NBAA Eyes Policy for Privacy Protections with ADS-B

 - August 6, 2019, 6:02 PM
NBAA is pushing the FAA to ensure the privacy of business aircraft operators from real-time flight-tracking as operators transition to ADS-B with the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline approaching. (Photo: NBAA)

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen is continuing the association’s push to ensure the privacy of business aircraft operators from real-time flight-tracking as operators transition to ADS-B with the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline approaching. The association has been actively involved on that issue with the FAA’s Equip 2020 working group, which last week provided an update to the NextGen Advisory Council on the multi-pronged effort ongoing for the ADS-B transition.

Bolen encouraged the group to continue progress on an “opt-out” solution that would enable operators to obtain a 24-bit ICAO code. Under this option, NBAA explained, operators keep their permanent code tied to the N-number, but could use the secondary temporary code that is not tied to an N-number, shielding the identity of the aircraft from outside flight-tracking programs. Operators would have the ability to request the code at least once every 30 days, the association added.

NBAA said this program would address concerns associated with data transmitted by the aircraft. “While private ADS-B receivers could still detect an aircraft flying overhead, they would not see any information allowing them to match that aircraft to the owner listed in the FAA registry,” the association said.

“Everyone agrees that a person shouldn’t need to give up his or her security when boarding an airplane,” said Bolen. “We remain committed to working with the FAA and others to ensure that operators are given an ability to opt out from having their flights tracked in real-time, basically by anyone, anywhere in the world, who happens to have the appropriate equipment for doing so, and whose intentions may be unknown.”

The industry is awaiting the release of the policy regarding this approach, and the FAA must issue a procurement for a service provider to assign temporary call signs. Policy release had been targeted for September 30 but has been pushed out in part because of the government shutdown earlier this year.