University of Baltimore Law Forum


Wayne Hicks


As technology rapidly advances, society is becoming more efficient and interconnected than ever before. Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS"), more frequently referred to as "drones," have taken on an increasingly involved role in the progression towards a more interconnected society. For example, drones are presently capable of improving our ability to monitor potentially devastating storms, improving wildlife conservation efforts, increasing efficiency in agriculture, transporting goods to underdeveloped countries, and providing several forms of vital assistance to law enforcement.

Although the potential for drones appears promising, the advancements of drone capabilities have been met with increasing concerns regarding the government's ability to keep pace and provide regulations on drone usage. Regulations are necessary to promote a balance between citizens' privacy rights and legitimate uses of drones that allow society to exploit this technological advancement. The concerns surrounding invasions of privacy by drones involve intrusions by commercial and recreational operators," but are mainly a result of the various drone uses by law enforcement agencies, primarily their use of drone surveillance to obtain evidence.

The use of drones is relatively new to our government and there are still many unanswered questions regarding how to promote the safe and effective use of these aircrafts. Consequently, the lack of sufficient regulations by the federal government has left state governments scrambling to put together guidelines on drone usage. As expected, the lack of comprehensive drone regulation has only increased the concern of citizens who fear that the unregulated use of drones puts their privacy rights at risk.



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