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Government to force all drone owners to register, details expected Monday

The government has apparently taken note of recent news that suggests around a million new consumer drones will be unwrapped in the U.S. this Christmas. According to a report from NBC News, the Department of Transportation (DoT) is about to announce plans that’ll require new drone owners to register their flying machines with the authorities.

The DoT is expected to reveal details of the registration system as early as Monday, and the process should be up and running by the holiday season, sources told NBC News.

It’s not known how much information hobbyist drone pilots will have to submit, or whether those who already have drones will be required to register details, too.

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The expected move by the DoT comes amid continued reports of remotely controlled copters coming perilously close to passenger planes taking off and landing at a number of U.S. airports. The FAA said recently it’s now receiving news of around 100 such incidents a month, up from about 20 a month last year.

Drone owners in California have also caused problems for the authorities recently, with some operators accused of occupying airspace and disrupting first responders as they tackled devastating wildfires in the state.

Related: FAA proposes record $1.9 million fine against drone company for “unauthorized” flights

But will forcing drone owners to hand over personal details when they purchase their machines go any way to reducing incidents like these? The government will be hoping a database of drone owners will help persuade the irresponsible few to think twice about disobeying existing rules, while for law enforcement it should, in theory, offer a quick way of identifying drone owners in incidents where it’s not immediately clear who the machine belongs to.

It sounds like a huge amount of work for the DoT if it really wants to launch the system before Christmas, so we’re keen to hear on Monday exactly how it plans to go about it. We’ll keep you posted.