When a handful of drone owners made some poor choices the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) saw the opportunity to drum up some cash. It mandated that all drones must be registered with the FAA. Registering as a drone pilot costs $5.00 and failing to register can cost up to $250,000 and/or up to three years in a cage. Either way the FAA wins and you lose. Why do you lose? Because a hidden costs of registering your drone is making your home address publicly available on the Internet:
The FAA is delighted that signups for its new drone registry have hit 300,000. But the agency’s buoyant mood is destined for a nosedive. The FAA isn’t warning drone owners their names and addresses are easily searchable and downloadable (47MB) in the agency’s online registry.
To add a bit more insult than usual to public registries, the FAA’s drone pilot registry even includes minors:
While drone owners must be 13 years old to register, the privacy threat posed by this registry is particularly concerning for minors — for obvious reasons.
The poor manner in which this registry program has been handled just adds credence to the entire thing being a quick cash grab. Even a little bit of thought would have caused the developers to realize how bad of an idea making people’s name and addresses publicly available is. It’s especially damning when it’s so easy to make a more anonymized database.