By Alexandra Dolce • August 30, 2020•Writers in Residence
In space and aviation a drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) is spacecraft or aircraft that has no pilot. Drones are primarily used in the military. Drones are advantageous for military use because pilots are not exposed to combat zones and drones don’t become exhausted. They fly as long as they have fuel and are mechanically sound. Space bound drones, alternatively are used as cargo space crafts and satellites. (www.space.com)
The drone market is booming! In 2018 the drone market was valued at approximately 20 billion dollars. Consumers are using drones for a variety of things-photography, recreation, surveillance and even distributing fertilizer for crops. (www.space.com)
Sounds great right? On the one hand it is, but on the other hand there are major privacy concerns when it comes to drones. Imagine sitting in your backyard sunbathing and a small plane is flying over your property and taking pictures of you, your space and maybe your family. Gender and ethnicity are key players in the fear of breach of privacy as well. When surveyed, women and ethnic minorities fear of being videotaped without their consent was primary, followed by safety in their neighborhood. The U.S. Supreme Court has also decided cases on police drone activity, ruling that there is no Fourth Amendment right when it comes to drone surveillance because ANYONE may have the “ability to observe what is viewed from the air.” (https://epic.org/privacy/drones/)
In the realm of space, drones are an exceptional tool for flying long distances and for gathering data in areas where humans are currently incapable of or not prepared to travel because of distance and atmospheric complications. Drones can also help with disaster response, mining of space metals, minerals and chemicals and aid in the general functionality of the International Space Station.
What’s needed now legislation and litigation; legislation to regulate the use of drones in air space and to regulate individual privacy rights; and litigation to expand and or contract those rights. It’s an exciting time folks. Don’t miss the journey.