In the first 30-days of drone registration, nearly 300,000 owners have registered their drones. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) small drone user registration has sparked much debate, and now, the FAA is considering a change in their regulations to require immediate registration upon purchase. This point-of-sale registration would force retailers to become part of the drone registration process. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) believes that “customers’ personal information will be better protected by ensuring retailers are not unnecessary middlemen in the process.”
Specifically, the RILA expressed its concerns for consumer privacy, “In most instances, point-of-sale registration will require checkout clerks to ask customers to reveal personally identifiable information while standing in the checkout line in order to input the information into a registration system. This creates privacy concerns for consumers reticent about revealing personal information in such a public forum.” Many individual retailers have commented that they would oppose this type of registration as well.
On the other hand, the FAA’s concerns grow with the number of drones entering the skies; in 2015, there were over 600 drones spotted near airports and 13 cases in which drones interfered with fighting wildfires.
The FAA’s rule is only an interim rule so expect much more debate and discussion of the issues that are currently ‘up in the air.’