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Report: Agencies Reviewing Draft of Future EO on Federal Drone Operations Transparency

droneThe administration could soon issue an executive order requiring all federal agencies to release information to the public regarding their aerial surveillance activities using drones, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Craig Whitlock reports that the directive would target data only on federal drone operations in U.S. airspace, such as the flight path and applications for the data collected, as well as measures to ensure the privacy of those data.

A spokesperson for the White House noted that agencies are currently reviewing a draft of the potential EO, and that this interagency review is in the final stages, the report said.

Whitlock writes that military and federal law enforcement agencies have previously kept information on the scope, scale and operational methods of domestic surveillance due to the level of sensitivity of such missions.

However, he notes that this could also be because of the lack of internal policies and guidelines in pace with the ongoing developments in drone technology.

The future presidential directive would also task the Commerce Department to help the private sector establish voluntary privacy guidelines or industry standards for commercial drone operations, the report said.

It also anticipates an increase in drone flights in the U.S. due to upcoming Federal Aviation Administration regulations on opening the U.S. airspace to both government- and industry-operated drone flights outside controlled environments.

According to the report, the EO would likely have the biggest impact on the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Department, Justice Department and other related federal agencies.

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