Now that the US Senate has passed a provision in the Re-authorization Act for the Federal Aviation Authority, it is one step closer to becoming a bill. The provision allows government authorities to shoot down privately owned drones that they deem a threat down from the sky.
Under the bill’s Division H for “Preventing Emerging Threats,” it states that personnel “with assigned duties that include the security or protection of people, facilities or assets” can disrupt control, disable, intercept, interfere with, seize and exercise control of the drone. Lastly, they can “damage, or destroy the unmanned aircraft system or unmanned aircraft” if need be.
The potential broad-strokes application of the provision is the main point of controversy — especially among people involved in the journalism and film industries, as well as activist organizations who use drones to gather video recordings. The provision is also not limited to military or police personnel, meaning authorities from any government department can take down a drone. The provision now awaits presidential approval to officially become a law.
The FAA did not immediately reply for a request to comment.