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Earth Privacy Software Hardware Technology

UN Aviation Agency To Call For Global Drone Registry (reuters.com) 47

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The United Nations' aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft. While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAO's air navigation bureau. The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner. It's not yet clear who would operate such a database, although ICAO could possibly fill that role. The proposal, however, could face push back from users, after hobbyists successfully challenged the creation of a U.S. drone registry by the Federal Aviation Administration in court earlier this year.
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UN Aviation Agency To Call For Global Drone Registry

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  • by TimMD909 ( 260285 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @05:27PM (#55161417) Homepage
    Might as well register all guns, vehicles, and computers with a central, global agency. Add in PII, let Experian run it, and wait. Soon the world will be taught a myriad of lessons.
    • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @06:10PM (#55161627)

      Might as well register all guns, vehicles, and computers with a central, global agency.

      I'm not going to touch your comments about firearms or computers, but in terms of vehicles, there are a number of registries that already exist and work reasonably effectively.

      The most obvious one, in this case, is aircraft registration. All civil, manned aircraft (not quite sure about ultralights etc...) all have a nationally assigned registration. The registration number must be shown in a prominent location on the aircraft, and can be used by pretty much anyone to look up the ownership of the aircraft.

      Another example is in the maritime world. Nearly all vessels beyond a canoe or row boat now carry a VHF radio with DSC capabilities. This includes an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identifier) which is a globally unique registration number for that vessel/owner. The various national authorities collect that data, and maintain it, and then upload it into the global systems. No matter where a person goes in the world, if they punch the distress button, the responsible rescue center is able to retrieve vessel information, contact information, and other bits that are useful as part of a rescue situation. In the commercial world, every commercial vessel is assigned an IMO number that stays with a ship from when it comes off the ways until it ends its service at a ship breaker. With it, you can retrieve the full history of that ship... Names, flags, ownership.

      So, does registering your 2lb drone that can carry an itty bitty camera, make sense? no, it doesn't. But does a standardized way of handling registration for larger autonomous aircraft (Amazon's drones, etc...) make sense? I think so. The trick is finding an appropriate threshold.

      • Cool, so if my little drone catches the Jet Stream and ends up in Russia, they'll be sure to rescue it. Makes me all warm and fuzzy.

        Makes sense for vehicles that can traverse the globe. For local things, not so much.

        Do we need a global license plate database for cars? Even Amazon's big boy drones aren't likely to be used outside the country they took off from. Military and globe spanning drones? Well sure, but good luck with that.

        Anything big enough to bother with should be assigned a aircraft registry

      • Your own examples show that national registration programs work just fine.

        For small vehicles that aren't commonly engaged in international commerce, that sounds fine.

        So no, you pretty much proved why a U.N. run registry is a dumb idea. Is that what you intended?

        • by Strider- ( 39683 )

          Your own examples show that national registration programs work just fine.

          Well, yes and no. The international agreements set out standards for these registries, and the interchange of data between them. The national authorities collect and maintain the data, and make it available to international partners, under the agreements and treaties organized through the organizations.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Another example is in the maritime world. Nearly all vessels beyond a canoe or row boat now carry a VHF radio with DSC capabilities. This includes an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identifier) which is a globally unique registration number for that vessel/owner.

        Lolwut? I checked here in Norway and even though all commercial craft are required to have it I found an old article saying 90% of private boats don't have VHF radio. With the spread of cell phones and towers it's probably even less today. If anything it's a counter-example that registering large ships is fine but trying to register all boats would be completely ridiculous.

        • by Strider- ( 39683 )

          Lolwut? I checked here in Norway and even though all commercial craft are required to have it I found an old article saying 90% of private boats don't have VHF radio. With the spread of cell phones and towers it's probably even less today. If anything it's a counter-example that registering large ships is fine but trying to register all boats would be completely ridiculous.

          I've never encountered a vessel beyond a typical open fishing boat that didn't have a Marine VHF. You'd be considered to be radically unsafe to go out without one. A cell phone is fine, but doesn't work out at sea, also a cell phone doesn't summon all the other boaters around you, who are the ones best able to rescue you should shit go wrong.

          Further, Cell phones don't allow you to monitor VTS when navigating through a busy port, nor do they allow you to call for bridge raises, or other things that are requi

      • by dougmc ( 70836 )

        All civil, manned aircraft (not quite sure about ultralights etc...) all have a nationally assigned registration.

        As you've guessed, ultralights do not require registration in the US [wikipedia.org] and in fact the FAA doesn't seem consider them to be aircraft, but they've made it clear that unmanned aircraft are aircraft, no matter their size. ... which is kind of odd. I can take an ultralight and add an R/C receiver and servos and such to control it (basically turning it into a big R/C plane), and the FAA considers it to be an aircraft, but if somebody gets in it and flies it directly, it's not? And if it weighs more than 55 lbs,

    • New York State can't get most folk to register their "assault weapons": https://hudsonvalleyone.com/20... [hudsonvalleyone.com]

      I wish the U.N. lots of luck. Ain't likely to fly here in Upstate (Look Ma, I made a pun!)

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      Driver's License? For what? Disk drives?

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @05:28PM (#55161425) Homepage

    Sure, the nice folks in France really need to know that I have a Phantom 3 here in Alaska. With that range of 2 km, I'm sure to be of interest to lots of global players. That's perfectly sensible and really justifies an enormous, poorly secured database that will probably be run over Lotus Notes.

    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

      That is a nice looking drone. Good price too. Someone in my apartment complex has been flying that model around.

    • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @06:14PM (#55161653) Homepage Journal
      I sure hope they get all the alphabet soup agencies to register their black ops stealthy drones armed with laser guide munitions that are flying illegal off book kill missions over failed states.

      Because, honestly those are the only ones worth worrying about. Who even gives a fuck about the retired guy who flys his 24" p-51 replica every Saturday at the local municipal soccer field? Amateur enthusiasts aren't really a problem. I'm not worried about actors like Amazon flying drones, they are going to be very safe about them because they don't want to get sued. Its just cops and military I worry about and they aren't going to register shit.
  • Except that drones are far easier to assemble than a calculator these days.
     
    People are already building drones that can lift a human in their back yard, hopefully this is only for dones with a lift capacity of > 10 kilos or something.

    • hopefully this is only for dones with a lift capacity of > 10 kilos or something.

      In America, the cut off for registration is 250 gm total weight, even with a lift capacity of 0 gm.

  • They wish they had this for guns so they're requiring it for everything else.

    But, registries and laws don't stop terrorists and other bad guys from doing their bad acts. Only good folk obey the laws and even they get caught up in the snarls.

    • But, registries and laws don't stop terrorists and other bad guys from doing their bad acts.

      Actually, they do. When I received my Mavic Pro, I had to register it on-line and provide a trackable cell number before it would fly. A smart and skilled terrorist might be able to work around that, but most terrorists aren't very smart.

      • But, registries and laws don't stop terrorists and other bad guys from doing their bad acts.

        Actually, they do.

        The laws against driving into a crowd of people did really well stopping the guy who drove into the crowd of people in Charlottesville with his registered vehicle, right?

        When I received my Mavic Pro, I had to register it on-line and provide a trackable cell number before it would fly.

        Terrorists have no idea how to buy a burner cell phone, or make up a realistic looking phone number, or just buy a different model. (The Mavic Pro is cute, but doesn't have a significant load capacity so is probably not going to be the UAS of choice anyway.) Not sure what you mean by "trackable", since a cell phone that has no battery in it

        • a cell phone that has no battery in it can have a valid number but not be trackable by anyone.

          The drone has to be connected to a working cellphone to initialize. You can't do that without a battery.

          • The drone has to be connected to a working cellphone to initialize. You can't do that without a battery.

            That makes no sense at all. The drone talks to an app that run on Android (or iOS), and Android (or iOS) runs on a lot of things that don't have a "working cellphone", much less a cellphone number of any kind. You don't even need to have an internet connection.

            And, of course, if you put the phone into airplane mode, it isn't being tracked, but it is "working", for a sufficient enough purpose for the DJI device.

    • They wish they had this for guns so they're requiring it for everything else.

      No they don't. Russia and China make all kinds of guns to sell to little tyrants all over the world. These tin pot dictators got tired of filing off the serial numbers when they got the guns so they saved them the trouble by not putting them on in the first place. What they want is for EVERYONE ELSE to register their guns. That makes confiscation so much easier.

      Government registration serves no purpose but confiscation. Criminals don't register their guns. They also don't register their cars, airplane

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday September 08, 2017 @05:41PM (#55161485) Homepage Journal

    I'll register globally in exchange for the right to fly globally, without having to secure additional clearances alongside my visa.

  • The United Nations...is backing the creation of a single global...

    No chance of the UN getting a program like this off the ground. And if they did they'd need several billion dollars to fund it.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      No chance of the UN getting a program like this off the ground. And if they did they'd need several billion dollars to fund it.

      The ICAO already manages the global manned aircraft registry, with appropriate standardization and requirements for national regulators, it works quite well.

      The IMO manages a standardized way of dealing with ship registrations, globally. There's also a global registry of MMSI data as part of the SOLAS treaty, which I think is also administered through the IMO.

  • I'm pretty sure I could build a drone from junk [instructables.com], or otherwise not-registered parts. Just like I could 3D print a (crappy) gun [wikipedia.org] to avoid gun control legislation.

    I think that governments underestimate the ability of nerds to useless turn junk into somewhat less-useless junk. [wikipedia.org]

    The article did mention that this registration would be a voluntary (for now) registration, which the U.N. would have no force to enforce on it's member states. If it actually worked out that way, great. Register your drone if you want to.

  • Simple enough (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @06:10PM (#55161629)

    Either build your own throwaway drone (printing, purchasing parts with cash.

    Or register it to someone you hate before you do anything iillegal with it.

    Or both.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Predator drones will be included in this database! That way citizens in Yemen can look up the address of the operator who illegally killed their family member in a country we are not even at war with. Also I'm sure all the "private" companies employed by US military and CIA to get around pesky international law will register their drones as well just like all private entities would have to.

  • FUCK the UN! They have NO authority in the US.

  • Thankfully, Trump isn't a UN cuck.

  • We already have an entire black market industry just in making copycat firearms in parts of South America, not to mention the repurposing of commercial electronics for use in explosive armed ISIS drones. The idea of that kind of top down regulation of this technology is just flat out impossible at this point. You would have to try to register every single screw, nut, wire, and electronic component being produce on Earth to even remotely try and do this. Because we already have plenty of examples of compl
  • This FTFA is all you need to know about this latest bit of UN feel-good tripe:

    While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries . . .

    Absolutely nothing to see here, folks -- move on.

  • What's a drone? I build all kinds flying things. I build drones. I build planes.

    I have built a plane that can hover. Is that a drone?

  • The UN is dominated by a bunch of dictatorships and tyrannies. Their human rights council has as members China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Venezuela. They have a resolution against "defamation of religion" which is really just a restriction on people to speak freely. They talk about the problems of climate change but all they have for solutions is having the USA give them more money. In front of their headquarters is a sculpture of a revolver with a twisted up barrel, and yet these offices are in a nation

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