UN’s aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is planning to build a singular database to register all drones worldwide. This would enable the law enforcement to examine a unified registry instead of sifting through registries of individual nations.
However, such laws have received negative criticism from hobbyist drone community in the past. Last year, the US Department of Transportation passed a law making the registration of UAVs mandatory, which included non-commercial drones as well. This led hobbyist John Taylor to put forward a case against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shortly after the law came into effect during January 2016. The DC court appealed in John’s favour, thus classifying non-commercial drones as model aircraft and they were subject to the Modernisation and Reform Act of 2012, thereby denying FAA from creating new laws relating to non-commercial UAV.
The global registry will likely be preceding the global regulations on drone operations that ICAO has been tasked to create. It is likely that ICAO could shape their rules after considering regulations such as those of the US regulations for commercial UAVs, China’s registration rules or Australia’s CASA regulations.
Australia is one of the most forward-thinking nations regarding its drone laws, thanks to the decision makers at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Australia is now among the first countries to introduce legislation relating to drone operations, building a framework which is in effective use today. CASA recently released a discussion paper which discusses concerns whether or not all drones should be registered. CASA is also taking feedback from the general public in consideration while designing its drone laws.
Would it be a feasible idea to manage records of every drone in existence on a singular global database? Or is it better to classify certain classes of drone that would need to be registered globally? Is it a waste of resources to involve non-commercial drones?