We Robot: Confronting Automated Law Enforcement

April 21st, 2012

Confronting Automated Law Enforcement
Lisa ShayGregory ContiWoodrow HartzogJohn Nelson & Dominic Larkin
Discussant: Mary Anne Franks



  • What does automation do to protect values of law enforcement?
  • Definition of automated law enforcement- use input from unattended sensors to determine crime has been or will be committed, and takes responsive action, these systems capable of imposing some form of punishment
  • Example- speed cameras
  • Do we accept perfection?
  • How to deal with system errors?
  • Discusses social costs
  • Rigidity- no play in the joints or to show mercy.
  • Ceballos – California 1974; Spring-loaded shot gun.
  • Tireless surveillance that never goes to sleep (Omniveillance)- if human, you have to look away, eventually. with automation, never need to look away.


  • In law are we looking for mercy, or some kind of explicit allowance for tolerance
  • Build in buffer? Close-enough approximation so we are comfortable with it.


  • What about automated law enforcement who can engage in unbiased searches? — Danielle Citron, automation bias, bias can be programmed.