On February 15, 2015, President Obama issued the Presidential Memorandum “Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” The Presidential Memorandum states: “As UAS are integrated into the NAS, the Federal Government will take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise.” The Presidential Memorandum establishes a “multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop and communicate best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues regarding commercial and private UAS use in the NAS.” The process will include stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia, and will be initiated by the Department of Commerce, through NTIA, and in consultation with other interested agencies.
NTIA’s role in the multistakeholder process is to provide a forum for discussion and consensus-building among stakeholders. When stakeholders disagree, NTIA’s role is to help the parties reach clarity on what their positions are and whether there are options for compromise toward consensus, rather than substituting its own judgment. Furthermore, this stakeholder group is not an advisory committee, as neither NTIA nor any other Federal agency or office will seek consensus advice or recommendations on policy issues from participants in this multistakeholder process. Public stakeholder meetings will be webcast, and there will be an opportunity for stakeholders viewing the webcast to participate remotely in the meetings through a moderated conference bridge.