The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the FAA has issued 1,428 permits to domestic drone operators since 2007 and noted this was “far more than were previously known.”
This new number points out again how difficult it is to answer the most common questions EFF gets from reporters about drones — just how many agencies have applied for drone licenses? How many licenses has the FAA issued since it started issuing licenses (which was earlier than 2007)? And how much has domestic drone use increased over the years?
Unfortunately, the FAA has made it impossible to answer these questions. We’ve been tracking drone flights in the United States for several years now through our two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the Federal Aviation Administration, and we currently have more information on domestic drone flights than anyone other than the FAA. But thanks to discrepancies among various drone numbers the FAA has released—to EFF, to the Government Accountability Office and to members of Congress—it’s anyone’s guess exactly how much drone authorizations have increased over the years.
Source: EFF. Read full article. (link)