TMZ Denies It Wants to Use Drones

The celebrity gossip website says it doesn't want to get into the drone business.

The remote-controlled drone aircraft, Proteus, left, is escorted by an F/A-18 Hornet, right, during a low-level flyby test at the airport in Mojave, Calif., April 3, 2003.
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Celebrity gossip website TMZ denied rumors Tuesday that it had applied with the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to fly a drone.

Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that TMZ was seeking permission for a drone, and that "paparazzi are already using small drones on the Riviera to shoot photos of celebrities in otherwise hard-to-access areas."

In an announcement on its website, TMZ wrote that it is "NOT getting in the DRONE business … we don't have a drone … we don't want a drone … we never applied for a drone." An FAA spokesperson confirmed that TMZ does not have permission to fly a drone and that it has "no record that TMZ ever requested or inquired about an authorization."

Experts have estimated that as many as 30,000 drones could be operating in the United States over the next few years as the FAA works to set guidelines for their use, a process that has been hamstrung with technological, safety, and privacy concerns.

So far, it has given a handful of licenses to universities and law enforcement agencies.

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Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at jkoebler@usnews.com.