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FAA releases updated list of drone authorization applicants

The Federal Aviation Administration released its latest list of organizations in the U.S. that have applied for the agency’s authorization to operate unmanned aerial vehicles.

The FAA released the new list on Feb. 7 under a Freedom of Information Act request filed earlier by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The new drone authorization list, said EFF, includes law enforcement agencies and universities across the country, and the first Indian tribal agency to apply. In all, EFF said the list includes more than 20 new entities over the FAA’s original list, bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012.

 Some of the new drone license applicants include:

  • The State Department
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (near San Diego, California)
  • Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (Idaho)
  • Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Northwest Oregon)
  • Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (North Dakota)
  • King County Sheriff’s Office (covering Seattle, Washington)

And several new entities in Ohio, including:

  • Medina County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Lorain County Community College

EFF said it received the list as controversy over the use of the unmanned aircraft grows. Several cities, including Charlottesville, VA, and Florida lawmakers consider legislation to ban their use in the state.

EFF reiterated its criticism that drones have serious privacy and civil liberty concerns, even though they can be used for beneficial purposes.

EFF said it hopes the new list would spur questions from civilians to law enforcement agencies about their drone programs.