Unmanned Aircraft Authorization Info Sought

 - February 8, 2012, 4:15 AM

A nonprofit digital rights advocacy organization filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation last month, demanding its constituent agency, the FAA, release information on who is operating or applying to operate unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace. The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) alleges that the FAA “wrongfully withheld” information sought through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). “As the government begins to make policy decisions about the use of these aircraft, the public needs to know more about how and why these drones are being used to surveil U.S. citizens,” said EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch. The EFF filed the FOIA request on April 13, 2011, seeking information on which specific public and civil entities have applied for and been granted or denied authorizations to fly unmanned aircraft. The FAA acknowledged receipt of the request on April 15, but still has not released the information.