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Government authorities may soon have right to shoot down privately owned drones – CNET

James Martin/CNET

Now that the US Senate passed a provision in the Re-authorization Act for the Federal Aviation Authority, it is now one step closer to becoming a bill. The provision allows government authorities to shoot down privately owned drones from the sky that they deem as a threat.

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, 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 departments 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.