New York police 'digidog'

February 2021
Updated: February 2022

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.

The Honolulu Police Department has since been found to have been using Spot to take the temperature of homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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