A new report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should revise its approach for safety risk assessments for the technology associated with implementation of drones into the national airspace. Specifically, the report says that the FAA’s overly conservative approach to safety risk assessments can

In the last few weeks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bills have made their way around both houses of Congress, which will allow funding to the FAA to continue beyond Fall 2017. These bills contain lengthy and significant language that could greatly affect commercial and hobbyist drone operations in the U.S. Below is a summary of the main provisions in the House’s bill:

  • UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System: Directs the FAA to initiate rulemaking within 18 months to establish procedures for issuing air navigation facility certificates to operators of low-altitude UTM systems.
  • Risk-Based Permitting Process: Establishes a risk-based permitting process to authorize UAS operations that meet certain safety standards.
  • Small UAS Air Carrier Certificate: Establishes an air carrier certificate for operators of small UAS for package delivery.
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations at FAA Test Sites: Extends the FAA test site program and directs the FAA to permit BVLOS UAS flights if the UAS is equipped with sense-and-avoid technology at test sites.
  • UAS Privacy Review: Requires a Department of Transportation (DOT) study on the privacy implications of UAS operations.
  • UAS Registration: Directs the DOT to assess the FAA’s small UAS registration system and requires FAA to develop and track metrics and effectiveness of the system.
  • Role of State and Local Governments: Directs the DOT to study the potential roles of state and local governments in the regulation of low-altitude small UAS operations.
  • Pay-to-Play: Requires Comptroller General to study appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of regulation and oversight of UAS.

Continue Reading FAA Reauthorization Bill: What does it mean for the UAS legal landscape?

On February 27, 2017, news reports disclosed a major security breach involving Spiral Toys, the seller of the CloudPets brand of internet-connected stuffed animals. The Bluetooth-connected CloudPets toys allow users to exchange voice messages between the toys and applications on smartphones or tablets. An investigation by cybersecurity researcher Troy Hunt revealed that customer data for over 800,000 registered accounts, including over two million voice recordings, was stored in an unprotected database on the public internet. While the company has denied that any voice recordings were stolen, reports indicate that hackers accessed the open database and attempted to ransom the data.
Continue Reading Data Breach Involving CloudPets “Smart” Toys Raises Internet-of-Things Security Concerns