FAA’s Remote ID rule for drones is constitutional, DC court rules

A US Appeals Court on Friday affirmed the Remote ID rules for drones set by the FAA. Denying a petition by a drone user who said Remote ID would invite “warrantless governmental surveillance in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” a three-judge panel in Washington, DC, ruled that requiring a drone to show its location and that of its operator while the aircraft is airborne “violates no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

What is Remote ID for drones?

Remote ID refers to the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by people within the range of local radio signals. The FAA likens it to a “digital license plate” for a drone.

For a drone to transmit information such as its unique identifier, altitude, or take-off location, it could either have in-built Remote ID capabilities or it could be outfitted with an external Remote ID module.

Who will the Remote ID rule apply to?

The FAA’s Remote ID rule will apply to all drone operators in the US, with the following exemptions:

  • You fly a drone that weighs less than 250g, such as the DJI Mini 3, and you fly it only for recreation purposes.
  • You fly a drone at an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA). These FRIAs will be your traditional model airplane fields where hobbyists have gathered and flown safely for decades.