Use Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Issues And Discussion Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Drones, Law, Crime, Vehicles, Criminal Justice, United States, Supreme Court, Government

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/11

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned aerial drones can carry a significant amount of materials and hardware, inclusive of an arsenal of Hellfire missile batteries. There are those that find the concept of deploying these armed and unmanned units into the United States for “security and law and order” quite perplexing. Their murderous conducts within the jurisdictions of independent nations that are non-hostile parties to American interests have raised troubling contentions in the United States as well as in the international community. With the Obama administration bent on aggressively pursuing the use of drones to spy and locate targets compared to bombing runs, it is posited by some that the government can use these machines for targeted killings (Shane, 2012, p 1).
However, before any discussion on the matter can be done, it would be prudent to examine the parameters of the subject by defining the issue and mechanism at hand. Popularly known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”, drones are essentially “flying robots.” These types of aircraft are controlled from an external guidance source. Though more often equated with military operations, these machines have also been used in other areas such as rescue operations, vehicular traffic monitoring, and in firefighting. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is establishing guidelines for the use of drones (WhatIs, 2015, p. 1).
Legal commentator argue on the possibility that the use of these drones will skirt around the tenets of the Fourth Amendment. This particular provision safeguards the rights of people to be “safe in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The amendment has been a bulwark against capricious government actions after its enactment in 1791. After 200 years of technological advances, there is little to fear that the power and potency of the Fourth will be diluted even with the introduction of these drones into more domestic settings.
In early 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the FAA bill that permits the use of drones in American airspace. These developments have led to apprehensions that the use of these unmanned aerial machines would result in the infringement of civil rights, particularly on the rights to privacy. The fear is not completely unfounded-the US Supreme Court rendered three decisions in the 1980s that stated that the government does not infringe on the Fourth Amendment with the use of manned aerial vehicles.
In California v Ciraolo, the High Court ruled that police elements that saw and established the presence of marijuana plants in the backyard of the suspect with the use of a manned flight at 1000 feet did not infringe on the right of the suspect under the Fourth. This ruling was followed by Florida v Riley, where the justices concluded the same in rendering the decision. Lastly in Dow Chemical Co v United States, the Court ruled in favor of the government in a case of taking pictures of an industrial plant (Villasenor, 2012, p. 1).
Though the US Supreme Court has shown favor towards the use of these machines, there are still voices even within the august chamber that harbor apprehensions on their deployment. Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that without adequate and string safeguards, the use of these drones in America might result in the establishment of an “Orwellian” society.
In a lecture in Oklahoma City University, Justice Sotomayor noted the capacity of these machines to eavesdrop on one’s conversations even though the machine is miles away. According to Sotomayor, the use and the innate capability of these drones must motivate the nation to rethink for the things and instances that one would consider as private (Roberts, 2014, p. 1).
Nevertheless, the “battleground” will not be in the august halls of the criminal justice system, but in the towns and cities across the United States. Koebler (2012) noted that in the case of Rodney Brossart, the legal conflict was engaged in the airspace over the suspect’s farm. The case began when six cows strayed onto the suspect’s farm. Brossart, a “sovereignist” strayed political orientation, held to the position that since the cows onto his property, then the cows should be his possession. When the police came to his ranch, Brossart and two relatives drive police off the property with high powered guns.
After more than 16 hours in a stalemate, local police used an agreement with the United States Homeland Security Department and used a drone to pin down Brossart’s location on the property. After establishing the suspect’s location, Brossart was arrested; Brossart stated that the act of using the drone violated his rights. However, legal analysts believe that the use of the drones is no different from the use of the police in using manned flights.
At present, approximately 300 law enforcement agencies as well as research organizations have “temporary licenses” from the US Federal Aviation Administration to be able to legally deploy unmanned aerial machines. At present, the drones are used by the Homeland Security Department and in border patrol functions (Koebler, 2012, p. 1). Nevertheless, it is believed that on the whole, the rulings with regards to the Fourth will prove to be effective deterrents to attempts to dispute a person’s right to privacy. Withal, what will be argued is whether the potency of these protections will survive the rapid fire change in technologies and still remain relevant in the future (Villasenor, 2012, p. 1).


Koebler, J. (2012). “First man arrested with drone evidence vows to fight case.” Retrieved 13 February 2015 from <
Roberts, J (2014). “Supreme Court justice warns of drones creating ‘Orwellian’ future.” Retrieved 13 February 2015 from <
Shane, S. (2012). “The moral case for drones.” Retrieved 13 February 2015 from <
Villasenor, J (2012). “Will drones outflank the Fourth Amendment?” Retrieved 13 February 2015 from <
WhatIs (2015). “Drone” Retrieved 13 February 2015 from <

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"Use Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Issues And Discussion Essays Examples," Free Essay Examples -, 11-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 21-May-2022].
Use Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Issues And Discussion Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 11, 2020. Accessed May 21, 2022.

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