Starting this week, owners of unregistered drones could face fines up to $250,000 and a possibility of up to three years in prison.

It has been estimated that there could be hundreds of thousands of drone owners who have still not registered their devices.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement that, “Simply put, registration is all about safety. It provides us with a key opportunity to educate the new generation of airspace users that as soon as they start flying outside, they’re pilots.”

“The speed with which we were able to roll this out is a testament to the invaluable input we received from the diverse task force of stakeholders we brought together to work on this issue. It’s proof that when government and industry partner, we can innovate, cut through red tape, and use technology to tackle emerging risks,” he added.

However, drone owners have some legitimate concerns about their privacy and the potential of government overreach.

The privacy concerns surrounding drone registration has grown with the FAA’s admission that the registration information would be available to anyone with an internet connection. This means that addresses and other sensitive personal information of drone owners would be publicly listed, creating an obvious safety hazard. The FAA says that the names and addresses would not be searchable, however, if you have the number to someone’s drone, you can easily pull up their address and other personal information.

The registration move was just the beginning of a slippery slope that will quickly bring far-reaching, local, state and federal restrictions on drone operators.

Also, as with everything the government does, drone registration costs money, and even though the fee is just $5, it is a matter of principle for many people. The registration fee is valid for three years.

In some states, lawmakers are even proposing that drone owners be forced to get insurance for their devices.

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