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Virginia Private Investigator questions the validity of AUVSI’s ‘Code of Conduct.’

August 9, 2012

Since some members of PISA are keeping abreast of developments related to UAV regulation (and privacy issues relating to same), I thought there may be some interest in my recen t correspondence with AUVSI.           A quick perusal of the article available at the link below, and the AUVSI “Code of Conduct” (contained within) will bring you up to speed, and is recommended reading prior to reading my attached response.

I apologize for a bit of sloppy writing in my email to AUVSI, but I think my general sentiments expressed  stands on their own.   In summary, I’m concerned about the AUVSI trying to reassure the general public regarding the ‘drone’ industry, while marketing products designed for surveillance purposes.     I’m interested to hear others thoughts on the matter.


James Pollock

Bulldog Investigations  DCJS #11-6038

—–Original Message—–

From: ]

Sent: Thursday, August 9

To: Cc:,


I respectfully disagree with at least two of the items in the recently (announced? proposed?) code of conduct [August 2012 issue of Unmanned Systems, page 44].

Under the ‘Respect’ section of the AUVSI code of conduct, two items strike me as questionable statements:

#1 We will respect the privacy of individuals

#2 We will respect the concerns of the public as they relate to unmanned aircraft operations.

Making such  statements strikes me as counter-productive to our intended purpose as an organization.

I certainly don’t intend to imply that I don’t respect the privacy of indviduals, or the concerns of the public. That said, I believe we should have a bit of honest discussion and/or debate on this matter. Quite a few AUVSI members are interested in these technologies from a reconissance standpoint.  My company wishes to explore the use of ‘drone’ technologies to enhance the effectiveness of private investigation efforts.  Other member companies within AUVSI anticipate manufacturing UAS products for sale to law enforcement agencies. The intended purpose of these products no doubt include surveillance.  What exact message  are we seeking to convey through these statements? Will they then be questioned as to their honesty?   I’m not sure that putting the items of  ‘respect for privacy’ and the ‘concerns of the public’ into AUVSI’s code of conduct constitutes a wise move.    How can a UAS manufacturer support those statements on the one hand and sell products that are used for surveillance purposes with the other?  The code of conduct as written could perhaps ultimately result in unanticipated additional scrutiny of  AUVSI.  The privacy related items as contained within the code do not ring true to me.    I cannot therefore publicly endorse them.   I suspect many other firms within our organization walk upon ‘thin ice’ if they choose to do so.

I’m certainly not implying that voicing an inferred contradictory  message would be prove a prudent course of action.  That,perhaps, we do not  respect the privacy of individuals or public concerns regarding same.    My suggestion is that we remain offically neutral within the developing controversial quagmire.  Otherwise we should anticipate expending  a tremendous amount of time and energy clarification of our position.


James Pollock

President,  Bulldog Investigations & Security, LLC.

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