Legal Issues

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
china, drones, privacy, regulations, us



China To Require Drone Owners To Register, Just As Similar US Requirements Are Struck Down

from the not-what-you-might-expect dept

The South China Morning Post has a story about a new requirement for drone owners in China to register with the country's civilian aviation regulator starting next month. So is this yet another example of the Chinese authorities clamping down on a potentially subversive new technology by ensuring that drone use can be tracked? Well, that might be one reason, but it's probably also to do with this:

The move is the latest by Chinese authorities to tackle the drone safety threat after the illegal use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made headlines at least a dozen times since the beginning of 2017.

The latest case was in April when more than 240 flights were disrupted by drones flying near Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in southwest China, leaving 10,000 travellers delayed.

And if you still think this is another manifestation of China's authoritarianism, just using safety as a pretext, you might like to bear in mind that the US authorities have required drone owners to register their machines for over a year. However, those regulations have just been struck down by a federal court in Washington, D.C., and it's not clear what the FAA will now do. Perhaps more interesting than arguing about China's real motives here, is information in the South China Morning Post story about who is using this technology in China:

Once the preserve of the military, they are now used in a wide range of industries, from aerial surveillance of crops to search operations and delivery of medical supplies to remote or otherwise inaccessible regions. For Chinese consumers, drones have become the favoured gadget for taking aerial videos and photos.

There are also estimates of future growth:

The overall UAV market in China is expected to reach 75 billion yuan (US$10.9 billion) by 2025, of which consumer drones will contribute 30 billion yuan while agricultural and forestry drones, as well as security drones, are likely to account for 20 billion yuan and 15 billion yuan respectively, iiMedia Research said in a report last year.

It's worth noting that the company generally regarded as world's top drone maker, DJI, is also Chinese. Given the activity and importance of the sector, what's surprising is not that China has brought in registration requirements for drone owners, but that it has taken so long.

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  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 19 May 2017 @ 4:29pm

    The French are staring to use birds of prey specially trained to take out drones. China can do the same thing. Drones aren't cheap, and if there's a possibility of an eagle or hawk taking one out, they may not be a problem much longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 19 May 2017 @ 8:28pm

      , …that is…

      …until somebody electrifies a drone (at a cost of about a
      dollar) to deliver a stunning shock on physical contact… ‌ ;]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2017 @ 2:20am

        Re: , …that is…

        To deliver a shock requires contact with both sides of the high voltage supply, and also not that feathers and scales are good insulators. Tasers use two needles so as to get contact with the flesh, and also to avoid using the user as a ground connection, and so shocking them as well. So a nice idea, but more likely to shock whoever picks up the wreckage, that the bird that takes it down.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 20 May 2017 @ 6:31pm

          Re: Re: , …that is…

          It's funny. Birds sit on high tension lines all the time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2017 @ 7:55am

            Re: Re: Re: , …that is…

            So, they're only on one side of the power line. Not both. Both lines are insulated and they're attached generally to a wood pole which isn't a very good conductor.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 22 May 2017 @ 11:34pm

              It all depends on how you apply the voltage.

              Touch an electrified fence, just once, and rediscover
              1930s American ranching technology in action! ‌ ‌ ;]

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 20 May 2017 @ 5:51am

      Re:

      Maybe signal jammers around airports and sensitive areas? Plain old sniping? If the moron is flying his drone near such places then he/she deserves to be separated from the toy. Of course there's the activism portion but they can get creative to hide the activities and still carry on activism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2017 @ 6:28am

      Re:

      I would suggest the cost to rear, train, and maintain a hawk or eagle to attack drones would exceed the cost (a few hundred to a few thousand for the smaller drones that could be taken out by such birds) of those drones.

      The drones that cost 10's, hundred's of thousands, even millions, tend to be quite large, the size of existing manned micro/ultra-light and light aircraft.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2017 @ 6:47pm

    FAA Dictators

    The FAA bureaucrats are criminals here, but of course will suffer no consequences whatsoever.
    They, like other Federal Regulators, operate above the law.

    FAA casually decided in 2015 that all recreational hobbyists must register their drones and model aircraft... or go to prison.
    Thus, FAA fatcats created a new criminal law out of thin air; law-making is supposed to be done by Congress.

    Worse, FAA directly violated a 2012 Congressional law (signed by Obama, that specifically barred the FAA from imposing new regulations on model aircraft.

    (remote control model airplanes had been free of government meddling for over half a century... with no problems)

    The arrogance of U.S. Federal regulatory agents knows no limits -- Red Chinese authoritarians could learn a lot about oppressive techniques from them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2017 @ 6:03am

    "FAA casually decided in 2015 that all recreational hobbyists must register their drones "

    I read it was only those above a certain weight ... that was incorrect?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2017 @ 6:49am

      FAA Dicktators

      FAA demands registration of all unmanned recreational/hobbyist aircraft weighing over 00.55 lbs and less than 55 lbs.

      That covers most all model aircraft/drones, except very small toy-like systems intended for children, or having extremely limited flight capability. Aircraft over 55 lbs have stricter FAA rules.

      TD oddly attempts to argue here that the Red Chinese drone rules are not at all "authoritarian"... because our beloved FAA does the same thing. In fact, the FAA registration rules are deeply authoritarian... and totally illegal, as the Federal Court just ruled.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard M (profile), 20 May 2017 @ 8:14am

        Re: FAA Dicktators

        I did not read it as him saying that the Chinese were not "authoritarian" but more a "people in glass houses"/hypocrisy thing.

        Face it we here in the US get all high and mighty when some other country does something bad even though we do the same or worse. It really time we got off our high horse because whatever moral high ground the US used to have is long gone.

        A perfect example is this whole Russia getting involved in our election thing that half the country is losing their minds over. Yes if other countries are trying to interfere in our elections that is a bad thing but all the outrage over it is just plain hypocritical to say the least as the US has a long history of not just interfering with elections but helping overthrow democratically elected leaders we do not like.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2017 @ 8:06am

          Re: Re: FAA Dicktators

          How did Russia get Involved and Interfere with the election? They didn't vote in the election and there wasn't a single machine tampered with. Most all the votes were legal, though I'm sure there was some voter fraud as there always is. Illegals voting, or voting more then once, or a dead person somehow voting and so on.

          What we have are a bunch of haters. Hated TRUMP before he was even President. Doesn't matter what he does. All that protesting, and thuggery will do is get him Elected for a 2nd term. The simple fact was HILLARY was a piss poor choice. Just about anyone else would have won over Trump.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2017 @ 2:15pm

        Re: FAA Dicktators

        From your prior post:
        "FAA casually decided in 2015 that all recreational hobbyists must register their drones and model aircraft... or go to prison."

        From your above post:
        "FAA demands registration of all unmanned recreational/hobbyist aircraft weighing over 00.55 lbs and less than 55 lbs."


        So you admit your first post was in error.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobby b, 20 May 2017 @ 9:15pm

    "So you admit your first post was in error?"

    Try to unclench.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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