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Congress grants feds power to shoot down consumer drones

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A new law expected to be signed today will grant Federal authorities permission to shoot down consumer drones deemed to be threats.

The FAA Reauthorization Act passed the Senate on Wednesday, having already passed through Congress back in April. The act now awaits President Trump’s signature to come into law, which is expected to occur today (Friday).

The move has been met with vehement opposition from civil liberties groups such as the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who believe that this is an example of government overreach with insufficient safeguards to protect law-abiding drone owners.

What does the bill include?

The act allocates federal funding for the agency through to 2023, modernizes multiple outdated aviation laws for commercial planes and lays out provisions guiding how authorities deal with consumer drones.  The wording of the section concerning drone seizures states that authorities have powers to “disrupt,” “exercise control”,“seize or otherwise confiscate” drones determined to be “credible threats.” Under current law, authorities need to obtain a warrant before taking down drones. This new bill would not require authorities to get a warrant before taking out a drone, which civil liberty groups say could be a breach of US citizens’ rights.

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