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Turns out, you’re going to have to register your small drones with the U.S. government after all

A bill to be signed by the president restores the FAA’s requirement.

President Trump examines a quadcopter drone as Kespry CEO and Chairman George Matthew explains how it works. Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty

Owners of small drones are going to have to resume registering their craft with the U.S. government

A bill to be signed into law by President Donald Trump later today restores the registration rules that were put into place in 2015 by the Federal Aviation Administration — but later tossed by a federal judge.

Specifically, the FAA’s rules — crafted with the support of the drone industry, including companies like Amazon and Google — required owners of small drones to attach an ID number to their unmanned craft. That would be linked to their personal information, like their names and addresses, which they would provide to the U.S. government.

Announced in time for the 2015 holiday season, the FAA believed the system would help promote drone safety while aiding law enforcement.

“Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly,” said the FAA’s leader, Michael Huerta, at the time the rules were adopted in 2015.

More than 800,000 people soon registered their drones, until a federal court determined this May that the FAA didn’t actually have the authority to proffer the rules in the first place. As a result, members of Congress intervened. And lawmakers’ just-passed bill authorizing broad swaths of the Department of Defense — headed imminently to Trump’s desk — simply restores the agency’s old registration requirement just in time for the 2017 holiday shopping rush.

Organizations like the Small UAV Coalition — which includes the likes of Precision Hawk, Amazon and Google — said they’re fine with lawmakers’ decision.

“The Small UAV Coalition again thanks Congress for restoring Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authority to maintain a national UAS registry for both commercial and recreational operators, a critical mechanism for safety and accountability,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

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