Utah law would let police shoot down drones

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah lawmakers' proposed solution to getting recreational drones out of the way of emergency response units.

See Full Article

Shoot them out of the sky.

Legislators throughout the U.S. are working to figure out the best way to regulate drones as they become increasingly prevalent, particularly when it comes to interfering with emergency response work. Other states have proposed shooting down drones, but it hasn't become law, according to the National Center for State Legislatures.

Law enforcement already has some tools to control airspace.

In cases such as wildfires, law enforcement can ask the Federal Aviation Administration to restrict air travel. That could apply to planes and unmanned aircraft, more popularly known as drones.

Drones keep coming, though.

The flying devices interfered with aircraft fighting during more than a dozen wildfires last year, according to the U.S. Forest Service. In 2014, they interfered during just a handful of fires.

Two Utah lawmakers proposing similar bills aim to change that.

State Sen. Wayne Harper, a Republican from Taylorsville, proposed a bill that would allow law enforcement to "neutralize" drones, which could include shooting them, jamming their signals or convincing their operators to move them.

Harper's proposal was debated Thursday by a legislative technology committee, but he postponed a vote following questions from the public. Included on that list: How could law enforcement tell the difference between a recreational drone and a commercial drone when it's hundreds of feet in the air?

Whether Harper's bill will gain traction remains to be seen. Sen. Alvin Jackson, who chairs the technology committee, said most of Harper's proposal is already covered by state or federal law.

The sponsor of the other Utah bill, Rep. David Lifferth, a Republican from Eagle Mountain, said he came up with the idea after hearing of numerous incidents in which law enforcement had to stop fighting fires because drones flew too close. His bill hasn't been debated yet.

"I want to encourage this new and emerging technology," Lifferth said. "But if you get in the way of some acute activity you run the risk of losing it."

Lifferth said shooting down a drone is the least desirable option for getting rid of an aircraft, as it could be dangerous.

Utah Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Marissa Villasenor said public safety responders have been able to track down drone operators when their machines have gotten in the way. She couldn't provide an example of an incident in which law enforcement needed to shoot one down.

Abby Speicher of DARTdrones Flight Academy, a school that teaches individuals in Utah and across the country about drones, said shooting down these aircrafts could be appropriate in certain dangerous situations

But, she said, it's an extreme option.

"They should find the pilot first and ask him not to do that," Steicher said.

The National Center for State Legislatures doesn't have records of any state that allows agencies to shoot down drones.

A few have tried, though.

Last year, the governor of California vetoed a bill that would have protected emergency personnel from certain repercussions should they damage a drone interfering with their work.

Oklahoma considered a proposal last year that would have allowed property owners to shoot down drones that fly over their property, but it also failed.

A tiny Colorado town let the public vote in 2014 on whether to issue hunting licenses to shoot at drones. It failed nearly 3-to-1.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Private data leaked online by Cloudflare bug

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Internet users Friday were being urged to change all their passwords in the wake of a Cloudflare bug that could have leaked passwords, messages and more from website visits. A Cloudflare service used by millions of websites to enhance security and performance said that it had fixed the flaw quickly after being alerted a week ago by Google researcher Tavis Ormandy. Source
  • BlackBerry KEYone coming in April

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — If you're a fan of the BlackBerry's classic physical keyboard, you will have reason to celebrate when the last product designed in part by the former smartphone leader becomes available in April. The Waterloo, Ont. Source
  • Thorny skate will not be added to endangered species list

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PORTLAND, Maine - The federal government says the thorny skate will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups argued that the thorny skate's decline in the northwest Atlantic Ocean was considerable enough to afford it protections set aside for endangered animals. Source
  • 'Go to sleep. The stream can wait'; Gamer who died during 24-hour marathon 'was in rough shape'

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia man who died while during a 24-hour gaming marathon appeared to be in "rough shape" before leaving for a smoke break he never returned from, a friend said. Brian Vigneault, 35, had spent about 22 hours playing the online war game World of Tanks on the streaming platform Twitch.tv. Source
  • Horizon Zero Dawn review: PS4 exclusive a perfect gaming experience

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    In Horizon Zero Dawn, there are robot animals to fight, bloodthirsty bandits to eliminate and millennium-spanning mysteries to uncover. Yet, every time I turned a corner in this lushly detailed video game world, I was sucked into some incredible new spectacle. Source
  • Finding life on 7 exoplanets will be a challenge: Bob McDonald

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The possibility of finding life on other worlds got a huge boost this week with the announcement that seven Earth-sized planets have been found around a nearby star, three of which lie within the so-called habitable zone where water, and therefore life, could exist on their surfaces. Source
  • Google rolls out artificial intelligence tool for media companies to combat online trolls

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Google said it will begin offering media groups an artificial intelligence tool designed to stamp out incendiary comments on their websites. The programming tool, called Perspective, aims to assist editors trying to moderate discussions by filtering out abusive "troll" comments, which Google says can stymie smart online discussions. Source
  • Survey finds two High Arctic polar bear populations stable

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Polar bears in two High Arctic populations seem to be doing better than scientists had thought. The first major study of the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin populations in about 20 years has found more bears than population models predicted. Source
  • N.S. launches probe after massive winter storm damages fish farm, frees salmon

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SHELBURNE, N.S. -- Nova Scotia fisheries officials are investigating after a winter storm damaged an aquaculture pen in Shelburne Harbour, apparently releasing some salmon. Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell says the fish farm is owned by New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture, which reported the damage last Wednesday after a massive storm. Source
  • Radiation may prove more potent than pesticide against pepper pest

    Tech & Science CBC News
    You may not have heard of the pepper weevil, but it's said to have cost Ontario farmers $83 million in crop damage in 2016. Now, scientists hope a blast of cobalt gamma radiation will prove more potent – and less problematic – than pesticides in controlling the creature. Source