Science and Technology News

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Statement From March 20 Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Law Enforcement and Privacy

Michael Toscano, president and chief executive officer of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a March 20 hearing on “The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations.”

A statement released by AUVSI reads as follows: “The industry fully understands the technology is new to many Americans, and their opinions are being formed by what they see in the news. Today’s hearing is an excellent opportunity to address some misconceptions about the technology and discuss how it will actually be used domestically
.Unlike military UAS, the systems most likely be used by public safety agencies are small systems, many weighing less than 5 pounds, with limited flight duration. As for weaponization, it is a non-starter. The FAA prohibits deploying weapons on civil aircraft. And for the record: AUVSI does not support the weaponization of civil UAS...As we focus on the use of UAS by law enforcement, it is important to recognize the robust legal framework already in place, rooted in the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution and decades of case law, which regulates how law enforcement uses any technology - whether it is unmanned aircraft, manned aircraft, thermal imaging, GPS, or cell phones. 

Safeguarding people’s privacy is important to my industry, as well. Last year, AUVSI published a Code of Conduct explicitly directing users to respect individual privacy. AUVSI also endorsed guidelines published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for the use of unmanned aircraft by law enforcement. These guidelines were not only praised by our industry, but the ACLU as well. AUVSI strongly opposes any misuse of UAS technology. Just like with any technology, those who abuse it should be held accountable. In conclusion, AUVSI believes all stakeholders can work together to advance this technology in a thoughtful way that recognizes the benefits and fuels job creation, while protecting Americans’ safety, as well as their rights.”
To read the full statement, click here.

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