Further Delay of the FAA’s Remote Identification Rulemaking Sep17

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Further Delay of the FAA’s Remote Identification Rulemaking

A fundamental and practical problem in regulating drone use is that the operator is remote from the drone. If a drone operator is violating Federal regulations, it is difficult if not impossible to locate the person flying the drone and hold them accountable. One potential solution is to require a drone to broadcast its identifying information to assist law enforcement and the FAA in enforcement activities. This is known as “remote identification.” 

In its August 2019 Significant Rulemakings Report, the FAA indicated that it will further delay its long-awaited Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rulemaking to December of 2019. 

According to the FAA, the rulemaking “would implement system(s) for the remote identification of certain unmanned aircraft systems. The remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system would further address security and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the national airspace while also enabling greater operational capabilities by these same aircraft.”

This delay may also implicate other important FAA rulemakings.  In the February 13, 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Over People, the FAA noted that it intended to finalize its policy regarding remote identification of small UAS before finalizing the rulemaking addressing flight over people.

This news is also bound to irk Washington lawmakers who, in July of 2019, wrote a letter to Secretary Chao, Acting Administrator Elwell, and Acting Director Vought register their concern at the delay in issuing the remote identification rulemaking. Lawmakers noted the “failure to complete this effort poses serious risks to the National Airspace System, its users, and the Nation’s most critical and sensitive facilities and assets.”