The Domestic Use of Drones: An Ethical Analysis of Surveillance Issues

Jonathan West, James S. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Drone surveillance can be regarded either as a justifiable, impartial practice serving the interests of all or as an oppressive technique catering to the interests of some at the expense of others. This analysis is an effort to weigh the ethical prospects and problems in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by asking whether surveillance of civilians is ethical. To address this question, classical philosophical and modern behavioral approaches to ethics are used. The inquiry begins with the importance of the issue, followed by its evolution and current status. After describing the method of analysis, the article examines arguments for and against domestic monitoring. The unique utility of drones can accomplish much in the public interest while simultaneously creating moral hazards. The conclusion discusses accountability standards, model legislation provisions, and regulatory criteria for aerial vehicle surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Administration Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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