I’m A Good Little Slave And You Should Be One Too

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has decreed that anybody who owns a drone must register. Sally French, a reporter for Forbes, registered herself and wrote an opinion piece encouraging others to do the same. It’s titled “I registered my drone. Here’s why you should too” but it might as well be titled “I’m a good little slave who rolls over on command and you should too!”

I logged onto the site and entered my name, home address and email address.

There is a registration fee, so I also had to enter my credit card information. The registration fee is $5 per drone owner — the same $5 processing fee charged for any aircraft registration — but the FAA says it will refund the $5 fee for drones registered through Jan. 20 to encourage participation.

Once I hit the “next” button, I received a personal identification number and certificate to print out (though like most millennials, I don’t have a printer). I did write the identification number on a sticker, which I then pasted on my drone, an original DJI Phantom that I have been flying since early 2013.


Registration is intended to force some education upon pilots who may not have malicious intent, but also may not have read the “Know Before You Fly” guidelines included with most drone purchases in the U.S. It also means that government and law enforcement officials will be able to track down reckless drone operators — something that, until now, they haven’t been able to do.

The fool! Registration is not intended to educate drone pilots, it’s meant to rake in a little extra cash for the FAA. Although $5 per operator, a fee that’s being refunded until January 20th, doesn’t sound like much when you consider the FFA estimates one million drones will be sold this Christmas alone you can see the cash, which requires the FAA to do almost nothing, becomes a tidy sum. And anybody familiar with how government extortion works knows that the initial $5 fee is just the bait and the price will only go up. But the registration fee isn’t the real money maker. There is an up to $250,000 fine for anybody who flies a drone without registering with the FAA by February 19th. Since a lot of drone owners will likely remain unaware of the FAA regulation there a large pool of suckers the FAA is going to be able to extort some money out of.

Now let me explain why you shouldn’t register your drone. If you do your name and home address will be made publicly available:

The FAA finally confirmed this afternoon that model aircraft registrants’ names and home addresses will be public. In an email message, the FAA stated: “Until the drone registry system is modified, the FAA will not release names and address. When the drone registry system is modified to permit public searches of registration numbers, names and addresses will be revealed through those searches.”

Sounds like a public wall of shame to me. But you know this list will be abused. Most likely drone manufacturers will use it to send you unwanted advertisements via snail mail (hey, look, the registration system raises some money for the Post Office too). And anybody looking to steal a drone knows exactly where to go.

In this day and age it has become obvious that publicly releasing personal information is dangerous. The fact the FAA’s official policy is to public release the names and home addresses of every registered drone pilot is reason enough not to register. If the FAA isn’t willing to protect the privacy of its “customers” then nobody should do business with it.

So instead of being a good little slave who rolls over on command think about giving the FAA a giant middle finger.