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Recently, an incident took place in New York when two residents became hostages after a home invasion. One victim escaped this incident and went to the police. Not wanting to have their officers in the middle of a deadly situation, the NYPD chose to deploy a robotic dog named Digidog. Here’s more information about Digidog and the privacy concerns this…

The NYPD’s new surveillance robot raises privacy concerns

| Mar 22, 2021 | Civil Rights

Recently, an incident took place in New York when two residents became hostages after a home invasion. One victim escaped this incident and went to the police. Not wanting to have their officers in the middle of a deadly situation, the NYPD chose to deploy a robotic dog named Digidog. Here’s more information about Digidog and the privacy concerns this robot is raising.

What is Digidog?

Most people would assume that a crime-fighting robot named Digidog sounds likes something from a science-fiction movie. Instead, Digidog is an actual robot used by the New York City Police Department. Digidog features lights, cameras, and a two-way communication system to help law enforcement communicate with anyone near this robot.

Why Digidog has many people concerned

Police departments that utilize Digidog can help their officers feel safer. Instead of having police officers in the line of fire, Digidog becomes a type of first-line defense against crime. However, not everyone is as excited about a 70-pound robot patrolling their streets.

Many people have concerns that Digidog, with its surveillance capabilities, is a major violation of their civil rights. There are also notable concerns about the possibility of hackers being able to control Digidog or it forming a bias against certain people over others. Another fear is police departments throughout the nation potentially weaponizing these robots.

The New York City Council also recently passed the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act. One of the main requirements of this act is that the NYPD must be transparent about any tools it uses for technology and surveillance.

However, many people still have understandable concerns about a robot keeping a watchful eye over them.