By: Nick Gambino
Reportedly (or allegedly?) there’s a new bill from the Trump administration making its rounds among Congressional staff that would allow the government to hack, disable or destroy any drone flying in the U.S., personally owned or not.
This legislative draft, obtained by The New York Times, would give complete right to the government and minimal right to the owner. The wording would allow now only the tracking and potential destruction of the aircraft but also the identification and tracking of its payload. That means any images or other personal info onboard can be looked at without prior consent. They can’t even look at your phone without a warrant.
Like most legal documents, it’s full of run-on sentences. It’s as if legislation and basic grammar are forbidden to be taught at the same time. It would allow the government to “Detect, identify, monitor, or track, without prior consent, an unmanned aircraft system, unmanned aircraft, or unmanned aircraft’s attached system, payload, or cargo, to evaluate whether it poses a threat to the safety or security…”
This sentence drones on for another four lines. (See what I did there?) It continues into further paragraphs that would allow for the seizure or destruction of the aircraft or its cargo.
You know, it’s funny that Trump ran on a platform of conspiracy theories, even having shown his admiration for roided-out Muppet Alex Jones and now he’s making moves that anyone with even a passing interest in government conspiracies would raise their eyebrow at.
While I don’t disagree with actions being taking to ensure we’re protected, I also haven’t heard of commercial or personally owned drones being on the top of the Things Needing Immediate Attention list. Plus, it’s a slippery slope.
The government is made up of humans, flawed humans at that. Giving any group of people absolute power is a mistake. This kind of legislation assumes, arrogantly so, that the government is always going to act in the best interest of the public. Remove absolute language and add some checks and balances and then maybe I can get behind this.
For now, I can’t in good conscience see how this thing makes sense other than to just give more control to a governing body for the sake of it.
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.