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Date: May 2022
From: Fordham Urban Law Journal(Vol. 49, Issue 4)
Publisher: Fordham Urban Law Journal
Document Type: Article
Length: 17,183 words
Lexile Measure: 1920L

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Introduction 763 I. The Legal Context Governing the Use of UAVs by Police 768 II. Public Opinions of UAV Monitoring 777 III. Data and Methods 780 A. Survey Instrument 780 B. Sample Characteristics and Limitations 782 C. Multivariable Analyses 784 IV. Results 788 A. Survey Responses 788 B. Multivariable Analyses Predicting Support for Drone Usage 788 V. Discussion 793 Appendix A 803 Appendix B 804 Appendix C 805


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, UASs, drones) are being used by a wider variety of organizations, private citizens, and nations than ever before. (1) Although initially introduced into the public's awareness via media and policy discussions of military drone attacks in war zones, UAVs have the potential to decrease costs and augment capabilities for many industrial, security, and safety applications. (2) For example, UAVs are currently at work patrolling the large campuses of some corporations, aiding search and rescue efforts in inaccessible areas, and even supporting border security. (3) Given these possibilities, many law enforcement agencies have deployed or are considering drones for patrol, surveillance, and security functions. (4)

UAVs are attractive to police departments because they may reduce the costs of flight when compared with traditionally-piloted craft, like helicopters. (5) Although there is some disagreement about the extent of actual cost savings in the literature, the cost to acquire and fly a UAV may be much lower than a piloted craft, depending upon the capabilities of the drone. (6) These decreased operational costs may enable the use of flight for new functions, such as the use of UAVs to collect intelligence when police are faced with hazardous terrain or dangerous situations. (7) UAVs may also facilitate increased monitoring or photography of residential neighborhoods or public spaces, such as parks, if police agencies opt to utilize the aircraft in this manner. (8)

Due to their surveillance capabilities, UAVs can also prompt potentially serious privacy and transparency concerns. Drones can be used for surveillance by equipping the aircraft with cameras for recording pictures or high-definition video. (9) Although somewhat less common at the present moment, drones may also be enhanced with specialized microphones or utilize other noise-reduction methods for recording audio. (10) The potential intrusiveness of UAV surveillance may further be amplified by linking UAVs with other advanced technologies, such as facial recognition, infrared lenses, or heat sensors." Moreover, detailed information about individuals' activities may also be revealed by connecting different sources of data together, such as by linking the products of UAV surveillance with other police and government databases or even with consumer data. (12) Since data linking could allow the viewing of an individual's actions from multiple vantage points and over sustained periods, it greatly increases the information that is readily available to police and other government entities and moves beyond the inferences that may be drawn from officer observations or even single uses of advanced technologies, like drones. (13) And advanced UAVs may stay airborne for long periods of time and collect data from a height that renders the device...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A705927140