The proposed legislation is co-sponsored by Democratic senators Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota and Doug Jones of Alabama, while four other Republican senators have signed on to support the bill.


Drone attacks haven’t yet posed a terrorist threat to the United States, but Republican Committee Chairman Ron Johnson noted during yesterday’s hearing that “suspicious” drone flights have increased in recent years. There were reportedly just eight incidents drone flights considered “suspicious” or in sensitive areas during 2013. That number skyrocketed to roughly 1,752 incidents in 2016.

But not everyone is happy with the proposed legislation. The ACLU submitted a letter to the subcommittee alleging that the new drone bill, titled the “Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018,” would give the government too much power.


“While the potential security threat posed by drones is real and the need to protect certain facilities is legitimate, strong checks and balances to protect property, privacy, and First Amendment rights are vital. S.2836 lacks such measures,” the ACLU letter says. “The bill amounts to an enormous unchecked grant of authority to the government to forcefully remove drones from the sky in nebulous security circumstances.”

The ACLU claims that the new law would allow the government to seize or destroy drones, “including in cases they are operated by a non-malicious actor like a hobbyist, commercial entity, or journalist.”


The rights organization claims that the language of the bill is too broad and doesn’t allow for proper oversight.

[YouTube and Roll Call]