Robocop or Minority Report?

The San Francisco Police Department provoked public backlash recently after authorities gave it the green light to use lethal remote-controlled robots. Exploding robots were to be used in rare cases such as in Dallas in 2016 where a gunman was killed using a bomb delivered by robot. We say “were” because the city has reversed its decision, calling for further review of the proposal. Arguing that there is a place for killer robots in his opinion piece for Commentary, Noah Rothman says that hysteria about robots taking over the world might be driven by Hollywood movies rather than reason. 

Speaking of something out of Hollywood … 

We’ve written a bit about privacy before. It’s no secret that cataloging who knows what about you is an occupational hazard of life in the 21st century. The capability to track cars and phones and conversations is fraught with ethical questions, not the least of which includes dystopian shifts toward “predictive policing”. 

Christopher Slobogin, Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University joined the Federalist podcast to discuss the double-edged sword of hi-tech law enforcement. Slobogin points out that prior to the 1900s, courts defaulted to the idea that actions conducted in public were not subject to the Fourth Amendment. Even in more recent decades, it was assumed that if you handed your data to a third party, the risk that it might share your information with others was baked into the transaction.

Now that the ability to collects scads of data on everyone at all times exists, Slobogin says legislation is needed to equip police with what they need, while also safeguarding citizens from undue scrutiny or harassment. So less Hollywood and more sober-minded consideration? Who wouldn’t want that?

In related news:

Suspected Colorado gay club shooter faces 305 charges including a number of hate crimes

A Trump organization has been found guilty of fraud.

And… The Pentagon has unveiled a new stealth bomber.

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