Begich Applauds FAA Decision to Protect Pilot Privacy
BARR program back in operation
In a victory for privacy advocates, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that effective immediately private pilots can protect data about their aircraft’s movements from being publicly released. The decision to restore the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program comes after U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and others in Congress urged the FAA to keep the program intact after the FAA attempted to dismantle the BARR program last summer.
“I am very pleased to see the FAA take swift action to comply with the Congressional directive to restore the BARR program. We recognized this as an unnecessary invasion of privacy and have been working to make sure the BARR program stays intact,” Begich said. “Americans are not entitled to any less privacy because they are flying an airplane.”
In an effort to protect the privacy of general aviation users across the country, Begich and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) led 24 other Senators in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in June opposing a proposal by the FAA to eliminate the BARR privacy protections for general aviation aircraft and pilots.
The BARR program allows pilots and passengers on aircraft operating under instrument flight rules to protect their privacy by opting not to make their real-time flight tracking information publicly available. Electing to keep flight information private prohibits third-party websites from disseminating real-time flight tracking information over the internet.
Begich, co-founder of the bipartisan Senate General Aviation Caucus, with Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.), was praised by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) for his work on the effort.
"On behalf of our AOPA members, we thank those in Congress and the administration who recognize the importance of assuring a measure of privacy protection to individuals operating their own aircraft," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "We are pleased to have the BARR program back in operation and we appreciate Senator Begich's leadership on this issue."
The senators’ June letter about BARR is attached and available for download here.