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Opinion document: Ethics and Legality in the employment of drones

The proliferation of unmanned systems during the last years is raising different questions related to the legality of its employment both in civil use and military operations.
Civil applications are subject to established laws. To guarantee the security of employment is one of the main priorities set in the initial regulations promulgated in our country. The public concern is two folded: the technical safety of the activity, and the security against eventual illegal uses of the systems.
The discussion on the legitimacy of the employment of drones in military operations began more than ten years ago once these assets started to be armed. The very same debate presented historically by new systems able to change combat procedures. In this specific case several questions are introduced due to the possibility that robotic systems, with high level of autonomy, could lead to loosen the reluctance for employment of military force. On the other hand, the collateral damages produced by unmanned systems actions present the need to regulate specifically its employment in accordance with the law of armed conflicts.
However, from our own perspective, we do not see anything new on the employment of drones in military operations. In our opinion, the main question is more related to the risk to minimize the impact of warfare at political and social level than to the ethics of the employment of unmanned systems. This point could finally lead to the spread of what is already known as “game boy warfare”.

Author: Carlos Calvo González-Regueral


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Ethics and Legality in the employment of drones
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