On Tuesday, the celebrity and entertainment news website TMZ denied reports that it had obtained permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a drone within the United States.
TMZ insisted it had no plans of getting into the “drone business” and did not own any unmanned aerial vehicles “despite a bogus report to the contrary.”
“TMZ does not have FAA authorization to fly an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), and we have no record that TMZ ever requested or inquired about an authorization,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told Politico. “The FAA does not currently allow commercial UAS operations in the nation’s airspace, although UAS manufacturers may apply for an experimental certificate for research and development, flight and sales demonstrations, and crew training.”
Earlier this year, Congress pushed the FAA to allow for civilian agencies to operate drones in U.S. airspace. Currently, only government agencies are allowed to operate drones within the U.S., and only in very limited circumstances.
Critics warned that the move would allow paparazzi and tabloids to operate drones with high-powered cameras to snoop on celebrities.
The FAA has not yet allowed for the commercial use of drones. The agency has until 2015 to implement new regulations for domestic drone flights.