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R2-D2: Mall Cop 139

theodp writes "'The night watchman of the future,' explains the NY Times' John Markoff, 'is 5 feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and looks a lot like R2-D2 – without the whimsy. And will work for $6.25 an hour.' California-based Knightscope has developed a mobile robot known as the K5 Autonomous Data Machine as a safety and security tool for corporations, as well as for schools and neighborhoods. 'But what is for some a technology-laden route to safer communities and schools,' writes Markoff, 'is to others an entry point to a post-Orwellian, post-privacy world.'"
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R2-D2: Mall Cop

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  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:10AM (#45573903)

    I'm sure its nothing that a can of spray-paint and some bubble-gum can't deal with.

    Don't get to cocky about your options in an orwellian/cyberpunk future.

    The corps in turn are sure your spray-paint and bubble-gum tactic is nothing 99.999% reliability facial-recognition + cell-phone tracking + behavioural-and-movement-pattern-recognition + god-knows-what can't deal with by tracking you down, sueing you into next wednesday, locking your creditcards/bankaccounts for that specific mall (all all others connected to the same megacorp and data-exchange conglumerate), putting you on a special surveillance & potential terrorist threat list, ban you from accessing gated communities of type X,Y and Z until further notice and upping your rent for being a threat to society all for spraying and gumming up their new survelliance & minion control bot toy.

    Just saying.

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <> on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:29AM (#45574041) Homepage Journal

    In particular, they need to delete "yesterday's tape" except for events submitted to the human police for a prosecution.

    This is what Canadian law requires for business information not needed for explicit, agreed-upon business purposes. Bell, for example, can't divulge my address to a third party without my permission, and must delete it after the business relationship has come to an end.

    We may need a law or a decision setting out the limits of what one implicitly consents to in entering a privately owned place open to the public: different jurisdictions are more or less protective of shoppers' privacy in malls, where the problem has first shown up.


  • by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:44AM (#45574613)

    They have the same law enforcement power that you and I have, assuming you're not a law enforcement officer. Whether you choose to exercise it or not you have the power to affect a citizen's arrest in most jurisdictions.

    The biggest difference between a law enforcement officer making an arrest and a citizen doing the same thing is liability. The law enforcement officer is likely to receive qualified immunity such that if the officer followed his or her training and department policies no personal liability will attach to the officer. You, on the other hand, will face the full brunt of any mistakes you make.

    Short of conducting an actual arrest, most law enforcement interactions are based on voluntary cooperation until a threshold is crossed giving the law enforcement officer probable cause to make a formal arrest.

    Anyone can have a voluntary interaction with any other person. I could approach you and ask for consent to search your car. You would almost certainly refuse such a request. What gets weird is when most people are approached by a figure of authority, such as a person in a uniform, they tend to comply. A good, from the police department's perspective, law enforcement officer can get almost anyone to consent to a search.

    The issue is that until a warrant is issued or an arrest is made there is very little difference between a law enforcement officer, a uniformed security guard or me asking to search you or your car. There are some areas related to preservation of evidence and officer safety that give law enforcement some additional latitude but those situations generally require the officer has legal reason, and thus authority, to seize you meaning you are not free to go. The detention short of an arrest is one of the things law enforcement can do that you, I and the mall security guard should not attempt.

    The other big difference is that we, collectively or collectively enough, have decided to give law enforcement officers guns, sticks, handcuffs and a system to make it more and more difficult to refuse the voluntary interaction.

    But you, Joe_Dragon, and that mall security guard have a lot more law enforcement authority than you may believe. Liability and safety concerns, though, generally lead to employer policies prohibiting mall security guards from doing anything other than Observe and Report [].

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN