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Trump admin wants new powers to intercept drone communications – cite public safety as justification

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A fear that consumer drones may used in attacks against Americans is reportedly driving the Trump administration to seek extra powers to intercept UAV communications.

The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration had requested for Congress to pass new bills empowering the Homeland Security and Justice departments to track, reroute or destroy drones.

Administration officials claim that the new law would only come into play in a narrowly defined set of circumstances.

A document accompanying the new proposed policy states: “Overseas, ISIS, other terrorist groups, and criminal organizations use commercially available [unmanned aircraft systems] to drop explosive payloads, deliver harmful substances, and conduct reconnaissance.”

“Law enforcement and homeland security professionals are gravely concerned that terrorists and criminals will use the nefarious tactics engineered overseas in the homeland.””

Under what conditions would federal authorities wish to take down drones?

The main times during which these new counter-drone powers would apply would be in cases where authorities believed an imminent threat to the safety of the public involved the use of a drone. The full set of circumstances where this proposal would apply is laid out in more detail here.

The new powers would permit authorities to interrupt electronic communications controlling dangerous drones.

Critics of the legislation claim these powers could also be used by the government to access video feeds or politically sensitive information collected by the drones.

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