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FAA Finalizes Policy On Blocking Aircraft Tracking

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The FAA this week published its "final policy" regarding the procedures for aircraft owners and operators to ask the FAA to limit the dissemination of their Aircraft Situation Display to Industry data. This data can be used to show an aircraft's track in real time on websites such as FlightAware. NBAA had raised objections to the practice of releasing the data, citing concerns over security and competition. The FAA and the industry went back and forth over how the data could be treated -- at one point, the FAA said owners must document a "legitimate security concern" to justify the data-blocking -- but the final policy simplifies the process for operators, confirming that a written request asking for the data to be blocked will be sufficient.

The FAA notice spells out the exact information that must be included in the request, such as the aircraft registration number and the requestor's contact information. Dan Hubbard, NBAA spokesman, told AVweb this week's policy responds to legislation passed in Congress nearly two years ago. "NBAA has long maintained there are real concerns involved in such tracking, with regard to corporate competitiveness, personal security and privacy -- none of which should have to be surrendered just because someone boards his or her own airplane," Hubbard said. The association is "satisfied" with the FAA's final policy, he added. NBAA also had asked the FAA to allow the association to collect the opt-out requests and submit them en masse to the FAA, but the FAA declined that request.

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