General public’s privacy concerns regarding drone use in residential and public areas : Empirical research report, May 2017

Research output: Book/ReportReportResearch


This report summarises the work conducted during the first phase of a collaborative project between the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Aalborg university (AAU) and the Danish transport, construction and housing authority (TBST).The main research goals were to gain insight into: 1) the public’s knowledge and attitudes towards drones, 2) the public’s privacy concerns regarding drone use in residential and public areas and 3) the public’s viewpoints on drone regulation. The report provides an overview of the work process and the main results of six focus group interviews. For the purpose of this report, the word ‘drone’ refers to partly autonomous flying vehicles, used for non-military purposes (i.e. civic or commercial drones).
Currently, there is limited empirical research that would indicate what kind of concerns citizens have, how intense these concerns are and how they might differ across different contexts. Answers to these questions are of the utmost importance in developing regulatory frameworks that would respect the public's concerns, while also allowing private companies, public organisations and drone hobbyists to enjoy the benefits of drone technology. While privacy risks associated with modern technologies tend to be less visible to citizens (e.g. capture and flow of online data), drones represent visible and audible machines. When confronted with a drone, people may feel threatened and observed, regardless of whether that is actually the case. Therefore, drones may well cause a fundamental shift in the public's understanding of privacy concerns in relation to modern technology.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSyddansk Universitet
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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