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Ethics for a Digital Age, Vol. II

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Edited By Bastiaan Vanacker and Don Heider

The second volume of Ethics for a Digital Age contains a selection of research presented at the fifth and sixth Annual International Symposia on Digital Ethics hosted by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication. Thematically organized around the most pressing ethical issues of the digital age from a professional (parts one and two) and a philosophical perspective (part three), the chapters of this volume offer the reader a window into some of the hot-button ethical issues facing a society where digital has become the new normal. Just as was the case in the first volume, this collection attempts to bridge applied and theoretical approaches to digital ethics. The case studies in this work are grounded in theory and the theoretical pieces are linked back to specific cases, reflecting the multi-methodological and multi-disciplinarian approach espoused by Loyola’s Center of Digital Ethics and Policy during its eight years of existence. With contributions by experts from a variety of academic disciplines, this work will appeal to philosophers, communication scientists, and moral philosophers alike.

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4. Drones in the National Airspace (Kathleen Bartzen Culver)

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4.  Drones in the National Airspace

KATHLEEN BARTZEN CULVER

Introduction

As a battle began to build in North Dakota in 2016, pitting members of North American Indian tribes against a company planning to build a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline, The Guardian, an international news organization, covered the protests. It relied in part on a new technology just recently coming into use in journalism but expected to grow in prominence, thanks to recently clarified Federal regulations. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are commonly known as drones but have been rarely seen in the production of news stories. A Guardian video covering the pipeline protest used drone footage shot by a Native American man who had joined the fray (Whitworth, Lafleur-Vetter, & Dedman, 2016). Fifteen seconds into the Guardian video, the audience is taken from ground-level shots to a drone’s aerial view of the scene, showing protesters and their vehicles dotted alongside a road, as well as the vastness and emptiness of the surrounding North Dakota terrain. This aerial perspective and the sense it gave of the space added both information and context. However, the use of drones to cover the protest was not without controversy. For instance, just two months later, sheriff’s officers claimed the drone “came after” them and shot at it with what they termed “less-than-lethal ammunition” (Morton County Sheriff’s Department, 2016). This incident signifies impending controversies and ethical questions that will arise...

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