Civil liberties advocates want oversight in police robotics

November 26, 2019 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Some civil rights activists have raised questions on the oversight of police robotics programs after the Massachusetts State Police started testing the use of a dog-like robot.

The ACLU’s Kade Crockford says a robotic system like this provides an “almost limitless” set of possibilities for surveillance and weaponization.

Boston Dynamics vice president Michael Perry says the company envisions Spot being utilized in situations too dangerous for humans.

Perry says the company is using lease agreements with a clause requiring the robot not be used in any way that would “physically harm or intimidate people.”

Crawford says a terms of service agreement is “just insufficient,” and that we need laws and regulations to “establish a floor of protection.”

WBUR-FM reports that Massachusetts State Police is the first law enforcement agency to use Spot.