Drones a good industry, with safeguards, Udall says

Private drones should be regulated to protect Americans’ privacy rights, but the growing drone industry also needs support, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said.

Udall said he is drafting legislation aimed at protecting privacy and aiding the industry developing new and innovative private-sector drones.

The technology of unmanned aerial systems can boost employment and provide significant benefits for local law enforcement and private businesses, Udall said in a statement.

Privacy safeguards, however, have fallen behind the technological advancement, Udall said.

“Private sector drones and unmanned aerial systems could positively reshape numerous industries and efforts, from search-and-rescue operations to agriculture and local TV news,” Udall said. “But the only way to truly embrace these innovative, job-creating technologies, is to assure the public that these technologies will not compromise Coloradans’ basic privacy rights.”

Udall said he would pursue legislation after a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting March 20 in which Benjamin Miller, unmanned-aircraft program manager for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, testified.

Federal officials estimate there could be as many as 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles flying over the United States in 10 years.

Legislation is needed to provide “common-sense safeguards” to protect Americans from the improper use of drones, Udall said.


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