In the Air: Examining the Historical, Legal, and Social Dimensions of Drone Domestication
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- Date created
- May 2018
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The Program in Science, Technology, and Society is a dynamic interdisciplinary major that provides students with a liberal arts education for the twenty-first century. The Program's affiliated faculty represent over a dozen departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, History, Law, Management Science and Engineering, Political Science and Sociology. The only major at Stanford to offer both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, STS majors develop depth within two or three fields of study while fostering a broad understanding of the technical and social dimensions of science and technology., The Program in Science, Technology, and Society is a dynamic interdisciplinary major that provides students with a liberal arts education for the twenty-first century. The Program's affiliated faculty represent over a dozen departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, History, Law, Management Science and Engineering, Political Science and Sociology. The only major at Stanford to offer both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, STS majors develop depth within two or three fields of study while fostering a broad understanding of the technical and social dimensions of science and technology.
- Trinh, Elizabeth Nguyen
Drones are a revolutionary and disruptive technology that has already affected and will continue to influence existing legislation, programs, and infrastructure in the United States. Drones were created as a military tool, but they have been repurposed for civilian and commercial applications in nonmilitary contexts. As drones have been adopted in the civilian realm for nonmilitary purposes, new actors have shaped and molded drones by changing how drones are viewed and used. Thus, drones have evolved due to repeated alterations and transformations by different audiences. Drones are becoming more commonplace in society, and while drone usage offers numerous benefits, there is also a multitude of issues and challenges associated with their widespread adoption. However, there is still a lack of federal legislation on drones. This thesis explores the historical military origins, as well as the current roles and implications, of drones in order to answer the questions: what are the historical, legal, and social dimensions of drones? Even though drones have been repurposed for nonmilitary functions, how does the military narrative of drones affect the legal and social aspects of domestic drone use? How should that information, framed through an STS paradigm, be employed in order to impact drone policy? This thesis is a historical and theoretical discussion on drones that examines when and why were drones created, how drones have changed and evolved, what are the new capabilities of drones, and for what purposes are drones now used. Because a comprehensive legal framework does not yet exist, this thesis offers a 5-step model that is informed by science and technology studies for drone policy considerations. The 5 steps of the model are: 1) Identify actor(s), 2) Identify and disaggregate possible applications, 3) Identify threats and vulnerabilities, 4) Analyze and evaluate potential risks, and 5) Rank priorities for policy considerations.
- Preferred Citation
- Trinh, Elizabeth Nguyen. (2018). In the Air: Examining the Historical, Legal, and Social Dimensions of Drone Domestication. Honors Thesis. Stanford University, Stanford CA.
- Related Publication
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- Clarke, R. (2014). Understanding the drone epidemic. Computer Law & Security Review,30(3), 230-246. doi:10.1016/j.clsr.2014.03.002
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- Finn, R. L., & Wright, D. (2012). Unmanned aircraft systems: Surveillance, ethics and privacy in civil applications. Computer Law & Security Review,28(2), 184-194. doi:10.1016/j.clsr.2012.01.00
- Padmanabhan, A. (2017, March). Civilian Drones and India’s Regulatory Response. Retrieved from https://carnegieendowment.org/files/CP_303_Ananth_Drones_Final_Web.pdf
- Perritt, H. H., Jr., & Sprague, E. O. (2016). Domesticating Drones The Technology, Law, and Economics of Unmanned Aircraft. Routledge.
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