26 June 2014, 14:38

Drafting regulations to control drone traffic is essential

Drafting regulations to control drone traffic is essential
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The US’ drone warfare overseas and a large number of civilian casualties resulting from it have almost overshadowed peaceful application of this technology. Initially, the drones are not only about destroying targets and killing people.

Fighting forest fires, doing aerial filming and photography, inspecting large towers and any areas that pose hazard for the people - these are only few areas where the use of drones makes a lot of sense both money- and safety- wise.

Edward Kinanewho works with Upstate Drone Action to expose and indict US Reaper drone attacks, points at great potential of commercial use of drones.

“They are cheaper than any other aircraft. They don’t require a crew on board which is reduces personnel cost. They can fly into areas conventional aircraft can’t fly into and take risks that conventional aircraft can’t take, because no one’s being killed on board. They are very versatile kind of technology granted. And they have extraordinary surveillance capabilities,” Edward Kinane said.

However, these excellent surveillance capabilities can also easily be used to invade privacy. Edward Kinane says that as an activist he is particularly concerned with the use of UAVs for intimidating protesters. Equipped with face recognition devices these vehicles will be able to recognize protesters. It is pretty intimidating to know that the authorities are watching you as you are in the streets protesting for your rights. Drones DO have great potential for spying, says Medea Benjamin, the author of the book “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”.

“There are huge drones like the Global Hawk, that could be up in the air, that you wouldn't even see, and they were watching an entire city. I think our society in the U.S. has already started to feel from the Edward Snowden revelations from the NSA that we're an over-surveilled society. If we let drones become commonplace in U.S. airspace, we will change the nature of public life in the United States,” Medea Benjamin said.

But it is up to us – people and their governments to decide how to use this technology. There are a lot of possible uses for drones and we've got to be able to separate out the good uses and the bad uses, Medea Benjamin concludes. We should also take into account all possible risks related to the use of drones in our everyday life. Drafting regulations to control UAVs traffic and use could help reduce such risks. That is the task for the near future.

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