Sen. Charles Schumer pointed to private, potentially illegal use of drones for illicit activities as a call for the FAA and Commerce Department to step in immediately and lay out the rules for private and commercial drone use. Credit: Aymann Ismail/Animal New York
Sen. Charles Schumer wants federal intervention to tame what he called the "wild, wild west" that is New York City and its drone hobbyists.
The senator pointed to private, potentially illegal use of drones for illicit activities as a call for the Federal Aviation Administration and Commerce Department to step in immediately and lay out the rules for private and commercial drone use.
Both the FAA and Commerce Department are slated propose regulations by September 2015.
"More and more, small drones are being used by private investigators to spy on unaware New Yorkers or for illegal purposes like drug deliveries," Schumer said in a statement, "and the lack of clear rules from the FAA holds a great deal of the blame for confusion as to what is legal, and the blatant abuses of this great technology."
On Thursday, Reuters reported that a drone attempting to fly in cell phones, marijuana and tobacco into a South Carolina prison crashed before it could deliver its payload.
There are no reported attempts to fly in drugs to prisons in New York State.
But in July there was a close call between two hobby drone and a New York City Police Department helicopter near the George Washington Bridge. The two fliers were charged with felony reckless endangerment.
But NYPD itself is considering using drones for surveillance.
"At this point, we have no drones, don’t use any drones, haven't deployed any drones," Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said in May. "However, it's something that we'll continue to look at."