Drone Takedown Authority Would Be Granted Under Senate ProposalBy
Security and law enforcement agencies would be given new authority to monitor and take down threatening drones under bipartisan legislation proposed by a group of U.S. Senators.
A bill introduced Tuesday by top members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee would also direct the Department of Homeland Security to study drone technology and the emerging threats it creates.
“The threats posed by malicious unmanned aircraft are too great to ignore,” Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the committee, said in a press release. “It is not enough to just tell drone operators not to fly in certain high-risk areas. We must give federal law enforcement the authority to act if necessary.”
While technology exists to monitor most small commercial drones and to disable or redirect their flight paths, law often prohibits the use of these techniques. The bill, known as the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018, would give DHS and the Justice Department the authority to monitor and track drones without consent of the operator. It also would allow the agencies to “seize or exercise control” of the devices, if necessary.
The bill was also sponsored by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, and Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat. The legislation is similar to a proposal supported by the White House.