Silicon Valley is regarded as a pioneering region in IT. A proposal by the local police, however, envisages the use of war technology.
The San Francisco Police Department's draft policy could allow them to use robots to kill in dangerous situations. This is reported by the local newspaper Mission Local. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a kind of combined city and district council, will therefore decide on the proposal next week.
Specifically, the directive is intended to regulate how and under what circumstances the municipal police authority is allowed to procure and use military equipment. The basis for this is a Californian law that regulates a corresponding obligation to obtain consent.
The robots are small, remote-controlled tracked vehicles that are intended for use in war, for example, for disposal of explosive ordnance or for reconnaissance using cameras and microphones. In addition, they can theoretically also be equipped with explosive substances and the like. Other police authorities in the USA are said to have planned this beforehand or even partially implemented it. The robots are remote-controlled and do not yet decide autonomously whether to kill, in contrast to new drones that are intended for use in war.
According to the report, the Council member responsible for the draft, Aaron Peskin, wanted to explicitly state that these robots should not be used for "deadly use of force". However, this was changed under pressure from the police. "Robots will only be used as an option for deadly force when there is an imminent threat of death to members of the public or officials." The option to kill by the robot is therefore explicitly provided.
The author says:
If the policy is passed, San Francisco will cross a clear red line, and the police force will become more of a military machine than it already is, focused on targeted killings rather than enforcing laws.
There are already armed robots for military use. If the directive is accepted, it is only a matter of time before these weapon systems end up with the police. That in turn should also arouse desires in this country, for the supposed self-protection of police officers. The introduction of such systems does not protect, but only makes killing easier.
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