US issues new rules governing use of drones

US authorities on Sunday issued sweeping new guidelines governing the use of drones, while the White House separately moved to place limits on the kind of data they can collect and how they will be deployed.

Washington: US authorities on Sunday issued sweeping new guidelines governing the use of drones, while the White House separately moved to place limits on the kind of data they can collect and how they will be deployed.

Drones, or unarmed aircraft systems, while rapidly growing in popularity, for the most part have not been regulated.

The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday issued proposed guidelines governing how high drones will be allowed to fly, the certification needed to operate them, and other rules.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama Sunday called for more stringent rules privacy and drone use, just a few weeks after a "quadcopter" drone device crashed on White House grounds, prompting a security alert.

The White House issued a presidential memorandum Sunday concerning "the responsible use of this technology, strengthening privacy safeguards and ensuring full protection of civil liberties."

A central pillar of the presidential memorandum is that drones should not be used to illegally gather or share private data.

"Policies are in place to prohibit the collection, use, retention, or dissemination of data in any manner that would violate the First Amendment," a White House statement said.

Sharing or collecting information that would "discriminate against persons based upon their ethnicity, race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, in violation of law" will also be prohibited, according to the statement.

Laws regulating drone use should be evaluated every three years, "to ensure that protections and policies keep pace with developments," the statement said.

Civilian drone use has recently surged in popularity, presenting new regulatory headaches for states and the federal government.

Drones -- like the one that crashed on the White House lawn -- are used most often recreationally for collecting aerial video, but authorities fear they could also pose a security threat.

Various US federal agencies regularly use drones, including to monitor wildfires, conduct scientific research, monitor borders and in military training.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has been testing drone use at six sites across the country since late 2013.

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