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News & Notes

Trump Administration Aims to Track and Destroy Drones

Counter-drone technologies stand to benefit

May 25, 2017

The Trump administration has created a new draft bill to clear the way for counter-drone initiatives and technologies.

Obtained by the New York Times, the draft outlines the potential for the federal government to monitor, track, seize, and destroy drones perceived to be threatening public safety and security.

The draft bill would enable individuals designated by the head of a federal department or agency to interfere with the operation of drones “to evaluate whether [the drone] poses a threat to the safety or security” of covered facilities or operations. This would include medical evacuations, prisons, wildland firefighting, or law enforcement operations.

If the draft bill gains traction, counter-drone technology companies like Droneshield and Dedrone stand to benefit immensely. But, as the proposed legislation explains, counter-drone measures currently face a myriad of legal hurdles.

“Some of the most promising technical countermeasures for detecting and mitigating UAS may be construed as illegal under certain laws that were passed when UAS were unforeseen,” the summary of legislation reads. Current statutes preventing counter-drone measures govern electronic communications, access to protected computers, and interference with civil aircraft. The draft bill is written to circumvent these statutes.

This is the first drone-specific initiative to come out of the Trump White House, which sets a dark tone for how the administration views drone technologies. The Trump administration is not following in the footsteps of the Obama-era White House, which embraced the potential for drone technology with open arms. The new draft bill focuses on the threat that drones pose to public safety and infrastructure, instead of the positive potential of drones.
Featured image: Dedrone