Recently the University of Birmingham Policy Commission published their report, called ‘The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK’. The Commission, consisting of leading academics of the field, some of whom had extensive military and security experience debated the role and importance of the drones or – as they are officially designated in UK-parlance, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
At the conclusion of the debates, they reported that unarguably the RPA will become an integral part of both the military and law-enforcement capabilities of the UK (and, by extension, of most countries), providing a range and level of options unattainable through more conservative means.
Turning to the possible/probable negative impact of the RPA, they note the danger posed to individual’s privacy, the increase facilitation of terrorist activities and intelligence operations, as well as the danger posed by accidents, out of control drones and such.
As possible solutions for the above-mentioned issues, the Commission suggests vigorous parliamentary regulation and oversight of the use of military-purpose RPA, an enhanced protection of the individuals private life, government limitation and control of RPA-related exports and a ban on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (i.e. by requiring permanent human control over the RPA).
University of Birmingham Policy Commission, ‘The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/research/policycommission/remote-warfare/final-report-october-2014.pdf October 2014, last accessed on October 22, 2014
Commissioners http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/impact/policy-commissions/remote-warfare/members-of-the-commission.aspx last accessed on October 22, 2014