Ethical Considerations of Drones

Drones have become a critical tool in the war against terrorist and militant organization worldwide over the last decade(Zenko 2013). The drones also are known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)were introduced in 2012 by the FAA modernization and reform act that created its roadmap. Ever since their development, the drones adopted a broad range of application apart their initial task of being a military tool. The drones currently are used to monitor weather, inspecting bridges and patrolling borders and conducting search and rescue missions. The drone offer a flexible and accurate solution for most of the technical challenges of nature. This paper reviews the ethical consideration of the military and commercial use of drones.

Drones are used for conservation. Due to the installation of cameras in the drones, they can be used to monitor and count wildlife, and even in a more direct conservation drones can be used to deliver seeds as part of forest restoration project (Sandbrook 2015). Moreover, regardingmaintenance, the military can use the UAS to monitor illegal hunting of the wildlife and ecological research which is very crucial in the action of boundary patrol. As much as the drones help in conservation they can be used for evil motives by the unethical people, for instance; illegal hunters can use the same drones to monitor and kill animals thus making them not be traced.

Due to the complexity and usefulness of drone questions have been raised whether Drones should be used in the ethical monitoring of people from the air without their knowledge. The answer to the question was hard to the point in which the drone might be an infringement of privacy or other human rights (for example freedom of association) was not clear.  When a survey on the violation of privacy by drone was done to the United Kingdom and Australia farmers many were happy to monitor, however, 58% of Australian respondent and 75% of United Kingdom agreed that satellite monitoring was an invasion of personal privacy (Sandbrook 2015).

Nevertheless, Snitch advocacy of using drones in collecting vehicle license plate numbers of vehicle on roads is only ethical when they target certain groups in the society otherwise can be taken as an invasion of privacy. The usage of drone might have led to the publishing of high-resolution images that were made without a person knowledge and permission; a good example is the Google StreerView which features pictures of passers-by and houses. Thus, the act of using drones to collect vehicle license might compromise the privacy of some people.

The use of drones can also cause confusion and hostility when employed in other places. Some people are conservatives and not open to change thus if drones are to be usedin those locations it might cause chaos. In some areas,people may tend not believe the reason for the introduction of Drone in a place thus it might generate suspicion and conspiracy theories. For instance in Tanzania there is an area prevalent with a local belief of a supernatural creature whom the society believe that paralyzes its victim, then swoops down and rapes them (Sandbrook 2015). Thus, introducing the drones,their might confirm theirsbelief.










Sandbrook, C. (2015). The social implications of using drones for biodiversity conservation.Ambio, 44(4), 636-647.


Zenko, M. (2013). Reforming US drone strike policies (No. 65).Council on Foreign Relations.