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Google’s Wing Raises Dispute Against the New US Drone Laws

US drone law changes could unknowingly hamper flyers' privacy, feels Wing

Sometime during the last week, the US drone laws witnessed major changes. As per the latest laws, drones would require to transmit their positions and, at the same time, also provide the position of their respective flyers. This rule needs to be compulsorily followed by all drone flyers to “address safety, national security, and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the airspace of the United States.”

However, it seems like these new drone laws are not acceptable to Google. Wing, a part of Google that is involved in manufacturing drones that can transport packages from one place to another, has gone on to publish a post that goes by the name of “Broadcast-Only Remote Identification of Drones May Have Unintended Consequences for American Consumers.” It is needless to say here that the complete post right from its title as well as its content does not give any positive vibes regarding the latest drone laws.

Wing feels that the new drone laws finalized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could do more harm than good. The laws require drones to compulsorily transmit their present locations, which could indirectly help the anti-social elements keep an eye on them, as they are aware of their positions. It is certainly not a good piece of news for drone pilots since all of their movements would be exposed to unwanted persons. Even details like the parcels received by these drone pilots would be out in the open.

The Wing has put forth its points, stating that Americans are not in favor of anyone spying on them even when traveling on roads. Hence, the delivery drone producer feels that the new drone laws need to be boycotted, and people should not accept these as no one should be spied upon while flying in the sky.

However, Wing is not against the idea of pilots sending out their location information. The firm feels that instead of transmitting such information on a local level, the same can be done via the Internet.

Initially, FAA had thought of tracking down these drones as well as its flyers via the Internet only, as proposed by Wing. It was the first thing that came across within the FAA’s mind when it went about designing the Remote ID laws in December 2019. However, a few people state that tracking down drone positions via the Internet could have its own set of issues, mainly with respect to an increase in overall costs. Some of them have been listed as under:

  • The drone needs to be equipped with a cellular modem, which would increase the costs.
  • To fly the drone smoothly, one would have to bear the additional cellular data charges regularly.
  • The complete cellular data network is not very good within all locations of the country. 
  • To manage the complete cellular information, third-party help would be required, which again implies additional costs.
  • There were high chances that the third-party helper could end up compromising some important information.
  • The third-party help or even the complete data network could easily suffer a DDoS attack. That could hamper all the drones within the US.

Wing feels that the Remote ID technology works for drones like a license plate for a car.

For now, one needs to wait and watch how these new Remote ID laws would be shaping up the future of drones. An important thing to be noted here is that the FAA has not revealed the medium through which drone broadcasting would be carried out. That would be clear only after a while. Simultaneously, the FAA is not completely ruling out the option of internet-based drone tracking, which could always happen going forward.

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