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Civilian users perspectives on drones and regulation

Patricia Cruz



The article “Imagining the social future of drones” by Elisa Serafinelli from University of Sheffield looked at how drone users views on drone usage and drone regulation. 

Drones built for civilian purposes are unmanned, remotely controlled  aircraft that are generally fitted with cameras. They are used for commercial and recreational purposes, as well as professional use such as journalism. They are an increasingly social phenomenon and the use of drones by civilians creates concerns about personal privacy, ethics, safety, and security. 

Despite ample research on technical aspects of drone use and  use of drones in war zones, not much research exists on civilian users’ perspectives and experiences using drones. This study seeks to fill that gap, and also probes the thoughts of civilian users.

The framework the research draws on is a blend of  Taylor’s concept of social imagery (2004) and Pink’s notion of visual practices (2013). Research from media studies, and science and technology studies is used to guide the background.

Building on the concept of social imagery, the author argues that drone innovation applications have the potential to affect the way societies operate, like internet and the smartphone did. Social imagery refers to ways people imagine their social lives and norms. 

Serafinelli notes that for a period of time, the coverage of portrayal in the media was negative, and most people gain their knowledge of the new technology through media rather than educational sources. The dynamic, since then, has been of control and vision. Privacy and data protection were major ethical concerns.

However, drones have also been used for clearly ethical purposes, such as search and rescue operations and crowd management, and other humanitarian actions. Also, based on an European study on privacy, data protection, and ethical risks looked at safety rather than other concerns as a primary focus. 

The study was a qualitative one. The fieldwork was undertaken through computer-mediated interviews. The sample was 20 participants: 20 civilian users and 10 developers of drones. The civilian users were recruited from online platforms and communities. The interviews data was organised and coded in Nvivo.

The overarching research questions were 1) What do users think about their uses of drones? 2) How do developers imagine the drones they produce will be used and 3) What do users and developers think constitutes acceptable drone use?

Participants shared a general feeling that the government will further legislatively restrict the use and misuses. They also felt that due to issues such as drone strikes in war zones and incidents such as canceling flights due to drones. They also acknowledged that some may fear being spied without consent, but considered these fears unfounded. 

Drone developer participants felt that the main concern for future technological advancements will be related to use of drones in delivery services. Regarding privacy, developers noted that the general public does not consider data mining enough.

For government restrictions, the participants felt that there might be the requirement of passing a theory test, getting a flyer ID, registering the drone with a local Aviation Authority, or getting operator ID. The last one felt already overwhelming. The users complained about the expenses and considered the tests too complicated. They did, however, unanimously agree on a future where drones are safe to the community. 

Three participants compared drone to a car, noting that things can go very wrong if the user does not know what they are doing. However, other participants believe that the rules, no matter how restrictive, do not prevent illicit use and that it will always exist. 

Civilian user participants, on reflecting on their drone use, enjoyed the ability to ‘make things fly’ and noted that the experience of the flight is conveyed by high-quality cameras. Developer participants noted that over-focus on improving technical qualities leaves out socio-cultural effects. The research does not design technologies specifically for amateurs and hobbyists. 

In conclusion, although the study did not focus on privacy, the issue emerged from the interviews of both users and developers. The future, then, is full of fear of being observed. The widespread use of drones will indeed inevitably result into increased collection and use of personal data. The author also notes that users and developers may perceive invasion of privacy in visual terms, and also emphasize the visual opportunities that are positive,like security, rescue, firefighting, wildlife conservation etc. The users also reported a strong fascination with birds eye, creative perspectives.

The study “Imagining the social future of drones” by Elisa Serafinelli is in Convergence. (open access).

Picture: Untitled by Jonathan Lampel.

License Unsplash. 

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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