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FAA Statement on Texas Equusearch UAS Court Decision

Source – FAA:

Press Release – FAA Statement on Texas Equusearch UAS Court Decision

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2014
Contact: Kristie M. Greco
Phone: (202) 267-3883
The court’s decision in favor of the FAA regarding the Texas Equusearch matter has no bearing on the FAA’s authority to regulate UAS. The FAA remains legally responsible for the safety of the national airspace system. This authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground.
The agency approves emergency Certificates of Authorization (COAs) for natural disaster relief, search and rescue operations and other urgent circumstances, sometimes in a matter of hours. We are not aware that any government entity with an existing COA has applied for an emergency naming Texas EquuSearch as its contractor.
Background on UAS Regulation
The FAA authorizes UAS operations that are not for hobby or recreation on a case-by-case basis. While flying model aircraft for a hobby or recreation does not necessarily require FAA approval, all model aircraft operators must operate according to the law. The FAA promotes voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws.

The FAA also has a number of enforcement tools available to address unauthorized use of UAS, including warning notices, letters of correction, and civil penalties. The FAA may take enforcement action against anyone who operates a UAS in a way that endangers the safety of the national airspace system. This authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground.

On June 23, the FAA issued a notice to provide clear guidance to model aircraft/UAS operators on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying safely in accordance with the 2012 FAA Reform and Modernization Act. In the notice, the FAA restates the law’s definition of “model aircraft,” including requirements that they not interfere with manned aircraft, be flown within sight of the operator and be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. The agency also explains that model aircraft operators flying within five miles of an airport must notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower. > See News Release

A flight that is not for hobby or recreation requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval. To date, two operations have met these criteria, and authorization was limited to the Arctic. The FAA is continuing to review applications from UAS operators as they are received.
Background on the case
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the FAA’s motion to dismiss Texas Equusearch’s case against the FAA. Texas Equusearch had filed a petition for review with the Court asserting that an FAA inspector had wrongly ordered it in an email correspondence for it to cease and desist search and rescue operations using its UASs. The Court found that the FAA’s inspector’s email to Texas Equusearch was “not a formal cease-and-desist letter representing the agency’s final conclusion … sufficient to constitute final agency action” for purposes of review in the courts of appeals. The Court found that “given the absence of any identified legal consequences flowing from the challenged email, this case falls within the usual rule that this court lacks authority to review a claim where an agency merely expresses its view of what the law requires of a party, even if that view is adverse to the party.”
Texas Eqqusearch and all UAS operators need to be aware that the FAA’s safety mandate under 49 U.S.C. § 40103 requires it to regulate aircraft operations conducted in the National Airspace System (NAS) to protect persons and property on the ground and to prevent collisions between aircraft and other aircraft or objects.
A UAS is an “aircraft” as defined in the FAA’s authorizing statutes and is therefore subject to regulation by the FAA. 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(6) defines an “aircraft” as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate or fly in the air.” The FAA’s regulations (14 C.F.R. § 1.1) similarly define an “aircraft” as “a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.” Because an unmanned aircraft is a contrivance/device that is invented, used, and designed to fly in the air, it meets the definition of “aircraft.” The FAA has promulgated regulations that apply to the operation of all aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, and irrespective of the altitude at which the aircraft is operating. For example, 14 C.F.R. § 91.13 prohibits any person from operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
An important distinction for UAS operators to be aware of is whether the UAS is being operated for hobby or recreational purposes or for some other purpose. This distinction is important because there are specific requirements in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Public Law 112-95, (the Act) that pertain to “Model Aircraft” operations, which are conducted solely for hobby or recreational purposes.
Model Aircraft Operations
Section 336(c) of the law defines “Model Aircraft” as “… an unmanned aircraft that is –

(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.
Each element of this definition must be met for a UAS to be considered a Model Aircraft under the Act. Under Section 336(a) of the Act the FAA is restricted from conducting further rulemaking specific to Model Aircraft as defined in section 336(c) so long as the Model Aircraft operations are conducted in accordance with the requirement of section 336(a). Section 336(a) requires that—

(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).
Section 336(b) of the law, however, makes clear that the FAA has the authority under its existing regulations to pursue legal enforcement action against persons operating Model Aircraft in accordance with section 336(a) and 336(c) when the operations endanger the safety of the NAS. Nothing in section 336 otherwise alters or restricts the FAA’s statutory authority to pursue enforcement action against any UAS operator, even those whose operations are conducted in accordance with sections 336(a) and (c) that endanger the safety of the NAS. So, for example, a Model Aircraft operation conducted in accordance with section 336(a) and (c) may be subject to an enforcement action for violation of 14 C.F.R. § 91.13 if the operation is conducted in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
UAS Operations that are not Model Aircraft Operations
Operations of UASs that are not Model Aircraft operations as defined in section 336(c) of the law and conducted in accordance with section 336(a) of the law may only be operated with specific authorization from the FAA. The FAA currently authorizes UAS operations that are not for hobby or recreational purposes through one of two avenues: (1) the issuance of Certificates of Waiver or Authorization; and (2) the issuance of special airworthiness certificates. The FAA also has a third avenue with which to potentially authorize UAS operations through its exemption process when it determines that such operations are in the public interest.
1. Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). In accordance with 14 C.F.R. § 91.903 the FAA grants Certificates of Waiver or Authorization to applicants waiving compliance with certain regulatory requirements listed in 14 C.F.R. § 91.905. The applicants must be able to show that they are able to safely conduct operations in the national airspace system. The COA contains terms with which the applicant must comply in order to conduct operations. The FAA generally has restricted the issuance of these certificates to government entities that operate UASs as it is implements the provisions in its “Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System Roadmap.” The entire Roadmap is available on our website. The FAA also issues COAs on an emergency basis when: 1) a situation exists in which there is distress or urgency and there is an extreme possibility of a loss of life; 2) the proponent has determined that manned flight operations cannot be conducted efficiently; and 3) the proposed UAS is operating under a current approved COA for a different purpose or location. The FAA is also using the COA process to expand the use of civil UASs in the arctic region as required under section 332 of the law.
2. Airworthiness Certification. For civil operators, you can apply for a special airworthiness certificate under 14 C.F.R. Part 21. See FAA Order 8130.34B–Airworthiness Certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Optionally Piloted Aircraft. The full civil type certification process allows for production and commercial operation of UAS and is a lengthy process typically undertaken by aircraft manufacturers. UASs holding an airworthiness certificate will still need a COA in order to operate in the NAS.
3. Issuance of Exemptions. In accordance with 14 C.F.R. §§ 11.15 and 11.61-11.103 and the FAA’s authority in 49 U.S.C. § 44701(f), the FAA may grant exemptions from regulatory requirements. The exemption process allows for the submission of a petition to the FAA outlining why the granting of an exemption would be in the public interest, the need for the exemption, and the reasons why granting the petition would not adversely affect safety or would provide a level of safety equal to the rules from which the exemption is sought. The FAA has indicated its willingness to review petitions for exemption by civil UAS operators that want to operate for other than hobby or recreational purposes. Under section 333 of the Act, operators in appropriate circumstances can be exempted from airworthiness certification and other related regulatory provisions.
Finally, UAS operators must understand that all UAS operations that are not operated as Model Aircraft under section 336 of the Act are subject to current and future FAA regulation. At a minimum, any such flights are currently required under the FAA’s regulations to be operated with a certificated aircraft, with a certificated pilot, and with specific FAA authorization.
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S. 2659: A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to require the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to establish a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their services, and for other purposes

S. 2659: A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to require the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to establish a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their services, and for other purposes was introduced on July 24, 2014 by Sen. Christopher Murphy.

S.Res. 520: A resolution condemning the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and expressing condolences to the families of the victims

S.Res. 520: A resolution condemning the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and expressing condolences to the families of the victims was introduced on June 24, 2014 by Sen. Christopher Murphy:

S.RES.520 — Condemning the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and expressing condolences to the families of the victims. (Introduced in Senate – IS)

SRES 520 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session

S. RES. 520
Condemning the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and expressing condolences to the families of the victims.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 24, 2014

Mr. MURPHY (for himself and Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

RESOLUTION
Condemning the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and expressing condolences to the families of the victims.

Whereas, on July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 tragically crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew, including 80 children;

Whereas President Barack Obama has offered President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko all possible assistance to determine the cause of the crash, including the services of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board;

Whereas intelligence analysis shows that the plane was shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists;

Whereas separatists have shot down 10 additional aircraft and took credit for shooting down another aircraft at approximately the same time as Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine;

Whereas separatists blocked international experts from accessing the crash site in the first 72 hours, preventing the proper care of the victims’ bodies and allowing evidence from the crash to be removed and mishandled;

Whereas weapons and fighters have continued to flow across the border from the Russian Federation to eastern Ukraine, and there is evidence that the Government of the Russian Federation has been providing training to separatists fighters, including training on air defense systems;

Whereas this tragic incident has demonstrated that European and other foreign citizens are at risk from dangerous instability in Ukraine;

Whereas, on July 21, 2014, the United Nations Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and demanded that those responsible be held to account and that all states fully cooperate with efforts to establish accountability;

Whereas British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted, `Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets, European capital and European knowledge and technical expertise while she fuels conflict in one of Europe’s neighbors.’; and

Whereas the United States Government has continued to implement sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals responsible for destabilizing Ukraine and failing to end the violence: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) condemns the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Eastern Ukraine that resulted in the deaths of all 298 passengers and crew;
(2) expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and the people of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada, and New Zealand;
(3) supports the ongoing international investigation into the attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, including unobstructed access to the crash site;
(4) calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately stop the flow of weapons and fighters across the border with Ukraine, allow an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission on the border, and fully cooperate with the international investigation currently underway; and
(5) urges the European Union to join the United States Government in holding the Government of the Russian Federation accountable for its destabilizing actions in Ukraine through the use of increased sanctions.

FAA Statement–Notice to Airmen Issued for Ben Gurion International Airport

Source – FAA:

Press Release – FAA Statement–Notice to Airmen Issued for Ben Gurion International Airport

For Immediate Release
July 22, 2014
Contact: Kristie M. Greco
Phone: (202) 267-3883
At 12:15 EDT on July 22, 2014, the FAA issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) informing U.S. airlines that they are prohibited from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for a period of up to 24 hours. The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014. The NOTAM applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
The FAA immediately notified U.S. carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalizing a NOTAM.
The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines as soon as conditions permit, but no later than 24 hours from the time the NOTAM went into force.
The text of the NOTAM reads:
!FDC 4/3630 ZZZ PART 1 OF 2 SECURITY ISRAEL POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION—ISRAEL AIRSPACE DUE TO THE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE ARMED CONFLICT IN ISRAEL AND GAZA, ALL FLIGHT OPERATIONS TO/FROM BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LLBG) BY U.S. OPERATORS ARE PROHIBITED UNTIL FURTHER ADVISED. A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS OR COMMERCIAL OPERATORS, ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA EXCEPT SUCH PERSONS OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER, AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES EXCEPT WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER. B. PERMITTED OPERATIONS. THIS NOTAM DOES NOT PROHIBIT PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF ISRAEL WHEN SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA OR BY AN EXEMPTION ISSUED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR. 1407221615-1407231615EST END PART 1 OF 2
!FDC 4/3630 ZZZ PART 2 OF 2 SECURITY OPERATORS SHOULD CALL THE DOMESTIC EVENTS NETWORK (DEN) AT 202-493-5107 FOR AUTHORIZATION. C. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND OF AN AIRCRAFT MAY DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY. THIS NOTAM WILL BE UPDATED WITHIN 24 HOURS, OPERATORS SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR U.S. NOTAMS FOR CHANGES OR UPDATES. 1407221615-1407231615EST END PART 2 OF 2
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FAA Statement on Malaysian Air Flight 17

Source – FAA:

Press Release – FAA Statement on Malaysian Air Flight 17
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For Immediate Release
July 17, 2014
Contact: Kristie M. Greco
Phone: (202) 267-3883
The FAA was in contact with US carriers following the crash of Malaysian Air Flight 17. The agency confirms that carriers have voluntarily agreed not to operate in the airspace near the Russian-Ukraine border. The FAA is monitoring the situation to determine whether further guidance is necessary.
Background
On April 3, the FAA issued a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) prohibiting U.S. flight operations until further notice in the airspace over the Crimean region of Ukraine, and portions adjacent to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
The NOTAM does not currently cover the airspace where Malaysian Air flight 17 crashed.
This action was taken due to the unilateral and illegal action by Russia to assert control over Crimean airspace, including international airspace administered by Ukraine without agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This creates the potential for conflicting air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and for the related potential misidentification of civil aircraft in this airspace. This prompted the FAA NOTAM for U.S. flights.
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State Department: Crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine

Source – U.S. State Department:

Crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 17, 2014
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We are horrified by the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. There are no words adequate to express our condolences to the families of the nearly 300 victims. We offer our sympathies and support to the Governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands at this difficult time, as well as to all those whose citizens may have been on board. We are reviewing whether any American citizens were aboard the flight. The United States Government remains prepared to assist with a credible, international investigation any way we can, and we will continue to be in touch with all relevant partners as we seek the facts of what happened today.

H.R. 5119: To authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize C-130 aircraft using alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits and to ensure that such aircraft meet applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration

H.R. 5119: To authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize C-130 aircraft using alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits and to ensure that such aircraft meet applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration was introduced on July 16, 2014 by Rep. John Carney:

H.R.5119 — To authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize C-130 aircraft using alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits and to ensure… (Introduced in House – IH)

HR 5119 IH

113th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. R. 5119
To authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize C-130 aircraft using alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits and to ensure that such aircraft meet applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 16, 2014

Mr. CARNEY (for himself and Mrs. LUMMIS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

A BILL
To authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize C-130 aircraft using alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits and to ensure that such aircraft meet applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. C-130 FLEET MODERNIZATION.

(a) In General- For purposes of modernizing the C-130 fleet, the Secretary of the Air Force may install alternative communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management program kits in lieu of C-130 avionics modernization program kits if the Secretary determines, on a case-by-case basis, that such alternative program is appropriate and notifies the congressional defense committees (as defined in section 101(a)(16) of title 10, United States Code) of such determination.
(b) Compatibility With FAA Regulations- The Secretary shall ensure that all C-130 aircraft are capable of meeting applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration by January 1, 2020.

S. 2614: A bill to amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012

S. 2614: A bill to amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was introduced on July 16, 2014 by Sen. James “Jim” Inhofe:

S.2614 — To amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. (Introduced in Senate – IS)

S 2614 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session

S. 2614
To amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 16, 2014

Mr. INHOFE (for himself and Mr. BROWN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance

A BILL
To amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. ROLLOVER OF AMOUNTS RECEIVED IN AIRLINE CARRIER BANKRUPTCY.

(a) Extension of Time To File Claim for Refund- Section 1106(a)(3) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (26 U.S.C. 408 note) is amended by striking `2013′ and inserting `2015′.
(b) Definitions and Special Rules- Section 1106(c) of such Act is amended–
(1) in paragraph (1)(A)(i), by inserting `or filed on November 29, 2011,’ after `2007,’; and
(2) in paragraph (2)(B)–
(A) by striking `terminated or’ and inserting `terminated,’; and
(B) by inserting `, or was frozen effective November 1, 2012′ after `Pension Protection Act of 2006′.

ITU to assist in real-time monitoring of flight data

Source – ITU:

ITU to assist in real-time monitoring of flight data
ITU Membership calls for development of standards for aviation cloud
Geneva, 25 June 2014 – ITU has established a new Focus Group on Aviation Applications of Cloud Computing for Flight Data Monitoring. The group will study the requirements for the telecommunication standards to enable an ‘aviation cloud’ for real-time monitoring of flight data, including those for the protection, security and ownership of flight data and the technical mechanisms and policies to govern access to these data.
The formation of the Focus Group comes in response to the call from the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia, Mr Ahmad Shabery Cheek in March 2014 urging ITU to develop leading edge standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real-time. Subsequently, an “Expert Dialogue on Real-time Monitoring of Flight Data, including the Black Box – the Need for International Standards in the Age of Cloud Computing and Big Data”, held in Kuala Lumpur, 26-27 May 2014 with the participation of airlines, aviation bodies, avionics and ICT companies, service providers, civil aviation authorities, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international organizations, issued a communiqué outlining a roadmap for the way forward.
Participation in the Focus Group will be open to all interests, including non-members of ITU, and it will work in close collaboration with ICAO, ICT solution providers, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and other standardization expert groups.
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said that the call from Minister Shabery for an international effort to find solutions to monitor flight data in real time has been given top priority by ITU and its Membership.
“ITU has a long history of developing international telecommunication and ICT standards, policies and regulations and is offering to bring this competence to assist aviation,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “I applaud our membership for the urgency with which it is addressing this issue by responding so quickly to Malaysia’s call for ITU action.”
The new Focus Group will study advances in cloud computing and data analytics to develop use cases for the application of state-of-the-art data analytics and data mining techniques in real-time. It will develop technical reports to provide the foundation for standards-based aviation clouds. In close collaboration with ICAO, the envisioned reports will address questions surrounding the type of data to be transmitted and the periodicity and reliability of its transmission, as well as the mechanisms to enable data security and privacy and the prevention of data misuse. The reports will be the basis for the development of telecommunications standards providing security and providing interoperable and secure aviation cloud systems.
Note to the editor: ITU-T Focus Groups are formed in response to immediate ICT standardization demands, charged with laying the foundation for subsequent standardization work in membership-driven ITU-T Study Groups. Focus Groups are open to organizations outside ITU’s membership and they are afforded greater flexibility in their chosen deliverables and working methods.