Abstract This chapter provides an introduction to this book and an overview of
all chapters. Given the popularity of drones and the fact that many of them are
easy and cheap to buy, it is generally expected that the ubiquity of drones will
signiﬁcantly increase within the next few years. This raises questions as to what is
technologically feasible (now and in the future), what is acceptable from an ethi-
cal point of view and what is allowed from a legal point of view. Drone technol-
ogy is to some extent already available to consumers and more drone technologies
are expected to become available to consumers in the near future. The aim and
scope of this book: to map the opportunities and threats associated with the use
of drones and to discuss the ethical and legal issues of the use of drones. Since
drones have many names, including UAVs, UASs and RPASs, the terminology
used is explained. This chapter concludes with an overview of the structure of
this book, containing chapters on drone technology, the opportunities and threats
of drone use, ethical and legal issues concerning the use of drones and potentials
solutions for these issues.
Keywords Drones · UAV · UAS · RPAS
Drones Here, There and Everywhere
Introduction and Overview
© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS and the authors 2016
B. Custers (ed.), The Future of Drone Use, Information Technology
and Law Series 27, DOI 10.1007/978-94-6265-132-6_1
B. Custers ()
eLAW, Center for Law and Digital Technologies, Leiden University, Leiden,
WODC, Research Center of the Ministry of Security and Justice, The Hague,
1.1 The Rise of Drones
Mrs. Lisa Pleiss lives in Seattle on the 26th ﬂoor of an apartment building. In June
2014 she looked out of her window and saw a drone that seemed to react to her
gaze. It appeared to her that there were video cameras on the drone. Mrs. Pleiss
was surprised and immediately distressed. Since Mrs. Pleiss lives on the 26th
ﬂoor, she previously never had to worry about someone peering into her apart-
ment. When she alerted the building management to the presence of the drone,
they observed two men outside the building who seemed to be the ones operating
the drone. The men quickly disappeared when they saw the management observ-
ing them. In the city of Seattle, drones are currently legal to ﬂy, but are not permit-
ted to photograph the inside of someone’s home.1
In October 2014, two Dutch ﬁlmmakers in the Dutch city of Utrecht used a
drone to take stunning pictures of the Dom tower, which was surrounded by mist.2
The Dom is the tallest church spire in the Netherlands, built between 1321 and
1382. The owner of the drone used by the ﬁlmmakers received a ﬁne of 350 Euro
for using it to photograph the tower. According to Dutch laws, it is illegal to ﬂy a
drone without special permission. Furthermore, private drone owners are only
allowed to ﬂy drones during the day while the drone is operated in visual line of
sight at all times. Additionally, drones may not ﬂy above buildings and people.
In early 2015, people started to report drone sightings over Paris.3 More than a
dozen drone sightings over sensitive areas of the French capital were reported to
the police. The ﬂights reportedly took place overnight near the river Seine, Place
de la Concorde, the Invalides military museum and around the Paris ring-road.
Perhaps more worrying, drone sightings were reported over French nuclear plants
1 Bradwell 2014.
2 http://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2014/11/the-dom-tower-in-utrecht-by-drone/. Accessed April
3 http://www.theguardian. com/world/2015/mar /04/d rone- sightings-paris-seine-concor de-
invalides. Accessed April 1, 2016.
1.1 The Rise of Drones ............................................................................................................. 4
1.1.1 What This Book Is About .......................................................................................... 6
1.1.2 The WODC Research Project ................................................................................... 7
1.2 A Brief History of Drones ................................................................................................... 8
1.3 Terminology ........................................................................................................................ 10
1.4 Structure of This Book ........................................................................................................ 12
1.4.1 Part I: Introduction .................................................................................................... 12
1.4.2 Part II: Opportunities and Threats ............................................................................. 13
1.4.3 Part III: Ethical Issues ............................................................................................... 15
1.4.4 Part IV: Legal Issues ................................................................................................. 16
1.4.5 Part V: Conclusions ................................................................................................... 18
References .................................................................................................................................. 19
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
since October of 2014. For some time, it was unclear whether the drone ﬂights
were the work of pranksters, tourists or terrorists. However, in early 2015, the
police arrested Al Jazeera journalist Tristan Redman, who was ﬁned 1000 euro.4
The examples above illustrate the rise of drones in the public space. Civil
drones are a relatively new phenomenon in our society. Previously drones were
mostly employed in the military domain, for warfare in remote zones in places
such as Afghanistan. The use of drones in the military domain got the discussion
on drone use started and constituted the basis of the civil market for drones. As a
result, these days small drones for civil (non-military) use are increasingly avail-
able for purchase by civilian consumers, because they are increasingly inexpensive
and easy to buy. For less than a hundred euros, small drones can be purchased in
toy stores or via the Internet. For a couple of hundred euros more, one can buy
professional drones with advanced photo and video cameras. Most of these small
non-military drones for sale to consumers weigh up to several kilograms and can
ﬂy within a range of a couple of meters to a several hundred meters.
The possibilities for the use of drones can be found in virtually all sectors of
society. In the public sector drones can be used in the prevention of crime, in mak-
ing reconstructions of crime scenes, in countering disasters, for dike inspections,
geological surveys,5 countering fraud, guarding borders,6 and for environmental
and agricultural inspections.7 In the private sector there is potential for camera
applications, to make aerial photographs, to help prevent neighbourhood crime
and to support population census estimations. Drones also offer greater possibili-
ties in the ﬁeld of cinematography, television and other entertainment.8
Additionally, there are numerous potential applications for drones equipped with
various payloads, such as drones with heat sensors to detect cannabis plantations,
drones that carry water, food or medicine for rescue operations, and drones with
pesticides for use in agriculture. In the military domain, drones are used for sev-
eral purposes, including deployment in conﬂicts.
The potential of drones is offset by the threats that make drones the target of
damage, the means of inﬂicting damage, or an environmental factor responsible
for damaging effects. Some people may deliberately try to damage or steal drones
or their payloads, including collected data. Others may use drones as a means of
inﬂicting damage, such as (intentional) security or privacy threats, using drones to
collide with people or objects,9 to drop certain (hazardous) payloads,10 and to spy
on other people or annoyingly monitor them. Non-intentional environmental
4 BBC News 2015.
5 Parker 2014; Dillow 2013.
6 Caroll 2014; Stewart 2014; Preston 2014.
7 Wozniacka 2013.
8 CBS News 2014.
9 Heine 2013.
10 Chosun 2014.
safety risks include various threats regarding air trafﬁc (crashing, colliding, etc.).11
Drones may violate privacy in different ways, e.g., by harassing people (or, at the
least, causing nuisance and annoyance), by their large-scale (legal or illegal) col-
lection of personal data, inadequate transparency regarding what data are collected
and how that data are used. Drones are also subject to ‘function creep’ (using data
for purposes other than those for which they were originally collected).12 In the
military domain, drone use may cause civilian casualties.
Given their popularity and low cost, drones will become signiﬁcantly more
ubiquitous in the next few years. This raises questions as to what is technologi-
cally feasible (now and in the future), what is acceptable from an ethical point of
view and what is allowed from a legal point of view. Drone technology contin-
ues to evolve. In support of further research and debate, this book aims to map
the opportunities and threats associated with the use of drones and to discuss their
ethical and legal implications.
This chapter provides an introduction to this book and an overview of the chap-
ters that will follow. This ﬁrst section brieﬂy introduces the premise of this book,
including its scope and intended audience, and what inspired us to write it.
Section 1.2 provides a brief history of drones. Next, Sect. 1.3 describes the termi-
nology used in this book (since drones are referred to in many ways, including
terms such as UAVs, UASs and RPASs).13 Finally, Sect. 1.4 sketches the structure
of this book and introduces all chapters that follow.
1.1.1 What This Book Is About
This book aims to map the opportunities and threats associated with the current
and future use of drones and to discuss the ethical and legal issues of drone use.
As such, this book is useful as a reference for further research and debate, such as
directions for desirable or undesirable technological developments, necessary, use-
ful or unwanted applications of drones and possible regulation of drone technol-
ogy and drone use.
The scope of this book includes existing drone technology and drone practices
as well as technologies and applications under development or expected to mate-
rialize within the next 5–10 years. In Chap. 2, technological developments such as
further miniaturization, increased ﬂight autonomy and the use of swarms of drones
Although this book provides information about drone technology in order
to understand possibilities and threats and the ethical and legal issues raised by
11 CASA 2013.
12 See also Finn et al. 2014.
13 UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAS: Unmanned Aircraft (or Aerial) System, RPAS:
Remotely Piloted Aircraft System.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
drones, it does not primarily have a technological focus. Rather, it deals with the
social, ethical and legal effects of drone technology. The societal effects are dis-
cussed in terms of opportunities and threats. Ethical issues are discussed in terms
of which types of drone use may violate important moral values and principles,
which moral conﬂicts may occur and which types of drone use may call for apply-
ing moral principles in new ways. Legal issues are discussed in terms of analyses
of current legal frameworks (what is allowed?) and envisioned legal frameworks
(what should be allowed?). Ethical, legal and societal issues relate to, inter alia,
privacy, trust, liberty, dignity, equality and possible chilling effects resulting from
Countries have different viewpoints on and different legal regimes for drone
use. The authors contributing to this book present perspectives from differ-
ent countries. However, since drone technology is an international development
(drones are often and easily sold across borders), many of the opportunities,
threats and ethical and legal issues discussed are universal. For example, many
legal issues are the same across different jurisdictions. For example, aviation laws
have a strong international orientation and many countries apply similarly strict
regulations that aim to prevent a too liberal use of drones, mainly for reasons of
air trafﬁc safety. Simultaneously, many countries are studying whether the regula-
tions are sufﬁcient to cope with current and future developments, and are debat-
ing which types of drones use should be permitted. There are no real frontrunners
here. Most Western countries are still debating drone use and possible amend-
ments to rules and regulations.
Due to the speed of many technological developments, it is sometimes difﬁ-
cult for people without a technological background to understand how these tech-
nologies work and what impact they may have. This book attempts to explain
the latest technological developments with regard to drones in a straightforward
manner. Similarly, experts in drone technology may not always be aware of the
legal and ethical perspectives. As such, this book can be of value to academics in
several disciplines, such as law, technology, ethics, sociology, politics, and pub-
lic administration. Furthermore, this book may be of value to people who may
be confronted with the use of drones in their work, such as those working in the
military, law enforcement, disaster management and infrastructure management.
Individuals and businesses with a speciﬁc interest in drones are also part of the
target audience for this book.
1.1.2 The WODC Research Project
The idea for this volume on drones came from research that we carried out at the
WODC, the research centre of the Ministry of Security and Justice in the
Netherlands.14 Both the Dutch parliament and the Dutch government requested
14 http://www.wodc.nl. Accessed April 1, 2016.
this research in order to obtain more knowledge and information on the use of
drones. This research was carried out in 2014 and published (in Dutch) in 2015.15
The research approach was based on an extensive literature study, including scien-
tiﬁc literature, professional literature and media messages with regard to the use of
drones, and interviews, held with experts in various disciplines, including scien-
tists who develop drones, companies that manufacture or use drones, companies
that offer drone services and organizations that purchase such services, organiza-
tions in the security sector and scholars in the ﬁelds of privacy, ethics and human
rights. In total, interviews were held with 17 individuals with the aid of a semi-
structured questionnaire, complemented by conversations with about the same
number of people of other organizations. The research report was submitted to the
Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, who sent the research report to the Dutch
Parliament indicating that he would come up with more detailed plans for the use
of drones in the course of 2015. Some plans were presented and discussed in the
Dutch Parliament on 21 September 2015, but during this debate it became clear
that more detailed plans are needed in the coming years.
Apart from the research report mentioned above, researchers, policymakers and
other experts in the ﬁeld of drones and drone use were invited via a call for papers
to submit chapters for this book. This was done via both a targeted approach,
addressing authors of drone literature, and via posting and distributing the call
for papers via websites and email. As a result, almost 30 abstracts were received,
from which the authors of approximately 20 abstracts were invited to submit a full
chapter. These chapters went through a double blind review process, after which
some chapters were rejected or withdrawn. The call for papers opened in early
2015 and the ﬁnal manuscript was ready end of 2015.
1.2 A Brief History of Drones
The recent media attention for drones suggests that civil drones are a new phe-
nomenon and that such drones are a new technology. However, drones have
existed for almost a century.16 What is new, though, is the fact that today drones
are small, relatively inexpensive and easily available. Drones sales ﬁgures are hard
to ﬁnd, but millions of drones have already been sold.17 Amazon is selling more
than 10,000 drones a month. In order to better understand where drone technology
is heading, this section provides a brief history of drones.18
15 Custers et al. 2015.
16 HSD 2014. Depending on deﬁnition, drones exist even longer. There are examples of aircraft
without persons on-board during the American Civil War.
17 Reagan 2015.
18 For a detailed account of the historical development of drones, see also Villasensor 2013.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
The earliest unmanned aircraft were probably (hot air) balloons. However,
these balloons are generally not considered drones, mainly because their ﬂight
cannot be controlled.19 During World War I, radio control techniques were used to
build unmanned aircraft. The ﬁrst ﬂight of the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane
was in 1917.20 This airplane was developed as an aerial torpedo, for military pur-
poses, and is considered to be a ﬂying bomb and precursor of the cruise missile.21
In 1918 was the ﬁrst ﬂight of the Kettering Bug, an unmanned aerial torpedo capa-
ble of striking ground targets in a range of 120 km, while ﬂying at 80 km/h.22
World War I ended before the Kettering Bug could be deployed. After World War
I, airplanes were converted into drones. Examples are the Larynx (1927), the Fairy
Queen (1931) and the DH.82B Queen Bee. The name Queen Bee is said to have
led to the use of the term ‘drone’ (a male bee) for pilotless aircraft.23
During World War II, the Radioplane Company manufactured nearly 15,000
drones of the Radioplane OQ-2 for the US Army.24 As such, it was the ﬁrst mass-
produced drone. This drone was launched with a catapult and recovered by para-
chute. The later version, the OQ-3 was also widely used during World War II, with
over 9400 being built during the war.
After World War II, drones were also used for purposes other than being or
dropping bombs. The ﬁrst drone for aerial reconnaissance was the MQM-57
Falconer.25 This drone had its ﬁrst ﬂight in 1955. It was a 124 kg aircraft that
could carry cameras and illumination ﬂares for night reconnaissance.26 Over
73,000 were built and used in at least 18 countries.
During the Vietnam War, the US used Ryan Firebee drones,27 which were
developed in 1951. These drones were launched from Hercules transport aircraft,
which could carry four Firebee drones in total, two attached under each wing.
More than 7000 Firebees were built and, although production ended in 1982, some
of them are still in service. For example, ﬁve (modernized) Firebees were used to
lay chaff corridors (radar distraction with thin pieces of aluminum, metalized glass
ﬁbre or plastic) during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
19 Note that from a legal perspective, balloons may be considered (unmanned) aircraft, see also
20 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hewitt-Sperry_Automatic_Airplane. Accessed 1 April 2016.
21 Werrell and Stevens 1985.
22 Zaloga 2008. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettering_Bug. Accessed 1 April 2016.
23 Yenne 2004. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_unmanned_aerial_vehicles.
Accessed April 1, 2016.
24 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioplane_OQ-2. Accessed April 1, 2016.
25 Anonymous 1956.
26 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioplane_BTT#MQM-57_Falconer. Accessed April 1, 2016.
27 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Firebee. Accessed April 1, 2016.
10 B. Custers
Since 1995, the US Air Force and the CIA have used the MQ-1 Predator drone
for military reconnaissance and combat.28 It has been used in Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Somalia.29 The Predator
carries cameras and other sensors and can carry and ﬁre missiles. Predators have
also been used for border enforcement, scientiﬁc studies and forest ﬁre monitor-
ing. Predators are over eight meters long, with a wingspan of almost 15 m, weigh
512 kg (empty), can ﬂy at a speed of 130–165 km/h, with a range of 1110 km and
an endurance of 24 h. The Predators can be remotely ﬂown from great distances,
with operators in US-based control rooms while the Predators ﬂy in overseas war
zones. In 2013 the total number of Predators built was 360 and most of these are
still in service. One Predator costs about 4 million US dollars.
A larger, heavier and more powerful version of the Predator is the MQ-9
Reaper. The Reaper was ﬁrst used in 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan and is still in
service. In 2010, 104 Reapers were built, each costing almost 17 million US dol-
lars.30 The Reaper is 11 meters long, has a wingspan of 20 m, a weight of 2223 kg
(empty), a cruising speed of 313 km/h, a range of 1852 km and an endurance of
14 h. Reapers have two on-board weapons systems and up to four missiles and two
laser-guided bombs as payloads.
It may be clear from this brief overview that drones were mainly developed
in a military context and its use in this context is still very common, even on the
increase. However, as mentioned in the previous section, drones now also offer
many civil (non-military) applications. Both military and civil drone use are
addressed in this book. A more detailed description of civil drones and their appli-
cations can be found in Chap. 2.
An important issue when talking about drones is which terminology to use. The
term drone typically refers to an aircraft that does not carry a pilot on-board and
is instead operated from a ground control system or is able to ﬂy (to some extent)
autonomously. In literature and in practice, there are many other terms that refer
to drones. The different terms do not always have exactly the same scope and dif-
ferent stakeholders prefer using different terms. In this section, we will discuss
the most common terms and how they are used and then explain why the term
‘drones’ has been chosen as the leading term in this book.
The term drone is the term that the media use and, therefore, the term that is best
known among the general public. Drone is originally the English word for a male
28 Whittle 2014.
29 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_MQ-1_Predator. Accessed April 1, 2016.
30 Note that these costs for the drone do not include costs for ground stations, satellite use, etc.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
bee. In other languages, such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and
Dutch, the word drone is also commonly used, although it is sometimes written
slightly different (Drohne in German, dron in Spanish, дpoн in Russian). The term
drone was originally used in military applications and for many people it still
retains that connotation. Clarke (2014) traces the ﬁrst use of the term drone to the
US Navy in 1935.31 This military connotation is slowly shifting and drones are
increasingly associated with civil drones used closer to home. Accordingly, the
images associated with the word drone are slowly shifting from a military
unmanned airplane ﬂying above Afghanistan to a small helicopter, usually
equipped with a camera, that is remotely controlled by a smartphone. The term
drone includes unmanned airplanes and helicopters, but usually does not include
unmanned balloons, unmanned ﬂying platforms, rockets and unmanned jetpacks.
The term drone is not used in any kind of legislation.
UAV and UAS
Apart from the term drone, the most often used terms are Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).32 The term UAV focuses on
the ﬂying platform (and its payload, if any), whereas the term UAS is a more gen-
eral term to refer to both the ﬂying platform and the ground station that controls
the platform. These more descriptive terms are used in the US and other English
speaking countries, but also in some other countries. In practice, the terms UAV
and UAS refer to the same aircraft as the term drone (i.e., unmanned airplanes and
helicopters, but not, for instance, rockets and jetpacks).
The terms UAV and UAS are used mainly in ofﬁcial documents, including leg-
islation.33 The general public is less familiar with these terms, especially when the
abbreviations are used. As a result, people may have few or none associations with
these terms. Professional drone users obviously are familiar with these terms and
use them as equivalents for the term drone. Some people assume that the terms
UAV and UAS have a weaker military connotation than the term drone, whereas
others think the abbreviations UAV and UAS have a stronger military (euphemis-
Another often used term is that of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The
term RPAS is used to describe unmanned aerial systems that are remotely con-
trolled by a pilot. As such, it differs from the terms drone, UAV and UAS, since
the term RPAS assumes that there is a pilot, whereas this is, strictly speaking,
not necessarily the case for drones and UAVs. As will be explained in Chap. 2,
there are technological developments in which drones can ﬂy increasingly
31 Clarke 2014.
32 Note that the term UAS is sometimes explained as the abbreviation of Unmanned Aircraft
System as well.
33 Note, however, that the term UAV is often used as an alternative to other terms and is not as
frequently used as the term UAS. See also Chap. 13.
12 B. Custers
autonomously, for instance, pre-programmed or self-learning. Hence, all RPASs
are UAVs, but not all UAVs are RPASs. The term RPAS refers more to radio con-
trol airplanes and helicopters and excludes fully autonomously ﬂying aircraft. As
such, the term RPAS refers to a subset of drones or UAVs. The term RPAS is often
used in policy documents in Europe. Outside Europe, this term is used less often.
There are also other terms that are used, but these usually refer to subsets of
drones. Examples are Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), Micro Aerial
Vehicle (MAV) and microcopter. Radio control aircraft and model airplanes also
indicate subsets of drones, usually drones for recreational purposes. In this book,
these terms as well as the term RPAS will only be used when particular reference
to these subsets of drones is made. As the title of this book indicates, this is a book
on drones. As such, the term drones is the term used in this book. The terms UAV/
UAS are used when referring to speciﬁc documents, contexts or quotes.
1.4 Structure of This Book
1.4.1 Part I: Introduction
Part I of this book explains the basics of drones, drone technology and drone use.
The sections above already dealt with the scope of this book, the history of drones
and drone terminology.
In Chap. 2, Vergouw, Nagel, Bondt and Custers elaborate on the basics of drone
technology. They explain the different types of drones by their model (ﬁxed-wing,
multirotor, etc.), their degree of autonomy, their size and weight and their power
source. These speciﬁcations determine the drone’s cruising range, the maximum
ﬂight duration and the payload capacity. The payloads, in turn, largely determine
the possible applications of drones. Payloads can be different types of sensors, like
cameras, sniffers and meteorological sensors, or cargo, like mail, parcels, medi-
cines and ﬁre extinguishers. Since most drones use wireless communication with
a pilot on the ground and also often have payloads that use wireless communica-
tion, frequency spectrum issues are discussed. Finally, Vergouw, Nagel, Bondt and
Custers discuss future developments in drone technology, particularly the trends
that drones become smaller lighter and more efﬁcient and trends in (increased)
autonomy and drones operating in swarms.
In Chap. 3, Finn and Donovan examine the intersection between drone data
and Big Data. Drones are increasingly becoming Big Data collection platforms,
as they are (more and more by default) equipped with an increasing set of sen-
sors. Apart from the visible appearance of drones in the sky, most drone use also
involves a largely invisible process of collecting and processing data. Finn and
Donovan focus on two uses of drones for civil purposes, crisis informatics and
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
precision agriculture, which are not considered to raise signiﬁcant ethical and pri-
vacy issues, as they do not focus on people. By closely scrutinizing these exam-
ples of drone use, they show that even those drone applications that may initially
seem low risk from ethical and privacy perspectives raise issues on the identiﬁabil-
ity of individuals, large-scale discrimination or inequalities in relation to particular
social categories and the digital divide. As such, there is a need to move beyond
the distinction of high risk versus low risk drone use. Instead, it is necessary to
consider ethical and legal issues of drone use more in-depth for speciﬁc technolo-
gies, enabling speciﬁc applications in speciﬁc contexts.
1.4.2 Part II: Opportunities and Threats
Before discussing ethical and legal issues of drone use it is useful to investigate
speciﬁc applications of drones in speciﬁc contexts. Part II of this book therefore
provides several chapters on drone use in different areas of society. Drone tech-
nology is a typical example of dual-use technology: it may be used for better or
for worse. Hence, Part II of this book deals with both opportunities and threats of
drone use. It should be noted that opportunities and threats may strongly depend
on someone’s perspective. For instance, one person may value the opportunity
drones provide to make beautiful pictures of their neighbourhood whereas some-
one else in the same neighbourhood may consider the same drone as a violation of
their privacy and a nuisance due to the noise the drone generates.
In Chap. 4, Applin explores the feasibility of delivery drones in the context
of American cities and neighborhoods. While the use of delivery drones may be
cheaper and faster to rural areas, the idea of delivery drones in cities and suburbs
requires careful consideration, for it has the potential to disrupt and change com-
munity culture. Applin discusses the current delivery climate, the rise in volume
of package deliveries (in no small part due to Internet shopping) and the practical
and cultural hurdles to overcome if delivery drones are to become viable. Applin
examines aspects of drone delivery such as trust, privacy, security, and the roles
that current delivery drivers play in the fabric of communities, including socia-
bility. Sociability takes on a new role in drone delivery and in Chap. 4 Applin
explores how ubiquitous drones will be required to become more ‘social’ with
each other and with communities in order to cooperate, communicate positions
and negotiate for space (to avoid overlap in routes) to avoid accidents.
In Chap. 5, Engberts and Gillissen focus on drone use by the police. They
describe how police and law enforcement agencies can and already do beneﬁt
from drones. The police can perform many of their tasks, including maintaining
public order, criminal law enforcement, assisting those in need and safeguarding
VIPs or sensitive objects better and faster with the use of drones. Engberts and
Gillissen distinguish between drones for sensing (when cameras, heat sensors
14 B. Custers
and sniffers provide opportunities for observation, monitoring and detection)
and drones as tools (when drones use light or sound or even weapons like pepper
spray to prevent disturbances of the public order and other threats). Focusing on
the police forces in The Netherlands, they examine both legal conditions (such as
included in the Police Act, the Local Government Act and the Code of Criminal
Procedures) and practical conditions (such as aviation procedures, safety rules,
geographical and physical elements and weather conditions).
In Chap. 6, Marin focuses on drone use for border surveillance. The deploy-
ment of drones in border surveillance, a competence shared between the EU and
its member states, may have several functions, including the reduction of the num-
ber of illegal immigrants, the increase of security in the EU by preventing cross-
border crime and the enhancement of search and rescue operations for illegal
immigrants and boat refugees that try to reach the EU. By describing recent devel-
opments, such as EUROSUR and the Italian operation Mare Nostrum, the use of
drones in border surveillance is illustrated. Marin concludes that the use of drones
in border surveillance is not per se based on a mainly humanitarian rationale, but
is rather aimed at increasing surveillance and intelligence. As such, drones in bor-
der surveillance mainly have a securitization function regarding borders as gate-
ways for security threats.
In Chap. 7, Martini, Lynch, Weaver and Van Vuuren examine the use of drones
for humanitarian use. Drones can be very useful for temporarily restoring com-
munication networks and for delivering critical relief items after a disaster. Drones
have already been deployed by humanitarian actors in Haiti and the Philippines
for mapping and improved situational awareness and needs assessments of the
region. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, long-range drones have signiﬁ-
cantly improved data reconnaissance and data gathering. Closer to home drones
are deployed during sport and other events, for instance, carrying camera technol-
ogy and AEDs. Apart from these and other examples of drone use, Martini et al.
describe how, by means of global dialogues, guidelines and recommendations for
drones and other emerging technologies were developed to make urban communi-
ties more resilient.
In Chap. 8, Michaelides-Mateou focuses on the use of drones by terrorists.
Drones are obviously an innovative tool, providing lots of opportunities but also
several threats. As such, drones may be an appealing weapon choice for terror-
ists to deliver mass destruction, as they may contribute to more victims, panic and
visibility of terrorist attacks. For terrorists, drones have a number of advantages:
drones can be used to easily deliver biological, chemical and even nuclear agents,
drones can be operated without any special training, knowledge or skills, drones
are easily transportable and drones are difﬁcult to detect and intercept. Terrorist
groups have developed, threatened to or utilized drones as a tool in pursuit of their
goals in the US, Europe and elsewhere. Furthermore, Michaelides-Mateou suggest
that public awareness will assist in mitigating the threat and discusses preventive
and counter measures, like tracking software, kill switches and geofencing, to deal
with terrorist drones.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
1.4.3 Part III: Ethical Issues
Drones provide lots of opportunities, but not everything that is possible is also
worth pursuing. Some applications of drones may be controversial. Part III of this
book deals with ethical issues of the use of drones. Ethical aspects of drone use
are particularly present in warfare and armed conﬂict. Focusing mostly on military
drone use, this part of the book discusses the morality of autonomous weapon sys-
tems and automated killings.
In Chap. 9, Bergman discusses moral and psychological implications of drones
in warfare. In a relatively short time drones have claimed a special position in
modern warfare. This has caused extensive debate on the morality of autonomous
weapon systems and targeted killings. Bergman argues that although drones have
been humanized, for instance, by labelling them as ‘killer-drones’, they are still
machines incapable of exerting moral judgment. Instead, he emphasizes that it
is humans, not machines, that make decisions to use such systems. Drones allow
killing from a distance, which may raise moral issues but may also have psycho-
logical implications for drone pilots, who may suffer from post-traumatic stress-
disorder (PTSD). Bergman advocates further integrating drones in military units
to make them a more natural tool for military commanders and to reduce risks for
their soldiers. This may enable operations that prevent or faster resolve conﬂicts
which were previously considered too risky.
In Chap. 10, Brown discusses moral courage in drone warfare. Concepts of
moral courage in manned combat are often based on the behaviour that combat-
ants display in high-risk situations. Brown explores whether drone warfare, which
appears risk-free for drone pilots who remotely operate drones, also requires moral
courage. He argues that drone warfare entails both psychological and moral harms.
Psychological and mental health research indicates that military drone pilots suffer
from mental health problems at similar rates as pilots of manned combat aircraft.
Furthermore, a strict dichotomy between bodily harms and psychological harms
fails to recognize that these are inextricably conjoined together. Since most drone
pilots perform the panopticon-like surveillance on their targets, there may a deep
level of intimacy regarding their personal details. This may increase the psycho-
logical and emotional intensity for drone pilots and can be morally disconcerting.
Brown argues that drone warfare, because of its unprecedented technological fea-
tures can actually demand a more rigorous form of courage, beyond confronting
In Chap. 11, Zwijnenburg and Blok investigate the practical and ethical chal-
lenges of drone use in conﬂict. The growing use of drones in warfare has raised
concerns over the implications for the protection of civilians in armed conﬂict,
international human rights law and the lowering of the threshold to use vio-
lence as a means to solve conﬂict. Innocent civilians are being killed by drones
in warzones and other places. Furthermore, the 24/7 presence of drones in parts
of Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia affects the minds of the local population, caus-
ing post-traumatic stress-disorder and other mental health issues. Zwijnenburg
16 B. Custers
and Blok focus on the proliferation of dual-use drone technology to state and non-
state actors and implications for new ways of war. The changing nature of conﬂicts
and growing use of proxy wars may lead to an increase in risk-free use of drones.
Zwijnenburg and Blok argue that increased transparency and accountability are
needed to address illegal use of armed drones.
In Chap. 12, Coeckelbergh discusses several arguments against the lethal use
of drones. Drones that are used for targeted killing, killing at a distance, and auto-
mated killing pose problems that are not new, such as problems related to the
justiﬁcation of war and the problem of distance. However, drones create a moral
distance between killer and target while at the same time sensor technologies
bridge the distance. Coeckelbergh focuses on two arguments against automated
killing. First, it is questionable whether drones can ever be moral agents. Second,
it is questionable whether drones can ever be ‘moral patients’, i.e., drones do not
know human suffering. Coeckelbergh concludes that there are serious ethical prob-
lems with drones and argues that there is such a morally signiﬁcant qualitative dif-
ference in vulnerability and way of being between drones and humans that fully
automated killings cannot be justiﬁed.
1.4.4 Part IV: Legal Issues
Part IV of this book examines legal issues regarding the use of drones. The most
obvious legal issues are related to aviation safety, as drones may pose risks to
other aircraft.34 Drones can crash and can hit people, leading to injury and even
death. Furthermore, drones may collide with other air trafﬁc, such as helicopters,
small airplanes and even commercial airliners, creating additional risks. These sce-
narios are far from ﬁctional, as several incidents reports show.35 Precisely because
of these safety risks the use of drones is severely limited in most countries by legal
restrictions. Apart from aviation law, there are several other legal issues regarding
the use of drones, including property law, tort law, liability law, privacy law, per-
sonal data protection law, human rights and criminal law.
In Chap. 13, Scott introduces and critically discusses the key aviation laws that
currently regulate the use of civil drones under international, European Union
(EU) and national law. The Chicago Convention of 1944 contains the overarching
legal framework that regulates international civil aviation. It contains provisions
for pilotless aircraft, such as ﬂight authorization, noise and emission standards,
proper documentation and airworthiness, but some obligations are not really prac-
tical for drones, such as carrying heavy documents on-board of minidrones. The
Montreal Convention of 1999 establishes a legal framework for liability for dam-
age to passengers, baggage and cargo engaged in international ﬂights, but has
34 GAO Report 2012.
35 Quinn 2014; Gillespie 2014; Whitlock 2014.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
limited applicability for drones, since most civil drone ﬂights are not international.
The Rome Convention of 1952 establishes a legal framework for liability caused
by aircraft to third parties on the surface and contains provisions on insurance
requirements. Scott shows that the majority of international treaties do not appro-
priately regulate drone activities. Furthermore, the EU is still amending and creat-
ing new laws and national law has been left to ﬁll the gaps.
In Chap. 14, Volovelsky focuses on drone use and the right to privacy. The
combination of advanced technologies, unique drone platforms and cheap prices
of the drones will inevitably lead to acute infringements of the right to privacy.
This threat is real and immanent. This raises the question how to draw the right
balance between freedom of expression and the dynamic right to privacy, preserve
the signiﬁcant beneﬁts arising from civilian drones and minimize their negative
social impact. The problem of how to regulate the use of drones is shared by dif-
ferent legal systems around the world, including the US and the EU legal systems.
Volovelsky reviews different solutions offered in the US and the EU and describes
the legal framework of Israel, the world’s largest producer of drones, as a unique
mixed legal system that offers the opportunity to examine the implementation of
In Chap. 15, Eijkman and Bakker discuss accountability for and transpar-
ency of the use of armed drones. For instance, drones are used in Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Yemen against Al-Qaeda and associated forces. Civilian victims of
such armed drone strikes meet countless challenges in effectuating their right
to an effective remedy. In many situations a formal recognition of the drone
strike is absent and involved states do not release information about their drone
use and their own investigations. Although both international humanitarian and
human rights law can apply, in practice it is very difﬁcult for victims to sub-
stantiate their status as victims and to seek access to justice and enforce their
rights. Eijkman and Bakker argue that the international community should urge
involved states to independently and impartially investigate all armed drone
strikes and to ensure that access to an effective remedy for civilian citizens
becomes a reality.
In Chap. 16, Ravich explores best practices and policies for drone use around
the world. Worldwide countries are facing challenges in regulating the use of
drones. Many nations have developed or are developing drone laws. However,
because drone technology is a relatively recent phenomenon, there are no long
standing legal frameworks, policies and practices. Ravich surveys drone aviation
laws around the globe by exploring the ﬁrst iteration of laws, acts, regulations,
guidance and policy statements and secondary source literature with respect to
drones. This comparative country-by-country analysis provides an overview of
existing drone laws and identiﬁes best practices for civil and commercial drone
use worldwide. This evaluation shows a comparable conservatism among law-
makers globally but also reveals that some countries have relatively assertive
18 B. Custers
1.4.5 Part V: Conclusions
Part V of this book aims to offer possible ways forward and solutions or parts
thereof to some of the issues addressed in the other parts of this book. It may be
obvious that there are no simple solutions. For instance, it is not possible to set out
in detail the contours for future legislation, as this depends on future technological
developments and the social and political desirability of permitting or prohibiting
particular applications of drones. However, when the goal is to avoid and mini-
mize the threats that drones may pose and to increase or enhance the possibilities
that drones may offer, some approaches and practices may be more useful than
others. Examples, though sometimes country-speciﬁc, may include creating a pol-
icy vision across aviation law, privacy law and criminal investigation law, more
cooperation between government entities, the pursuit of international regulations,
making rules independent of technology (to some extent), using privacy impact
assessments and privacy by design.36 In addition, information campaigns, particu-
larly for the rapidly growing group of non-professional users, could be very valua-
ble with a view to compliance with regulations. The risks and threats of drone use
can further be mitigated by deﬁning additional (technical) speciﬁcations and (man-
datory or not) certiﬁcation and training.
In Chap. 17, Wright and Finn explore Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) as
a useful tool to address privacy issues raised by drones. It is obvious that drone
users should comply with privacy law and personal data protection law, but pri-
vacy impact assessments go beyond compliance issues. A PIA should also include
privacy issues that are not necessarily legal issues, such as potential chilling
effects drones may have on the behaviour of people. Hence, there are limitations
to Article 33 of the draft European Data Protection Regulation as data protection
impact assessments may not address all relevant types of privacy, notably privacy
of behaviour, privacy of location, privacy of groups and privacy of communica-
tions. Wright and Finn describe the process of performing a PIA and consider
questions such as when a PIA should be performed and by whom. Using the PIA
model they map privacy issues raised by drones, particularly non-recreational,
non-military drone use. After mapping the privacy issues, they provide several
potential solutions, including privacy-preserving technologies, to avoid or mitigate
In Chap. 18, McKenna addresses public perception and acceptance challenges
of drone use: will people accept large numbers of drones in the skies above them?
Considering the factors that are likely to prove inﬂuential in whether wide scale
drone use will be acceptable for the wider general public, he argues that other
challenges of drone use, such as overcoming various technical and security weak-
nesses and privacy issues, ensuring the necessary national and international regu-
latory structures and enforcement issues, are also relevant for public perception
and acceptance. McKenna discusses various self-help regulatory mechanisms
36 Custers et al. 2015, p. 161.
1 Drones Here, There and Everywhere Introduction and Overview
regarding trespass, nuisance and harassment and technological solutions like
geofencing, i.e. pre-programming drone control software in order to block drone
ﬂights above particular altitudes, at or near airports and above private property of
home owners who object to drone ﬂights.
In Chap. 19, Custers addresses the question how to regulate the use of drones in
the future given the expectation that the number of drones in the air is expected to
increase rapidly in the coming years. Banning drones from society is not a realis-
tic option. Having large numbers of drones, however, will put enforcement under
pressure. Custers investigates conditions and contents of future drone legislation
and analyses privacy and other safeguards that can be taken. Conditions for future
drone legislation concern creating policy visions, further integration of aviation
laws, telecommunication laws and criminal justice laws, regulation on interna-
tional levels, mandatory evaluations and (to some extent) technology-independent
legislation. The contents of future drone legislation should focus on aviation law,
privacy law, liability law and criminal law. Privacy safeguards include privacy
impact assessments and the use of privacy by design, most notably geofencing.
Other safeguards include mandatory education for some groups of drone users and
raising public awareness.
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