The federal government has used military-grade border patrol drones like this one to monitor protests in US cities.
Drones of all sizes are being used by environmental advocates to monitor deforestation, by conservationists to track poachers, and by journalists and activists to document large protests.
As a political sociologist who studies social movements and drones, I document a wide range of nonviolent and pro-social drone uses in my new book, “The Good Drone.” I show that these efforts have the potential to democratize surveillance. But when the Department of Homeland Security redirects large, fixed-wing drones from the U.S.-Mexico border to monitor protests, and when towns experiment with using drones to test people for fevers, it’s time to think about how many eyes are in the sky and how to avoid unwanted aerial surveillance.
One way that’s within reach of nearly everyone is learning how to simply disappear from view. Crowded skies Over the past decade there’s been an explosion in the public’s use of drones – everyday people with everyday tech doing interesting things. As drones enter already-crowded airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration is struggling to respond.
The near future is likely to see even more of these devices in the sky, flown by an ever-growing cast of social, political and economic actors.