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San Francisco Police Get Power To Use ‘Killer Robots’ in Case of Emergency

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: December 02, 2022, 13:10 IST

San Francisco, California

Now, San Francisco police can use 'killer robots' (Photo Credits: File Image)

Now, San Francisco police can use 'killer robots' (Photo Credits: File Image)

San Francisco police will now be able to use remote-controlled robots to kill in emergency scenarios after official approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco police will now be able to use remote-controlled robots to kill in emergency scenarios after official approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors. Despite opposition from civil liberties and other police oversight groups in the city on the US west coast, the measure was approved by a vote of 8-3 after a contentious two-hour debate.

Although the authorities are satisfied with the current policy, it must still win approval in the second round before being submitted to the mayor for formal confirmation. Only a small number of senior officials have the authority to order the use of robots as a form of lethal force. One of three top police leaders will need to approve the use of the robots, and the tactic will only be used in extreme scenarios.

The Washington Post reports that the recently approved policy will permit the use of lethal robots by the police “when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and officers cannot subdue the threat after using alternative force options or de-escalation tactics.” The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has stated that it neither possesses robots that are already armed with weapons nor has any plans to do so. Nevertheless, if lives are in danger, the agency may send out robots armed with explosive charges “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient belligerent, armed, or dangerous suspects," according to SFPD Spokesperson Allison Maxie.

The SFPD developed a draught policy, which set off the whole ordeal. The policy essentially seeks to authorise the use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) to kill suspects who are assessed to pose a threat. The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project’s executive director, Albert Fox Cahn, voiced concern about the development and warned that it could set a risky precedent in the United States.

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According to Al Jazeera, the San Francisco Public Defender’s office cautioned that providing police with the authority to kill community people remotely goes against the city’s progressive beliefs in a memo earlier this week. The office requested that the board reinstall wording that forbids police from employing robots against someone as part of a violent act.

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first published:December 02, 2022, 13:10 IST
last updated:December 02, 2022, 13:10 IST
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