Drones for Good: Technology, Social Movements and The State ~ @PatrickMeier @uaeD4G

Posted on February 5, 2015 By

I started following Patrick Meier through Twitter and thus his approaches to Social Networking to mitigate disasters. For me it was a no-brainer that he would jump on drone UAV technology as a social networking tool. I saw the potential immediately, but these questions of privacy were driven home this past Christmas when my nephew received a DJI Phantom Quad Copter with HD Camera.  Within minutes we were peering into people’s back yards, from 50-100 feet up, viewing and controlling the drone with his Ipad! We could fly this drone virtually anywhere. ~Bruce Biles

Discussions surrounding use of drones, or UAVs, have typically “centered on their use by governments, often for the purpose of surveillance and warfare.” But as colleague Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick rightly notes in his new study, “[t]his focus on the state’s use obscures the opportunity for civil society actors, including social movements, to make use of these technologies.” Austin thus seeks to high-light civil society uses, “ranging from art to digital disruption.” The latter is what I am particularly interested given my previous writings on the use of non-lethal UAVs for civil resistance and for peacebuilding.

When I began writing my doctoral dissertation some 7 years ago, scholars and activists were particularly interested in measuring the impact of mobile phones on social movements and civil resistance. Today, civil society is also turning to UAVs as evidenced during the recent protests in Hong Kong, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Ferguson. “This innovation represents a technological shift in scale for citizen journalists, human rights advocates, and social movement actors,” writes Austin. “As such, it requires a sophisticated assessment of the ethical issues and policy terrain surrounding its use.” Read more.

drone_breakdown_enAre there other principles that should factor into the “Drones for Good” frame-work? If so, what are they? I’ll also be asking these questions in Dubai this week where I’m speaking at the Drones for Good Festival.

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