Section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95) ordered the Transportation Department to conduct a public rulemaking to safely integrate UAS into the NAS.
In 2012, EPIC joined with over 100 organizations, experts, and advocates to petition the FAA to establish privacy protections as part of this rulemaking procedure.
The FAA responded to this petition in 2014, stating that UAS privacy implications “did not raise an immediate safety concern[,]” but assured the petitioners that their comments and arguments would be considered in the FAA’s rulemaking addressing the operation of sUAS in the NAS.
On February 23, 2015, the FAA issued a NPRM to “adopt the specific rules to allow the operation” of drones. This NPRM had the effect of denying EPIC’s petition stating, "[t]he FAA also notes that privacy concerns have been raised about [UAS’s]," but privacy issues "are beyond the scope of this rulemaking."
EPIC challenged both the FAA’s dismissal of its petition and the FAA’s omission of privacy provisions from the NPRM. EPIC alleged the FAA had not lived up to the Congressional mandate of the Act, and had violated the law by failing to issue and/or solicit public comments on possible UAS privacy regulations.