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U.S. police deploys robot dogs to assist law enforcement but there are privacy concerns


A recent report by the New York Times details how the New York police have been using robot dogs to aid crime fighting in the city. The latest story is that of two men who were kidnapped in an apartment in the Bronx area. The two kidnappers had entered the apartment pretending to be plumber but soon took the occupants hostage and tied them up for several hours. One of the victims successfully escaped from the armed men and then contacted the police.

When the police arrived the scene, because they were not sure if the gunmen were still inside the apartment,they deployed a robotic dog named Digidog. The robot is equipped with a camera and lights and allows the police to remotely view the scene through two-way communication. The police team also disclosed that the robot dog can see clearly in the dark thanks to night vision camera.

In the Bronx case, the police used Digidog to understand that the room was empty as the gunmen had fled the scene. They are still searching for the two robbers who stole a mobile phone and $2,000 in cash and burned one of the victims with a soldering iron.

In an unusual manner, the case has generated some concerns bothering on privacy. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Digidog a mobile monitor on Twitter.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that allowing robots to do police work would have an impact on prejudice, mobile surveillance, hacking, and privacy issues. Others worry that robots may cooperate with other technologies as weapons.

“We have seen that many police stations have not explained the situation to the communities they serve when adopting powerful new surveillance technologies and other technologies, let alone soliciting opinions from the public.” He said, “So openness and transparency are of the utmost importance.”

While these concerns raised shows what the emerging robotics technology may face in the future, we can’t throw away the fact that they bring immense benefits. Keith Taylor once served in the SWAT team and currently teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He said that a mobile device that can collect intelligence remotely in unstable situations “has great potential” to reduce the number of casualties.


“It is important to question the police, but the benefits of this matter seem obvious,” he said. “Its purpose is to help the police obtain the information they need without a fatal exchange of fire.”

The New York Police Department is one of the three police stations in the United States where this robot dog is deployed. The robot in question is Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot which went on sale last year. New York Plolice chose to name theirs Digidog. nitor. “It’s very noisy and it shines.” He said, “It’s easy to get people’s attention.”Boston Dynamics


We expect the use of robots to prevent police officers from getting into dangerous situations to become a routine in the near future.

In 2016, the police confronted a gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas and eventually killed him with a robot.

In 2015, a man with a knife threatened to jump off a bridge in San Jose, California. The police used the robot to provide him with a mobile phone and a pizza, and finally arrested him.

The previous year, after a gunman locked himself in a motel room, Albuquerque police used robots to “deploy chemical weapons” and eventually subdued him.




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