NYPD 'digidog' hostage surveillance
Occurred: February 2021
Images of an automated New York Police Department (NYPD) 'digidog' equipped with surveillance cameras responding to a hostage situation have drawn 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
Purpose: Strengthen law enforcement
Issue: Bias/discimination - race, ethnicity; Dual/multi-use; Privacy; Surveillance
Boston Dynamics. Spot website
Boston Dynamics. Spot terms and conditions (pdf)
NYC Government (2023). Transcript: Mayor Adams Makes Public Safety Announcement With NYPD Commissioner Sewell
ACLU (2021). Robot Police Dogs are Here. Should We be Worried?
Fact check 🚩
Snopes (2021). Does the NYPD Use Robot Dogs in Its Police Work?