San Francisco votes on the lethal force of police robots • The Register

San Francisco votes on the lethal force of police robots • The Register

Next week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a policy proposal that would allow the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to deploy robots authorized to kill people.

No such use is currently planned, according to the SFPD, which described the policy proposal as an endorsement of the continued use of robotic systems that it has gained over the past eight years.

The proposal addresses California Assembly Bill 481, which would require law enforcement agencies to obtain approval from the appropriate legislative body for the use of military equipment.

To comply with state law, the SFPD has developed a draft policy supporting its use of a military-style kit and is seeking the blessing of city supervisors. Vote on whether to adopt the proposal on first reading scheduled [PDF] On November 29th.

as such Reported by the local missionSuperintendent Aaron Peskin initially tried to exclude the deadly force option from the policy, but the SFPD hit the line adding: “Robots shall not be used as the use of force against a person.”

In its place, the policy now reads, “Robots will only be used as a lethal option of force when the threat of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other option of force available to Special Forces protection forces.”

Peskin did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he told Mission Local that the Civilian Protection Force has argued that there may be scenarios in which lethal force is the only viable option.

When asked, a San Francisco Police Department spokesperson explained why this policy change was needed log In an email:

The robots identified in the draft policy include several remotely piloted robots designed to handle heavy objects, breach walls, ordnance disposal, reconnaissance, and surveillance. These include: Remotec F5A, 6A and RONS models; QinetiQ Talon and Dragon Runner; iRobot FirstLook; and ReconRobotics Recon Scout ThrowBot.

None of these units are designed to carry firearms. A scenario considered was then abandoned by the Oakland Police Department – but at least some of them can be used to kill.

In 2016, for example, Dallas police strapped a pound of C4 explosives to a Northrop Grumman Remotec Androx Mark V A-1 robot and drove the robot into a wall the sniper — who killed two police officers and wounded others — was using it for. hide. Then the police I detonated the explosive devicedestroying the wall and killing the suspect, leaving the $151,000 robot with only minor damage to its arm.

Considering the botnet is essentially stripped of bomb disposal bots and the fact that these are controlled by a remote human operator, it seems unlikely that policing in the SFPD would change much with the lethal force option of a bot.

Back in 2016, after the robot blew up the sniper in Dallas, Joe Eskenazi Wrote In San Francisco Magazine, “Deploying a killer bot is a legal and technological crossover Rubicon. “

This hasn’t happened yet in San Francisco because these robots don’t carry out kill orders autonomously, without a human operator in the loop – the language of power politics applies to an “unmanned, remotely controlled machine”.[s]SFPD bots are not killer bots, they are remotely operated tools, and if they end up being used to cause harm, such incidents must be assessed for propriety as any use of force.

As for self-guided killer robots, when these devices become a practical and politically sensible option for US law enforcement, it will be a much more feasible legal and technical shift. In the meantime, try not To die by motorized car. ®

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