Drones to be armed? Civil-liberties defender sounds alarm

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An organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world has issued a warning about the possibility raised by one surveillance vendor that it could arm its drones with tasers.

It is the Electronic Frontier Foundation that reports Axon, which is a taser and surveillance vendor, has proposed a “solution” to school shootings.

The company’s strategy is for a “remote-controlled flying drone armed with a taser,” EFF reported.

But it warned, “For many, many reasons, this is a dangerous idea. Armed drones would mission-creep their way into more every-day policing. We must oppose a process of normalizing the arming of drones and robots.”

The organization said in an online position paper, “Police currently deploy many different kinds of moving and task-performing technologies. These include flying drones, remote control bomb-defusing robots, and autonomous patrol robots. While these different devices serve different functions and operate differently, none of them – absolutely none – should be armed with any kind of weapon.”

And why?

“Mission creep is very real. Time and time again, technologies given to police to use only in the most extreme circumstances make their way onto streets during protests or to respond to petty crime. For example, cell site simulators (often called ‘Stingrays’) were developed for use in foreign battlefields, brought home in the name of fighting ‘terrorism,’ then used by law enforcement to catch immigrants and a man who stole $57 worth of food. Likewise, police have targeted BLM protesters with face surveillance and Amazon Ring doorbell cameras,” the foundation reported.

The organization explained it long has opposed arming drones or robots, whether the weapon is lethal or less than let…

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