FAA Releases Privacy Plan for ADS-B

 - November 4, 2019, 12:54 PM

The FAA is putting one of the final pieces in place for the transition to the January 1 ADS-B deadline, releasing a plan to protect the privacy of operators from real-time flight-tracking services.

Agency officials announced the flight-tracking opt-out plan at NBAA’s recent Flight Planners Summit held in conjunction with the association’s annual convention in Las Vegas. Additionally, the officials said they would establish new data-sharing limits for air traffic tracking service providers if operators want to opt out of having their flight information broadcast over the internet. Those limits are expected to go in effect by year-end, NBAA said.

The Privacy ICAO Address (PIA) Program will be implemented in phases. Under the first phase, to be in place by January 1, the FAA will set up a portal to accept requests from operators seeking to keep their real-time ADS-B position and identification information private. Those operators will receive an alternative, temporary ICAO aircraft address that is not linked with their FAA registration information. To qualify, the aircraft must be U.S-registered, 1090-MHz ADS-B equipped, and fly in U.S. airspace.

Under Phase 2, the FAA will transition the PIA program to a third-party service provider. That move is anticipated in mid-2020.

NBAA, which has long sought protections for operators from the publicly available information that comes with ADS-B, welcomed the move. “We’re pleased the FAA has responded positively to ADS-B privacy concerns of operators, which NBAA has raised in numerous government/industry forums, including with the NextGen Advisory Committee,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “Until now, the lack of a privacy solution has been a disincentive for some operators to equip with ADS-B. No one should have to surrender their privacy and security just because they board an airplane.”