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DoJ New Policy To Ensure Accountability For Use Of Drones

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The Justice Department published its updated policy on the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, generally known as drones.

As per the new government policy, drones can be used only for authorized investigations and activities.
It also requires compliance with the Constitution, laws and regulations, including regulations issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Various branches of the Department of Justice use UAS mainly to support crime scene response and investigation, search and rescue, and site security.

In order to ensure accountability and airspace safety, the Department requires UAS operations to be approved at an appropriate level and conducted by well-trained personnel.

Importantly, the new policy requires DOJ components to evaluate UAS acquisitions for cybersecurity risks, guarding against potential threats to the supply chain and DOJ's networks.

Unveiling the updated policy, Beth A. Williams, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, said that he new policy promotes the responsible, appropriate, and effective use of UAS by the Department and can serve as a model for its state, local, tribal, and territorial public safety partners as they develop their own UAS programs and best practices.

The updated policy also places limits on data retention, generally requiring privacy sensitive data to be deleted within 180 days, unless certain exceptions are met.

In addition to utilizing UAS as a law enforcement tool, the Department said it takes seriously the threat posed by unlawful and unsafe uses of drones.

The Department has trained federal prosecutors and agents across the country to counter the misuse of drones, such as to smuggle contraband materials into prisons or violate restricted airspace. Department of Justice has warned that it will take action against those who threaten the safety of the skies and the public by misusing Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had warned in an alert issued in May that Chinese-made drones may be sending sensitive flight data to their manufacturers in China, where it can be accessed by the government there.

The report does not mention any manufacturer, but nearly 80 percent of the drones used in the United States are supplied by China-based company DJI.

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