The New Privacy Battle: How the Expanding Use of Drones Continues to Erode Our Concept of Privacy and Privacy Rights

Chris Schlag


The exciting, thriving and developing technology that everybody has been talking about recently is drones. Due to recent technological developments, which make drones an affordable and universal tool, drones have expanded out of military use and into domestic applications. The enactment of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in 2012 further pushed for the development and expansion of drone use in the United States’ airspace, by requiring the FAA to license over 30,000 drone operators. While drone use has an unlimited potential for beneficial use within society, drone technology is not without risks. For example, drone use in domestic airspace raises the significant and undeniable risk of individual privacy invasions through the use of drones by both public entities and third parties. This article argues current common law and legislative protections of potential privacy invasions resulting from drone use are drastically insufficient as neither affords strong protection of an individual’s privacy from such sophisticated technology’s potential. The article concludes by recommending a federal baseline consumer protection act that would establish a reasonable level of protection for an individual’s privacy by ensuring drone use was being monitored from a privacy protection standpoint and limiting the use of drones in a way that would invade an individual’s privacy expectations.

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