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What restrictions are in place to protect citizens' civil liberties and privacy concerns related to uncrewed aircraft systems?

The USGS is a bureau within the Department of the Interior (DOI), which requires the following actions related to privacy:

  • Operating uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) primarily over DOI lands.

  • Obtaining written permission from landowners when UAS operations need to launch and/or land on their property.

  • Following standard Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and DOI-approved procedures for aircraft operations (including special use permits, landowner approval letters, and developing safety cases). Must obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization from the FAA prior to conducting any flight operations outside of restricted airspace.

  • Maintaining open and transparent UAS operations: UAS mission schedules are listed on the USGS National Uncrewed Systems Office website, and local press and landowners are invited to observe the operations.

  • Holding public hearings if required by the managing agency or local governing officials.