Drones in the US
The Use of Drones in the United States
Technology has become part and parcel of the modern day society. It has revolutionized greatly how things are done. This includes faster production rate of products in the industry, traveling, the ease of communication and passing information from one area to another among other improvements. One of such area that has had great impact is the technological use of an unmanned aerial vehicle. The paper aims to discuss the use of drones in the United States.
As per the military, the drones are also known as the remotely piloted aerial systems or the unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones can be put to a variety of uses. The most common places where drones are flown include areas that are considered to be too risky or difficult for navigation of human beings. One of the advantages of the navigation done by the drones is that they can operate as troops for 24 hours each and every day of the week without getting tired, unlike a human being who would get tired doing such kind of surveillance work. Each and every single craft has the capability to hover and stay aloft for over 17 hours (Enemark 23). For this period, the craft is just loitering over a specified area; it captures images and then ends back to humans on the ground for further analysis and scrutiny.
The drones come in different sizes and shapes. The ones that are used by the royal air force or the United States Air Force range from small reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence, some light enough to an extent that they are hand-launched, to a medium-sized armed drone. Some of them are very large, and they are referred to as the spy planes.
Key types of drones
There are two major types of drones that were designed by the United States. These two mediums sized drones are in use currently in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They include the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1B Predator.
These strange types of planes carry numerous types of sensors in their like bulbous noses. Some of the sensors include black-and-white and color TV cameras, lasers for targeting the enemy, infra-red imaging for the purpose of providing low-light conditions, radar, intensifies among other sensors. In addition to that, the places may also be armed with the laser guided missiles for shooting the enemy or enemy drones.
Despite the fact that the drones are unmanned, it does not mean that they are not unpiloted. This means that at the base, there is a trained crew assigned the duty of manning the aircraft. Further, the crew at the base does the analysis work of the images that are sent to them from the cameras by the drones, and they take action according to what they see.
The base might not be necessarily a close area where the drone is Manning. It might even be a thousand miles away from the combat zone. For instance, quite some the missions by the drones taking place in Afghanistan have normally controlled from Nevada an air force base in the United States. However, the takeoff and touchdown of the planes is normally done locally.
Advantages Associated with Drones
Despite the fact that it is quite difficult for the federal government to speak regularly about drones and the activities that they undertake, time and again President Obama has openly spoken about the use of drones. He has confirmed that the drones have taken activities such as regular surveillance and striking of the suspect militants along the tribal areas in Pakistan (Evangelista 40).
Drones are preferred by the military because of their efficiency in the field. The military uses them because they have high striking precision without the additional intervention of the military action. In addition to that, they are controlled in a manner that they do not have to necessarily intrude some other military activities that are in operation.
However, the use of the drones by the United States has been very controversial. This is because there has been an outcry by the human rights department of the United Nations. Outrage has been on the rise because the drones have ended up killing innocent civilians when the military proceed with their operations in Pakistan. The worst of it all is that there have been Americans who were killed by their drones. One of the deadliest attacks that were caused by the drones belonging to the United States was in the year 2011 March. In this incidence, 40 people, who were believed to be civilians attending a tribal meeting, lost their lives.
In the year 2004 June, people were outside having a celebration at the Stanley final cup when L.A Kings’ won against the New York Rangers. As usual in a cheering mood, there is a deafening sound, people in high spirit and shout all over. All of a sudden, there was a small white drone that flew above the crowd, and there was just more than just a normal cheering for the crowd. This followed by cups, shirts, cans, shoes being thrown to it until the small aircraft was finally brought down.
Many are the times when technology grows at a very first place, a revolution that we can only allude to what we see in the movies and read in the science fiction novels. Drone is one such technology that has shifted gears and changed at an alarming rate. Presently, there are some words that are associated with the conceptual and practical use of the drones in the society, and they include, terrifying, amazing and groundbreaking.
Drones have attracted some legal issues. The drones themselves have brought about a big complication, and it has eventually ignited the legal questions about privacy. It has drawn the attention of the activists and concerned lawmakers. The concerns have come from the privacy of an anxiety that was brought about by Edward Snowden. This was as per the technological response and concern that brings about the talk concerning problems accompanied by the emerging technological issues. The need to come up with measures to limit and regulate the federal power and the police force and as well the significance of making safety consideration for the equipment has become the major topics of heated debate that surround the unmanned aerial vehicles (Ramsay 35).
There are some recommendations that are made by the ACLU
This recommends that a drone should only be deployed and used by the law but after issuance of the warrant. In emergency situations, the drones can also be deployed. Also in cases where there are particular articulable grounds where there is a strong and justified cases believed that the drone be used for the purpose of collecting evidence related to a crime scene or act.
It is a policy or mandated that images or any other information collected can be retained only when there is a reasonable amount of suspicion to guarantee that the data collected has evidence of the crime, or it is related to the case that currently proceeds in the court of law.
The policy on the usage of drones should be decided by the representatives of the public and not by the police department. In addition to that, such police ought to be written, very clear and above all open to the public as a whole.
Accountability and abuse prevention
The use of drones domestically on the soil and air of the United States should be very open to audits and as well proper oversight so that its misuse can be prevented.
ACLU recommended that the drones that are used domestically should not be equipped with weapons regardless of whether they are lethal or not.
Domestic drones and privacy
Constitution, having the greatest weight in matters regarding law and governing of the nation, it is naturally looked upon to offer guidance to provide ways to deal with various issues including privacy protection from the unmanned aerial surveillance. However, this kind of protection to the citizens might be very low. Moreover, the courts and as well the executive branch have also a great role to play in the area of privacy and drones regulation. While the federal agency has taken a relatively passive role towards dealing with privacy issues and regulation of the use of drones, the multi-stakeholder process for drone use and the new directive of the president for the government drone could be fruitful through the creation of a privacy initiative program that may end up being useful. With the power vested in Congress regarding interstate commerce, it has the widest capacity to set standards that are to be used nationally for the purpose of privacy regulations.
The drones have advanced from the battlefield to the newsroom
As technology has advanced, drones are not only sued for military purposes. They are utilized for commercial use including journalism. This has continued to create a debate and discussion on whether it is ethical to use drones in operations such as journalism. The federal government is yet to make moves to come up with commercial rules and technological use of drones in the United States space in 2015. The news organizations, researchers, and technologists have gone ahead and are having a discussion on whether it would be appropriate to consider drones in the reporting and gathering of data (Walsh 89).
The unmanned aerial vehicles provide an inexpensive mechanism for putting cameras and other sensors in the air for the purpose of capturing images and collection of data. However, at the same time, they pose a serious threat and concern about credibility, perspective, conflict of interest, privacy and safety. When the drones are used in the air, they are bound to expose some private undertaking of various people. It means everyone would be put in danger of exposure; companies secrets might be as well used by terrorists or thieves to mark certain areas they can steal or undertake their criminal activities among other issues.
Some of other ethical concerns related to the creation and building of the maintenance trusts between the news organization and the public and thus brings about the credibility of journalism. Issues of privacy come about when there are people ate their rooftops or backyards collecting information about them. Big companies such as Google have already faced privacy challenges when they do mapping operation, and satellite imagery and the same will soon be encountered by journalists on overflight. The drones can also at times develop a mechanical problem, fall and then injure people on the ground. Some people may panic and cause public unrest when they see objects flying over their head. It, therefore, creates the issue of credibility in the use of the drones for journalism purposes. The users of the drones should explain transparency in their use and provide proper guidelines that would not bring about commotion and confusion to the citizens of a country (Abizaid, 20).
Studies that have been previously conducted indicate that the transport of goods through the means of air is four times more carbon-intensive than the use of the truck for transport that again is ten times more intense than the use of rails. Delivery companies such as Amazon have claimed that nowadays they make more sales, and, therefore, it means that more products need to be transported. This means there would be an intensified level of carbon emission. To curb this, there is a need to consider logistic benefits that come with the integration of the unmanned aerial vehicles in the process of delivery. The advantage with drones is that they save energy. Furthermore, the use powered batteries, and this means there is not only less energy consumption but also less harmful emission into the air.
Impact of public safety
Because the unmanned aerial vehicles are airborne artifacts, they bring about threats to not only people but also property even when they undertake their normal operation. This happens more so when there is a malfunction of the data communication they use for control or equipment failure. There are some natural controls in case of an inappropriate behavior of a drone. The general laws for liability normally provide a remedy for harms that are caused by the use of drones. More often than not, such remedies are offered as a deterrent against any behavior considered irresponsible.
As per the guidelines that are provided by the FAA, the owners of the drones are not supposed to fly the crafts over 400 feet within the area of five miles to the airport without getting permission to do so. However, such rules do not hold since they have loopholes. In addition to that, the officials have had quite a tough task in hunting down the offenders. It is quite clear that the registration of drones would be of very minimal use for those doing the investigation to the drones unless their registration numbers are found. Some of other drones are too small for them to appear on radar and thus the transponder broadcast locators rarely find them. However, there is a general notion that asking the drone flyers to register their drones would make the flyers be responsible for their actions on the air and be accountable when incidences such as accidents happen (Warren 76).
In conclusion, drones have been a very important aspect of the community. It is one of the areas in which revolution has taken place and changed the way things operate in the world. Some of the areas that have had a great impact include the field of transport where drones are used for quick delivery of items and products, for journalism purposes, mapping, domestic use, surveillance and military use in attacking and destroying a military base. However, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles also commonly known as drones have come without challenges. Some of the challenges that the drones have posed in the United States include debates on privacy. People feel that their privacy has greatly interfered with when the aircrafts start to move above the sky and collecting data and then share the same data with the public. Additionally, the drones can develop a mechanical problem, fall and then injure people. The drones used for military expedition might also have a great challenge when sometimes the drones happened to kill civilians who were innocent on the war zones. However, the federal government and the departments responsible for surveillance and privacy in the United States have been in the front line to give some of the recommendations that would act as a pillar to reduce the challenges that are caused by the drones. Registration of the drones, having strict rules of surveillance, and compensation of those hurt by the drones are among the rules aimed at streamlining the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. If people show openness and accountability in deployment and use of the drones on the United States air, then it will become easy for everyone to exist peacefully with each other.
Abizaid, John P. Recommendations and Report of the Task Force on US Drone Policy.
Pakistan. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Law School;, 2012. Print.
Enemark, Christian. Armed Drones and the Ethics of War Military Virtue in a Post-heroic Age. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013. Print.
Evangelista, Matthew. The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones. Print.
Ramsay, James D., and Linda Ann Kiltz. Critical Issues in Homeland Security: A Casebook. Print.
Walsh, James Igoe. The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns. Print.
Warren, Aiden, and Ingvild Bode. Governing the Use-of-force in International Relations: The Post 9/11 US Challenge on International Law. Print.
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