Police Use of Robotic Technology Raises Civil Liberty Concerns
by Douglas Ankney
While Sleepy Hollow had the Headless Horseman, the Massachusetts State Police (“MSP”) had the headless dog. Spot — a one-time member of MSP’s bomb squad — is a semi-autonomous robotic dog that MSP leased for three months from Boston Dynamics.
Fearing the potential abuse of robotics technology and the secretive introduction of the technology into police arsenals, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (“ACLU-MA”) called attention to Spot during an interview last November on radio station WBUR. “We just really don’t know enough about how the state police are using this,” said Kade Crockford, director of ACLU-MA’s Technology for Liberty program. “And the technology that can be used in concert with a robotic system like this is almost limitless in terms of what kinds of surveillance and potentially even weaponization operations may be allowed.”
But according to MSP’s contract with Boston Dynamics, Spot cannot be used to physically harm or intimidate people. MSP spokesman David Procopio defended the use of robotic technology, saying, “Robot technology is a valuable tool for law enforcement because of its ability to provide situational awareness of potentially dangerous environments.”
ACLU-MA isn’t primarily worried about Spot but stated the concern is the absence of transparency regarding law enforcement’s rules surrounding the use of robots as well as the lack of legislation protecting civil liberties, civil rights, and racial justice in connection with artificial intelligence.
In Singapore, the four-legged Spot was deployed in a two-week trial in May 2020 to assist with the partial pandemic lockdown, from monitoring social distancing to heeding essentials-only travel, such as grocery shopping or solo exercising. Breaches of lockdown in that country can bring fines and even jail time.
Source: zerohedge.com, latimes.com
More from this issue:
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- Sixth Circuit Vacates Firearms Possession Conviction; Government Showed Jury Unauthenticated Prejudicial Facebook Video Not Admitted as Evidence, by Matthew Clarke
- Tenth Circuit: Deputy ‘Trying to Help’ Doesn’t Make Search Permissible Under Community Caretaking Exception to Warrant Requirement, by Douglas Ankney
- Attacking the Guilty Plea: Establishing Prejudice in the Guilty Plea Context, by Dale Chappell
- Report Finds NYPD Officers Accidentally Deploy Tasers 25% of the Time, by Douglas Ankney
- California Supreme Court: § 459.5(b) Prohibits Charging Shoplifting and Theft for Same Property, by Douglas Ankney
- Fourth Circuit: IAC for Counsel’s Bad Advice That Open Plea Would Allow Appeal Denial of Motion to Suppress, by Dale Chappell
- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: GPS Monitoring Unreasonable When It Doesn’t Further Any Governmental Interest, by Douglas Ankney
- D.C. Circuit Reverses Nearly 50-Year-Old Murder Conviction Over Faulty Hair Evidence, by Dale Chappell
- Minnesota Supreme Court: Non-Identifying Information About CI Must Be Disclosed Upon Request, by Anthony Accurso
- Michigan Supreme Court Announces Court Must Inform Defendant of Consecutive Sentencing Authority When Accepting Plea, by David Reutter
- Massachusetts Supreme Court: Officer’s Handling of Cellphone Exceeded Scope of Inventory Search, by Anthony Accurso
- Seventh Circuit Reverses Denial of Motion to Suppress Because Police Lacked Reasonable Suspicion to Frisk, by Douglas Ankney
- FOIA Redaction Limbo: How Low They Will Go, by Edward Lyon
- U.S. District Court Chooses Judicial Remedy, Instead of § 2255, to Allow Out-of-Time Appeal, by Dale Chappell
- California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Abused Discretion Denying Compassionate Release Where Statutory Criteria Are Met, by Dale Chappell
- Colorado Supreme Court: Warrant Allowing General Search of Cellphone Unconstitutional Violation of Particularity Requirement, by Douglas Ankney
- Eleventh Circuit Holds Georgia Terroristic Threats Conviction Overbroad for ACCA, by Dale Chappell
- Policing is irrelevant for public safety — but these alternatives are proven to work, by Justin Podur/Independent Media Institute, AlterNet.com
- Myth of Technology as an Equalizing Force in Criminal Justice, by Anthony Accurso
- Kansas Supreme Court: District Court Failed to Apprise Defendant of Right to Jury Trial, by Douglas Ankney
- Fourth Circuit Requests Further Information on Stingray Device to Determine Whether It Violates Fourth Amendment Rights, by Anthony Accurso
- Oklahoma Enacts Jailhouse Informant Law, Joins Other States, by Dale Chappell
- South Carolina Supreme Court Overturns Murder Conviction Where State Presented Improper Testimony Regarding Trace DNA Evidence, by Douglas Ankney
- Iowa Supreme Court Announces That ‘Good Cause’ in Newly Amended Appeals Statute Means ‘a Legally Sufficient Reason’, by Douglas Ankney
- South Carolina Supreme Court: State Cannot Appeal Guilty Plea, by David Reutter
- Two New Forensic DNA Standards Added to the OSAC Registry
- Big Brother, as Well as Big Business, Are Tracking You: the Snitch in Your Own Pocket, Purse, or Belt Holder, by Edward Lyon
- Neuroscience and Criminal Cases, by Jayson Hawkins
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court Vacates Conviction on Double Jeopardy Grounds, by Douglas Ankney
- Eighth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief Decades After Conviction Because Prosecutor Destroyed Evidence Prior to Trial, by Dale Chappell
- Eleventh Circuit Vacates Firearm Conviction Based on Rehaif, by Douglas Ankney
- Washington Supreme Court: Defendant Detained for Search at Border Was ‘In Custody’ for Miranda Purposes, by Douglas Ankney
- Never Convicted but Never Exonerated, Either, by Edward Lyon
- Fourth Circuit: Erroneous Career Offender Sentence Correctable in First Step Act Resentencing, by Dale Chappell
- Government Study Finds Facial Recognition Sorely Lacking in Accuracy, by Dale Chappell
- Idaho Exoneree Fights for Wrongful Conviction Compensation, by Edward Lyon
- Fifth Circuit Clarifies AEDPA Time Limit Tolling for Louisiana Prisoners Filing Federal Habeas Corpus, by Dale Chappell
- Missouri Shows Indifference to Human Life by Proceeding with Execution Amid Pandemic, by Douglas Ankney
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- FBI Provides Fitness App in Exchange for Users’ GPS Coordinates, by Douglas Ankney
- Strategies to Help Police Address Citizens With Special Needs, by Anthony Accurso
- Devastating Consequences of Chicago Gang Database – And No Way to Be Removed, by Bill Barton
- New Method to Determine Time of Death for Forensic Investigators, by Kevin Bliss
- Using Doctor-Prescribed Marijuana Could Send Some People Back to Prison, by Douglas Ankney
- Minnesota Lab Figures Out How to Tell Between Legal Hemp and Illegal Marijuana, by Dale Chappell
- Unrest After Kentucky Cops Shoot Sleeping Black Woman to Death in Her Bed While Serving No-Knock Warrant, by Edward Lyon
- Small Forensics Lab Finds Niche in Analyzing Tiniest Bits of Evidence, by Dale Chappell
- $8 Million Settlement for Wrongfully Convicted and Imprisoned Missouri Man, by Kevin Bliss
- Police Use of Robotic Technology Raises Civil Liberty Concerns, by Douglas Ankney
- New York Police Act With Impunity During Protests, by Kevin Bliss
- News in Brief
More from Douglas Ankney:
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- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Announces Reckless Prosecutorial Misconduct Constitutes Overreaching Sufficient to Trigger Double Jeopardy Protections, Oct. 15, 2020
- Indiana Supreme Court Announces New Analytical Framework for Review of Substantive Double Jeopardy, Overruling Richardson, Oct. 15, 2020
- Fifth Circuit Reverses Conviction Based on Prejudicial Prosecutorial Misconduct, Oct. 15, 2020
- California Court of Appeal: ‘Violent Victim Rule’ Doesn’t Require Defendant to Have Had Knowledge of Victim’s Propensity for Violence, Oct. 15, 2020
- Ninth Circuit: Mere Passage of Time Doesn’t Attenuate Evidence From Initial Constitutional Violation, Oct. 15, 2020
- N.J. Supreme Court Announces Defendant Has Right to Question Cooperating Witness About Plea Deal and Possible Sentence Exposure Even When Witness Faced Same Exposure as Defendant, Oct. 15, 2020
- Missouri Supreme Court: Circuit Court Erred in Excluding Expert Witness Testimony Regarding Accuracy of Eyewitness Identification, Oct. 15, 2020
- California Supreme Court Reverses Murder Conviction and Death Sentence Because Police Failed To Honor Defendant’s Request for Counsel, Oct. 15, 2020
- Door Bells and Funeral Bells, Oct. 15, 2020
More from these topics:
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- Government Treats Protesting Cities as Enemies of the State, Oct. 15, 2020. Protests, Police State-Surveillance.
- Door Bells and Funeral Bells, Oct. 15, 2020. Racial Discrimination, Police State-Surveillance.
- The Junk Science Cops Use to Decide You’re Lying, Sept. 15, 2020. junk science, Lie Detector Tests.
- Minnesota Cops Use Contact Tracing to Track Protestor Networks, Sept. 15, 2020. Protests, Police State-Surveillance.
- Government Agencies Expand Use of Private Companies to Bypass Constitution, Sept. 15, 2020. Electronic Surveillance, Public versus Private Employees.
- Why We Need to Keep the Communications Decency Act Intact, Aug. 28, 2020. First Amendment, rights, Electronic Surveillance.
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- Triaging Evidence Can Lead to Oversights and Misinterpretation, Aug. 21, 2020. junk science, Electronic Surveillance.
- EFF Releases Database that Tracks Law Enforcement’s Use of High Tech Surveillance Gear, Aug. 19, 2020. Databases, Police State-Surveillance, Electronic Surveillance.