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Ministry of Justice updates drone policy

The Ministry of Justice announced a updated drone policy, intended to take the place of a Policy guidelines 2015. The new policy maintains much of the same language and regulations, with a few important additions that address concerns about cyber security and privacy.

The new version of the policy “requires components to evaluate UAS acquisitions for cyber security risks, and protects against potential threats to the supply chain and DOJ & # 39; s networks,” the announcement said. The policy also indicates that the DOJ will coordinate with the FAA on access to airspace, including work on an air traffic support plan. Finally, the policy specifically mentions information collected from cameras & sensors, and says it will “weigh the possible intrusiveness and impact on privacy and civil liberties” against the interests of the government.

The policy still requires an annual privacy assessment of the use of drones and maintaining a limit of 180 days for the retention of personally identifiable data, “unless it is determined that the retention of information is necessary for an authorized purpose or is maintained in a Privacy Act system of records. “

Last month, the Ministry of the Interior grounded all 800 of its UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) because of concerns about cyber security with regard to the footage captured by the drones. All drones of the Interior Department were made in China or contain parts made in China. The drones of the Interior Department are used to fight forest fires, investigate land damage, monitor dams and observe endangered species, but there was concern that drunken images with sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands. The base also took place amid various US government restrictions against Chinese companies in response to the belief that China was stealing trade secrets.