Privacy law in the United States tends to be targeted, and as a result "we don't believe that there are actually any federal statutes that would provide limits on drone surveillance," said Aime Stepanovich, an attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Following passage of a 2012 reauthorization bill, the FAA has worked to streamline procedures for integrating public agency UAVs into the national airspace.
UAVs equipped with sensors such as facial recognition technology create the possibility of continuous and ongoing biometric surveillance, said Laura Donohue, an associate professor of law at Georgetown Law School. Biometrics until now have mostly been collected on an individual basis, such as through fingerprinting after arrest or through biometric identification for access control. A UAV with biometric sensors "changes how we think about public space," she said.
Domestic drones' security risks deserve the Homeland Security Department's attention, the Government Accountability Office recommended in 2008--but DHS still hasn't acted to assess those risks, GAO's Gerald Dillingham said July 19. Dillingham testified before a House Homeland Security subcommittee. At the hearing, congressmen, an academic, a local law enforcement official and a privacy advocate also criticized DHS for its lack of involvement in drone-related security issues.