The Legal Issues Surrounding CUAS Civil Operations


The laws surrounding CUAS usage in the US

There are many laws concerning the usage of CUAS for civil purposes in the US. Part of the Coalitions goal is to seek exemptions, guidance and clarification on each specific law and how it effects each agency in the US government.

Communications Act of 1934

47 U.S.C Section 301 – Requires persons operating or using radio transmitters to be licensed or authorized under the Commission’s rules (47 U.S.C. § 301).
47 U.S.C. Section 302(b) – Prohibits the manufacture, importation, marketing, sale or operation of unlicensed jammers within the United States (47 U.S.C. § 302a(b)) ( Only exception is to the U.S. Government 302a(c)).
47 U.S.C. Section 333 – Prohibits willful or malicious interference with the radio communications of any station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the U.S. Government (47 U.S.C. § 333).

C-UAS Regulatory Issues


FCC Regulations

47 C.F.R. Section 2.803 – prohibits the manufacture, importation, marketing, sale or operation of these devices within the United States (47 C.F.R. § 2.803)  Section 2.807 – provides for certain limited exceptions, such as the sale to U.S. government users (47 C.F.R. § 2.807).

The United States Criminal Code

18 U.S.C. Section 1362 – prohibits willful or malicious interference to U.S. government communications; subjects the operator to possible fines, imprisonment, or both. This could be used to apply to GPS jamming. 18 U.S.C. Section 1367(a) – prohibits intentional or malicious interference to satellite communications; subjects the operator to possible fines, imprisonment, or both.This could also be used to apply to GPS jamming. 18 U.S.C.  Section 32 – Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities: “(a) Whoever willfully— (1) sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce;” . . .  “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years or both.” This applies to the lasers, shotguns, and my all time favorite, Russian spear thrower. 18 U.S.C. Section  2511 says, “ (1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter any person who— (a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication[.]” 18 U.S.C.  Section 1030 says, “(a) Whoever . . .  (2) intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains . . . (C) information from any protected computer[.]” This one applies to the hackers. 


The CUAS Coalition Does Not Support the Use of Jammers

Our coalition does not support the usage of equipment identified as jammers or the illegal application of CUAS in any circumstance. This technology is illegal and not practical in most cases for civil usage within the US. We do support on a limited basis jamming technology for our electronic warfare initiatives for the military. 


If any laws were broken while deploying the usage of CUAS and the owner or operator could be held liable and face charges, pay for damages caused by the equipment or loss of control of a drone and the damages that would incur. This should be changed to protect the property owners and prosecute reckless and illegal drone operators.