it in.

    • Actually...no. My house is owned by a trust. My vehicles are owned by a corporation. As are my machine guns. You've got to do considerable digging to associate my possessions to me. Even my username isn't real.

      • Actually...no. My house is owned by a trust. My vehicles are owned by a corporation. As are my machine guns. You've got to do considerable digging to associate my possessions to me. Even my username isn't real.

        First of all, bullshit. Second of all, the officers of your LLC and trusts (which very well may be YOU) are a public record. Don't think that I can't find you, especially if you pilot your drone into my car on the road, my plane in the are, or crash land it in my yard.

  • Licensed amateur radio operators have had a public database with the FCC since practically forever. This really isn't unprecedented.

  • I can't imagine that the Drone Industry is in favor of this move by the FAA, especially with the names and addresses being publicly available; (without the need for a FOIA request?) I don't know how much money there is in the industry, but they don't strike me as an inexpensive hobby. But, it seems this also covers those regular RC planes as well as what the average person might think of as a helicopter-style drone; so there are a couple of industries touched by this, actually.

    If this causes these two ind

  • Many private planes are "registered" to holding companies who act as proxies and trustees for purposes of liability or collateral or other things. So when you search an N-number, you get a bank or something, not the pilot's home address.

    So do the same thing for drones. $10 a year and your drone is owned by Wells Fargo or something. You merely lease it. They of course have a contract to give it back to you for a dollar to meet terms of sale. And thus you are shielded from having your name out there. Also provides a chance for the proxy to sell liability insurance, drone repairs and parts and other things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EmagGeek ( 574360 )

      At the same time, though, if you want to know if someone is a pilot, all you have to do is punch their name into the FAA's pilot certificate search tool, and it will tell you.

      Pilots do not have privacy with the FAA, and planes are not registered with holding companies for privacy purposes. It's all about taxes.

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