NYPD 'digidog' hostage response draws complaints

Occurred: February 2021

Images of an automated New York Police Department (NYPD) 'digidog' equipped with surveillance cameras responding to a hostage situation drew complaints from the local community, rights activists, and politicians. 

The NYPD used the Boston Dynamics-manufactured Spot dog to surveil a house in the Bronx in which two men were holding two others hostage. The suspects were later arrested. 

The incident prompted concerns about the technical capabilities of the robot, the scope for misuse and abuse, and its use in lower-income communities. 

It also raised questions about transparency, with the ACLU asking why the NYPD had failed to list it on its public disclosure of surveillance devices.

Operator: New York Police Department (NYPD)
Developer: Hyundai Motor Group/Boston Dynamics
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Strengthen law enforcement
Technology: Robotics
Issue: Bias/discimination - race, ethnicity; Dual/multi-use; Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance

Research, advocacy 🧮

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: February 2021
Last updated: October 2022