One of the most prominent global issues is the security and reliability of the technology people use daily. No information is safe anymore. Wikileaks has given us a horrendous apprehension of this issue. We have seen the top-secret accounts of CIA agents and those of heads of government bodies accessed by adroit hackers sitting at their computers somewhere on the other side of the globe. Considering the possibility that the CIA may be in control of baleful Unmanned Combat Aerial Devices (UCADs) armed with weapons of mass destruction, this sinister fact is even more dismaying. One should never forget about the threatening danger of malevolent hackers with the potential to control devices we use daily. Furthermore, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are playing a role of increasing importance in the 21st century warfare.
Their biggest advantages are that they can be controlled remotely, even from vast distances, and they empower their users to conduct several military or civil actions without risking any physical injury or loss of lives. The lack of effective restrictive measures has led to the application of UAVs in the fields of reconnaissance, detection and armed strikes, which has also raised numerous issues, such as the potential threat posed by terrorist groups acquiring UAVs.
UAVs, also known as drones, are a component of a system called Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which consists of 2 additional parts ensuring the smooth operation of these devices. One of them is the ground-based controller of the drone, the other is the means of connection between the UAV and the controller.
Recently, several countries have decided to invest in purchasing, researching and developing this technology; the UK has been bulk buying drones in the last couple of years, while India, France, and Italy are also importing them on an enormous scale, according to Statista. Concerning the exportation of UAVs, Israel is one of the leading exporters of drones along with the USA. Drones deployed by the USA are known to have conducted the most strikes, crashes and accidents in the world. On the other hand, Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan have suffered the most of such rancorous attacks.
Efforts have been made to limit the use of drones, as a result of which states started trading secretly; developments and experiments have been conducted all throughout the world. Currently, one of the leading developers of UAVs is the USA, but India and Israel are also known to be experimenting and using them on a large scale based on an article from CBInsights. No comprehensive, successful step has been taken so far. In Resolution 1540 (2004), a manifestation of such efforts, the United Nations Security Council affirmed that the proliferation of, inter alia, unmanned systems capable of delivering nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and specially designed for such use do pose a threat to international peace and security. In the context of the resolution, unmanned systems are an integral component of the definition for “means of delivery” of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, together with “missiles and rockets.” The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies was another attempt aiming to limit the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery (UAVs belong to this category).
Of course, trading with drones and UCAV technology drives the economy. Besides, people can be persuaded with the deception of safety if they are shown biased statistics coupled with technological advancements, the global relevance of which they don’t even comprehend. Hence this issue can easily be used as a political tool. Nevertheless, whenever we evaluate the necessity of curtailment of the use of UAVs, we ought to consider multiple perspectives ̶ the idyllic image of mini-drones used solely for recreational purposes should not deviate our attention from the fact that countless innocent children and women are killed by armed drones.
By Sándor Felber