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The US Considers A Remote Identification System For Drones (engadget.com) 99

An anonymous reader quotes Engadget: The FAA is still trying to figure out the best way to regulate drones to ensure safety. Last week, a committee tasked with tackling the issue met for the first time, including representatives from Amazon, Ford and NYPD. One of the items discussed was a better way to identify registered drones from the ground since any ID numbers are pretty much invisible while the UAV is airborne...

As Recode notes, Congress is working to restore mandatory registration which would be key to tying a drone to its owner for the purposes of any remote identification... Back in March, [drone manufacturer] DJI proposed what it calls an "electronic identification framework" for all drones that would give authorities in the U.S. information about the owner when necessary. That proposal includes using the radio tech DJI says is already on most drones to transmit details like location and registration number. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) made a similar recommendation back in January 2016... [T]he FAA committee is scheduled to meet again on July 18th. Any formal recommendations are currently due to the agency by September 30th.

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The US Considers A Remote Identification System For Drones

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  • Agenda 21 mumble mumble.

    • Agenda 21 mumble mumble.

      OK... From The Wikipedia:

      Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels.

      So, I'm really not seeing the connection unless you are saying that regulating drones is some "evil" United Nations secret plan for World Domination...

    • the us considers...
    • ACARS for Drones.

      • ACARS is a telex link used to send data to the aircraft and back -- point to point. You mean ADS-B [aopa.org], specifically ADS-B out, a broadcast system.

        Given that people can build their own from parts, you're going to create a huge mess by shoehorning drones into the ADS-B system. (My drone identifies as Air Force One! Haaaaaa! haa!) You'll be creating a costly mess by creating a new ADS-B system for drones.

    • by fedos ( 150319 )
      It's not clear from your comment whether you're mocking morons who listen to Alex Jones or if you are a moron who listens to Alex Jones.
  • Useless (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, 2017 @05:56PM (#54731569)

    People who seek to do harm or make trouble will just mod their drone so it doesn't squawk anything. This is another feel-good regulation that mostly serves to inconvenience the type of people who are going to follow the rules anyway.

    • tax....as well as inconvenience
    • People who seek to do harm or make trouble will just mod their drone so it doesn't squawk anything.

      That may not be easy to do. How many people have the ability to write their own DroneOS? I have a Mavic Pro, and registering with the FAA was a mandatory part of the installation process. There is no "skip" button. So I either register, or I spend the next 10 years writing my own code to fly my drone. It is likely that squawking an ID will be the same. Very few people will have the skills to bypass it.

      We really need to get the NRA to defend drone rights. I had to register my drone, but not my assault

      • by cciRRus ( 889392 )

        That may not be easy to do. How many people have the ability to write their own DroneOS?

        By using existing open-source firmware such as Ardupilot [ardupilot.org] for open-source hardware such as PixHawk [pixhawk.org]?

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        There is no "skip" button.

        By tricking the drone into thinking it has registered when it has not. MITM Attack, firmware or memory data modification, Etc

      • I have a Mavic Pro, and registering with the FAA was a mandatory part of the installation process.

        Huh? How can DJI make a step that isn't mandatory, mandatory?

        So I either register, or I spend the next 10 years writing my own code to fly my drone.

        Registering with the FAA doesn't mean your drone is transmitting an identification. It means you've registered it with the FAA.

        It is likely that squawking an ID will be the same. Very few people will have the skills to bypass it.

        1. Find the antenna.

        2. Cut the wire.

        3. ???

        4. Profit!

        Step 2 might be changed to "paint over the circuit board antenna with conductive paint", or just "unplug the antenna" if there is a connector. Three very easy things for people to do, especially people who are motivated to not be identified flying illegally.

        They should be classified as militia weapons protected under the 2nd Amd.

        There

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      will just mod their drone so it doesn't squawk anything.

      Which makes them easily detectable. "Drones that fail to identify flying more than 100ft high up or within 1000ft of any property other than the drone owner's private land can be shot down on sight"

      • will just mod their drone so it doesn't squawk anything.

        Which makes them easily detectable.

        What? You have it 180 degrees backwards. Why do you think transponders are required in manned aircraft when flying in certain airspace, if flying without a transponder will "make them easily detectable"? Have you ever tried to see a drone at 400' AGL that is 2000' away? Easily detectable?

    • Agreed. I think most drones should be illegal anyway. Even if 99% of drone owner/operators are using them in a reasonable, legal, non-privacy-invading, non-safety-hazard way, the 1% of assholes who use them in dangerous, illegal, and invasive ways are going to ruin it for everyone else who is playing by the rules, therefore they should make any drone larger than a childs toy illegal in the U.S. unless you're a professional drone pilot and are filing for permits for specific uses.

      ..and not, naturally, the
      • At some point can you be bothered to say what incident 'has ruined it for everyone'? Because there haven't been any number of injuries above single digits, and no deaths after 3 years of cheap drones.

        • All it takes is once. You really want to wait around for that 'once' to happen? So far the patterns of behavior of some drone owners, and some of the incidents that have been in the news are creating a pattern of behavior that doesn't draw a pretty picture. You can't deny that there are some people out there with drones that are making life difficult for everyone else, and that sucks but it can't be ignored either. If you don't like that or think it's grossly unfair then I understand, but don't get mad at
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      Yeah, but it does help when someone who isn't seeking to do harm or make trouble in fact does do harm or make trouble. Might stop kids from doing something dumb. But in general, yeah, it's not going to do much.

  • Full-size manned and unmanned aircraft are required to have ADS-B transmitters. These drones already have the required GPS receivers so it seems to me like this would be an ideal time to push for miniturization of the technology to use on drones.

    Bonus: ADS-B will make drones visible to all other aircraft in the vicinity.

    • except gliders/paragliders/ultralights are all EXEMPT from transponders, and they are significantly bigger/more dangerous.

    • Full-size manned and unmanned aircraft are required to have ADS-B transmitters.

      No. The requirement is airspace-based, not aircraft. And not until 2020. 91.225 [ecfr.gov] specifies where aircraft need ADS-B OUT.

      1. Class A airspace. Not relevant to most drones, and requires ADS-B OUT ES (extended squitter). Most drones don't have squitters to start with, but they also don't fly in class A airspace.

      2. Class B and C airspace. Some of this extends below 400', so appears to apply to drones.

      3. Within 30 nautical miles of airspace listed in app. D. (Big airports.) Also surface up.

      4. Class E above 1

  • bullshit (Score:1, Troll)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 )

    As Recode notes, Congress is working to restore mandatory registration which would be key to tying a drone to its owner for the purposes of any remote identification...

    Translation: "we want more taxes, and we want citizens to learn to obey, submit, and live in fear of authority."

    As a safety or security measure, this is useless.

    Back in March, [drone manufacturer] DJI proposed what it calls an "electronic identification framework" for all drones that would give authorities in the U.S. information about the ow

    • Progressive authoritarians masquerading as champions of privacy again it seems.

      yeah, just read this shit!

      EPIC is involved with wide range of civil liberties, consumer protection, and human rights issues. EPIC has pursued several successful consumer privacy complaints with the US Federal Trade Commission, concerning Snapchat (faulty privacy technology), WhatsApp (privacy policy after acquisition by Facebook), Facebook (changes in user privacy settings), Google (roll-out of Google Buzz), Microsoft (Hailstorm log-in), and Choicepoint (sale of personal information to identity thieves). EPIC has also prevailed in significant Freedom of Information Act cases against the CIA, the DHS, the Dept. of Education, the FBI, the NSA, the ODNI, and the TSA. EPIC has also filed many "friend of the court" briefs on law and technology, including Riley v. California (U.S. 2014) (concerning cell phone privacy), and litigated important privacy cases, including EPIC v. DHS (D.C. Cir. 2011), which led to the removal of the x-ray body scanners in US airports, and EPIC v. NSA (D.C. Cir. 2014), which led to the release of the NSA's formerly secret cybersecurity authority. EPIC also challenged the NSA's domestic surveillance program in a petition to the US Supreme Court. In re EPIC, (U.S. 2013) after the release of the "Verizon Order" in June 2013. One of EPIC's current cases concerns the obligation of the Federal Aviation Administration to establish privacy regulations prior to the deployment of commercial drones in the United States.

      totally authoritarians!

      • Yet, they have no problems advocating that people be forced to put wireless transmitters on their drones. That's the problem with organizations like that: what they do is mostly about self-aggrandizement and preaching to the choir, not principles.

        Sorry, I don't believe anything they have done has made my life more private or more secure. I think they are irrelevant.

        • Sorry, I don't believe anything they have done has made my life more private or more secure. I think they are irrelevant.

          That doesn't mean they haven't, it means you're self-deluded.

          • That doesn't mean they haven't, it means you're self-deluded.

            You're welcome to worship some self-righteous academic if you like. I think you're finding increasingly the rest of the country doesn't care about these people or their positions.

    • And what's next? Since criminals use automobiles, and the cops "need" to know who's driving any given car in the vicinity of a crime, will the DoT also require an ID transmitter in every car?

      The FCC found out that requiring every CB operator in the country to have a "license" was a huge burden on them, and served no functional purpose, and finally gave it up as a bad job. I suspect the millions of quadcopters and hexcopters (do we have octocopters yet?) will be the same. Perhaps they should stop conflating

      • The FCC finds lots of things too burdensome yet still regulates them, that way, if they want to put you away, they can.

        Do you have any imported electronics without an FCC certification? Perhaps from Amazon or Newegg (early RPi or RPi clones) - illegal or a cheap USB WiFi adapter - illegal.

        Ever tried to get anything FCC certified? It's 10k and several months for 1 round of testing thus almost nobody does it for low volume items.

      • by mccrew ( 62494 )

        And what's next? Since criminals use automobiles, and the cops "need" to know who's driving any given car in the vicinity of a crime, will the DoT also require an ID transmitter in every car?

        Good point, but we're already there. License plate readers are becoming ubiquitous, so that with a simple database query a longitudinal history of your car's whereabouts can easily be determined long after the fact. The FBI is flying planes over US cities [dailymail.co.uk], for who-knows-what reasons, but possibly recording traffic so that any particular vehicle of interest can be traced back to where it came from.

  • Naturally, the government wants a way to find and squash video evidence taken by hobbyist drones of government incompetence and/or criminal actions, and be able to locate, silence, and/or imprison drone operators who would dare try to reveal what they want to remain hidden from the general public. Drones being used rather ubiquitously & anonymously by the general public aids in empowering them against government abuse, corruption/criminality, & overreach. Government already uses drones domestically

  • About half of the traffic on roads is a delivery of documents and small parcels, which could be easily automated by drones. Certainly, reducing traffic is not what some lobbies want.

    I think this is the underwater reason of these prohibitive measures.
  • https://www.google.com/patents... [google.com]

    The tag is an almost-passive device with tiny power consumption. It can be read by a device with a directional antenna mounted on a pair of binoculars, for example.

  • and you'd have half the country freaking the heck out. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader whether that's a good thing or not.
  • Just stop.

  • They have market dominance but they also kowtow to government paranoia. They force firmware updates that bork your copter even if you are legally allowed to do stuff they don't want you to.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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