Perhaps the European Union decided to implement new rules after listening to Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me. It's hard to get lyrics like, "I always feel like somebody's watching me," out of your head, but at least with the European Commission endorsing EU-wide rules on technical requirements for drones, it's keeping safety and environmental considerations in mind, too.
Adopted on 12 March, 2019, the requirements will regulate drones' features and capabilities, were based on national rules, and offer a framework throughout the European Union.
According to a press release, the rules, created with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, were formed in response to an operational risk assessment, aiming for a balance between the obligations of UAV manufacturers and operators, specifically with privacy considerations, environmental issues, noise protection, and security in mind. One example of these requirements is that, going forward, new drones will have to be individually recognizable to allow authorities to trace a drone if necessary.
European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "We wholeheartedly support the development of these new technologies and services, which are essential for the digitalization and decarbonization of the European economy." The core objective for the European Commission's Aviation Strategy for Europe is to support the competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry and reinforce its global leadership.
Along with the new technical requirements, the commission will adopt other provisions regarding drone operations. These additional rules will encompass operations ranging from ones that did not previously require permission to actions involving certified aircraft and operators, plus remote pilot training requirements.
Altogether, these regulations will replace any rules regulating UAVs currently in effect in any EU member states. Starting in 2020, drones will need to be registered with national authorities.
As drones have become more popular both for hobbyists and the military, global governments have considered regulating UAVs. In a September 2012 article, Security Management wrote about a U.S. Government Accountability Office report that called on agencies to address drone security and privacy concerns, noting that unregulated UAVs can pose a threat to civil liberties.