Drone threats to privacy: possible infringements


  • Deividas Kiršys




Drones, UAS, Privacy, violations, infringements, classification, taconomy


The purpose of this article is to reveal what privacy breaches may result from the use of small drones (also known as drones or UAS). Many researchers studying the relationship between drone use and privacy acknowledge that UAS pose a threat to privacy, but in reaching such a conclusion, authors simply presume the impendence on the basis of one or few examples and do not discuss in detail specific privacy violations that can be caused by drone use. The article, based on Daniel Solove’s taxonomy of privacy violations, shows that the use of drones violates privacy in all ways. UASs are information gathering tools that can come in a variety of sizes and configurations; they can record both video and sound, capture thermal changes in the environment, detect chemical traces, capture wireless data traffic. Both public and private actors may want to use this technology to create a systematic and large-scale monitoring infrastructure that can have a cooling effect on society in the long run. However, combining drones with huge databases and aggregation software can lead to very unequal distribution of power in society; data may be prone to misuse by powerful entities, who may misinterpret individual behavior using biased algorithms and create wrongfully founded prejudices. Unmanned aerial vehicles can be combined with facial recognition software that will allow real people to be associated with their profiles in cyberspace, which may contribute to constant surveillance not only on the internet, but also in the real world. Furthermore, there are concerns about the security of the data collected, the vulnerability of UASs to cyber-attacks, and their use as tools to conduct cyber-attacks. In addition to systemic problems, the ability of drones to be assigned to any individual at any angle provides opportunities for more frequent voyeur attacks. The article concludes that drones are a serious threat to privacy and outlines the main reasons why current regulation may not be sufficient to avoid the threats associated with drone use.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

Kiršys, D. (2021). Drone threats to privacy: possible infringements. Law Review, 1(23), 64–87. https://doi.org/10.7220/2029-4239.23.4