Drones to the rescue! Police departments around the world have been using surveillance drones to monitor community quarantines during this season of the coronavirus, Covid-19. Drones are contributing to the safety of police officials when they are reminding people of physical and social distancing, since they don’t have to be in close contact with the people.
With the continued improvement in drone technology, there is an increasing number of features that make drones more enjoyable to operate, but more importantly, these new features make drones more practical, when needed, in difficult situations. The different kinds (and sizes) of drones and the impressive range of cameras, sensors, and megaphones, can expand the reach of limited police forces or emergency service teams.
Skeptics & Believers
In our own country, we have skeptics who consider drones as a threat to privacy. They believe people use drones as a tool to spy on them and others. Some see them as a way of verbally forcing people to do something they think is unnecessary, and thereby violating peoples’ right of privacy.
Although there are other countries where people have some of these same concerns, there are countries such as France, where people view drones in a very positive way. For instance, a French judge refused to ban surveillance drones in Paris. The decision challenged the claims that the drones were gathering personal data and the judge determined that drones should be allowed to freely serve the community in such difficult times as Covid-19.
France has very strict guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic. If people were found outside their house or apartment they have to fill out and print a government form and are subject to a fine unless they can show such paper-work to the police. People who venture outside are required to print out and fill in a government form and are subject to a 135 Euro fine if they can not show one to the police. Although a full curfew has not been imposed, the government has deployed 100,000 police to monitor people’s movements and make sure people who are outside keep their distance. Police forces are using drones to fly over public spaces and identify residents not adhering to the regulations.*
A Senate report stated that immediately after France imposed the strict stay-at-home orders, the police carried out 251 surveillance flights nationwide between March 24 and April 24.*
Drones have become increasingly acceptable to more and more people as they witness
the positive contributions drones have, and are making, and will make, in the future. Thi is why surveillance drones have been used by police departments to monitor community quarantines, not only in France, but around the world.
Harry McNabbon, “Surveillance Drones: French Judge Refuses to Ban Drones in Paris for Monitoring Social Distancing” (May 07, 2020)
Harry McNabbon, “France Uses Drones to Enforce Coronavirus Restrictions” (March 24, 2020)