Will the Use of Drones Domestically Lead to Privacy Law Revamps?

by Matt Ball on December 15, 2011

The question of the drone as a catalyst for revamping the privacy laws in the United States is the topic of a recent article written by M. Ryan Calo, director for privacy and robotics at the Center for Internet & Society, in the Stanford Law Review. The article takes on the subject of our eroded sense of privacy, and the potential that the use of drones can actually restore our sense of just what constitutes a privacy violation.

“The development of American privacy law has been slow and uneven; the advancement of information technology has not. The result is a widening chasm between our collective and individual capacity to observe one another and the protections available to consumers and citizens under the law.”

The widespread use of drones in today’s military has led to a perfection of surveillance, where we’re able to find and follow a specific person. Given their success, it’s inevitable that these platforms will be used for domestic uses, especially given their flexibility and efficiency compared to the costs of helicopters and airplanes. ¬†How will their use alter society, and protections under the law. Calo argues that the use of drones will herald a shift in privacy law by dramatizing the need to rethink the very nature of privacy law.

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