Yah, These ARE The Droids We Have Been Looking For And Fearing

I did not always write about it so much here, but I got fairly deep into “Deflategate” analysis and law when it was going on. Because it was fascinating. I met so many lawyers, professors and others, it was bonkers. Have remained friends with many, if not most, of all of them. One is Alexandra J. Roberts, which is kind of funny because she was not necessarily one of the major players. Yet, she is one of the enduring benefits I have come to love from the bigger picture.

Today, Ms Roberts advises of some R2D2 like cop robots. I “might” have engaged in some frivolity in response. But, really, it is a pretty notable moment.

Police droids on the ground? Police drones in the air? You think Kyllo will protect you from a Supreme Court with Neil Gorsuch on it? Hell, you think Merrick Garland would not have done what he has done all of his life and sign off on ever greater law enforcement collection and oppression? Not a chance in hell. Neither Gorsuch, nor Garland, would ever have penned what Scalia did in Kyllo:

It would be foolish to contend that the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been entirely unaffected by the advance of technology. For example, as the cases discussed above make clear, the technology enabling human flight has exposed to public view (and hence, we have said, to official observation) uncovered portions of the house and its curtilage that once were private. See Ciraolo, supra, at 215. The question we confront today is what limits there are upon this power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.

So, with no further adieu, here, via the Bo Globe, is the deal:

There’s a new security officer in town. But this one runs on batteries, not Dunkin’ Donuts.

Next time you’re visiting the Prudential Center, don’t be alarmed if you bump into a large, rolling robot as it travels the corridors where shoppers pop in and out of stores.

No, it’s not an oversized Roomba on the loose. It’s the “Knightscope K5,” an egg-shaped autonomous machine equipped with real-time monitoring and detection technology that allows it to keep tabs on what’s happening nearby.

Marvelous! R2D2 is making us all safer!

Nope. Sorry. Safe streets, broken windows, and “cop on the beat” policing cannot be accomplished by a tin can.

Just Say No to this idiotic and lazy policing bullshit. The next thing you know, the tin can will be probable cause. And Neil Gorsuch will help further that craven “good faith” reliance opinion in a heartbeat.

Parting Shot: Holy hell, we have our first reference to hate crimes for anti-cop robot violence! See here.

Frankly, having been in the field for three decades, I think the thought that cops are proper “hate crime” victims is absurd. Honestly, all “hate crimes” laws are completely absurd as they create different and more, and less, valuable classes of human crime victims. This may sound lovely to you in the safety of your perch, where you want to lash out at the evil others.

But if the “all men are created equal” language in the Declaration of Independence is to be given the meaning that so many demagogues over American history assign to it, then the “hate crimes” segregation and preference of one set of human victims over others, is total unfathomable bullshit.

That is just as to humans. Let’s not even go to the “victim’s rights” of squeaky ass little R2D2 tin cans.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

13 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It would be a mistake to confuse these monstrosities with entertainment droids.  Tommy Lee Jones’s line in the first Men in Black comes to mind as a description of these bots: “No m’am, we in the FBI have no sense of humor we’re aware of.”  And then there’s that adjective, “autonomous”.

    Just say, No, would be a good idea, if quixotic.  The bots will have a full complement of whatever surveillance software is on some wish list, and it will be more intrusive than a body camera.  More like uprated versions of body scanners, with facial recognition and movement pattern recognition s/w.  The surveillance tools are also unlikely to be limited to reading only the visual light spectrum.  And who says they will be limited to looking at people?  There are cars, buggies, canisters, doorways, buildings, etc. to peer through and analyze.

    ET may have phoned home, but these bots will likely have real time wireless access to extensive databases.  It is entirely predictable that they will soon be armed and armored.  And presumably there will be attempts to extend the laws regarding dealing with and interfering with real police to these bots, from lying to obstruction to resisting.  The 4th and 5th Amendments are already on life support; these devices will not improve the patient’s condition.

    • bmaz says:

      Everything you describe has already had the ground plowed for it, whether by “benign” monitoring cameras, facial recognition cameras, photo speed cameras, photo red light cameras and general surveillance cameras.

      Heck, we have license plate reader cameras in fake cactuses here. Courts have found all, with little exception, fine. So, put them all together with super sensitive microphone pickups into R2D2 and let the tin can wander the streets? It is not just coming, it is starting to be here.

      I have long groused about the “slippery slope” predicates that led to this point, but if they can collectively be okay, how can the composite hell not be now? I have no good answer for that.

  2. Ed Walker says:

    But the team wants to make us all safer! That’s what really counts. Reality always takes a back seat to business-speak.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So what attitudes and personality will be programmed into our friendly, reliable, never-malfunctioning droids?  The ones who want to keep us safe.  Tony DiNozzo or Leroy Jethro, Joe Arpaio or the Sheriff of Nottingham?

    Will proprietary trade secrets and national security mean that the droids will be immune from suit when they inevitably malfunction and damage those they are intended to protect? Will they automatically be members of the police union or will our autonomous friends be able to opt out?

  4. person1597 says:

    Offer to send them on a royal vacation! A king’s ransom of oil and ammunition! Tell them they’re like nothing else in the world… And worth no less than $300 billion.
    http://www.gdls.com/products/tracked-combat/MUTT.html

    “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”.

  5. Evangelista says:

    Those who monitored ‘anecdotal milieu’ reactions to the ‘banking crisis’ following the criminal-activity induced 2008 credit-economy implosion and then banks’ self-shielding economic destructions of non-criminal victims, with all of the foreclosing, robo-signing taking and CDS insurance fraud gaming for collaterals (leveraged and leverage-purchased properties), to dodge losses for ‘synthetic CDO’ evaporation losses, along with government payoff to the perpetrators and lack of prosecution, or even interest in prosecution, might have noticed, especially after the airing of the not-so-peculiar-when-you-reflect comment that Goldman-Sachs was “Doing God’s Work” (centralizing ownership of assets andproperties in the possessions of “God’s Chosen” Elite), that there was a big jump in the credibility “stock” of Adolph Hitler and Co. (which appears to remain and to be being sustained).  Substantial numbers, some with considerable reluctance, began, and continue to lean, if not step, toward, if not to, “Hitler and Co. were not wrong” positions, assigning now, if they did not before, “most” bankers to be Jews.

    I suspect robo-droid policing may bring a similar social-change, but bringing a return of respectability to the dress of the KuKluxKlan, along with a tolerance for terrorizing (can we make “intippidating” a word?) robo-droids.

    I suspect that a new “r-d-word” will not replace the “n-word” in tomorrow’s vocabularies, but I could be wrong…

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