The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the licensing of domestic drones has finally produced documents detailing the use of drones in the United States.
According to a blog post written by EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch, the information obtained by the FAA includes “details about the specific drone models some entities are flying, where they fly, how frequently they fly, and how long they stay in the air.”
Thousands of pages were delivered to the EFF in response to the FOIA request submitted in April 2011. Prior to the documents dumped on the EFF last week, the FOIA petition had already been answered in part by a list of all the entities (public and private) licensed by the federal government to operate drones in the skies over the United States.
In her report, Lynch states:
The 18 entities represented in the files include police departments from Seattle, Washington to North Little Rock, Arkansas; about 10 public colleges and universities; a few federal agencies, including the USDA and the Department of Energy — Idaho National Lab; and other entities like the City of Herrington, Kansas and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. For every entity, the files include the actual Certificate of Authorization (COA) application information submitted to the FAA (for each entity, that file is called "COA.xls"), and many other supporting records. The files go back several years and include COAs for every year that the entity has had drones. For some entities this is as early as 2004.
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