Civil Rights & Constitutional Law


UN Panel Agrees to Move Ahead With Debate on 'Killer Robots'

U.S. News

A U.N. panel agreed Friday to move ahead with talks to define and possibly set limits on weapons that can kill without human involvement, as human rights groups said governments are moving too slowly to keep up with advances in artificial intelligence that could put computers in control one day.


The boy genius tackling energy’s toughest problem

USATODAY

A solar-powered electric vehicle from the Dutch's Stella cars will be able to run for months by charging its batteries using the sun's rays, according to its developers. Taylor Wilson, 17 of Reno, Nev., explains his fusion reactor during the White House Science Fair in Washington on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. In the past year or so an unorthodox think-tank called Helena has been quietly bringing together an eclectic cross-section of brilliant individuals (mostly bright-eyed millennials) with ambitious goals. They're focusing on the world's biggest and most insurmountable problems: climate change and global security issues such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and nuclear proliferation. The elite and edgy group includes Nobel laureates, Hollywood stars, technology entrepreneurs, human rights activists, Fortune-list executives, a North Korean refugee and more.


Stephen-Hawking-says-technology-end-poverty-urges-caution.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Daily Mail

A report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic calls for humans to remain in control over all weapons systems at a time of rapid technological advances. It says that requiring humans to remain in control of critical functions during combat, including the selection of targets, saves lives and ensures that fighters comply with international law. 'Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used,' said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. 'Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines.' Some have argued in favour of robots on the battlefield, saying their use could save lives.


Stephen Hawking warns that robots could replace humans

Daily Mail

A report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic calls for humans to remain in control over all weapons systems at a time of rapid technological advances. It says that requiring humans to remain in control of critical functions during combat, including the selection of targets, saves lives and ensures that fighters comply with international law. 'Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used,' said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. 'Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines.' Some have argued in favor of robots on the battlefield, saying their use could save lives.


New iPhone brings face recognition (and fears) to masses

Daily Mail

Apple will let you unlock the iPhone X with your face - a move likely to bring facial recognition to the masses. But along with the roll out of the technology, are concerns over how it could be used. Despite Apple's safeguards, privacy activists fear the widespread use of facial recognition would'normalise' the technology. This could open the door to broader use by law enforcement, marketers or others of a largely unregulated tool, creating a'surveillance technology that is abused'. Facial recognition could open the door to broader use by law enforcement, marketers or others of a largely unregulated tool, creating a'surveillance technology that is abused', experts have warned.


Apple iPhone X's FaceID Technology: What It Could Mean For Civil Liberties

International Business Times

Apple's new facial recognition software to unlock their new iPhone X has raised questions about privacy and the susceptibility of the technology to hacking attacks. Apple's iPhone X is set to go on sale on Nov. 3. The world waits with bated breath as Apple plans on releasing a slew of new features including a facial scan. The new device can be unlocked with face recognition software wherein a user would be able to look at the phone to unlock it. This convenient new technology is set to replace numeric and pattern locks and comes with a number of privacy safeguards.


New iPhone brings face recognition --and fears -- to the masses

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Apple will let you unlock the iPhone X with your face -- a move likely to bring facial recognition to the masses, along with concerns over how the technology may be used for nefarious purposes. Apple's newest device, set to go on sale on Friday, is designed to be unlocked with a facial scan with a number of privacy safeguards -- as the data will only be stored on the phone and not in any databases. Unlocking one's phone with a face scan may offer added convenience and security for iPhone users, according to Apple, which claims its "neural engine" for FaceID cannot be tricked by a photo or hacker. While other devices have offered facial recognition, Apple is the first to pack the technology allowing for a three-dimensional scan into a hand-held phone. But despite Apple's safeguards, privacy activists fear the widespread use of facial recognition would "normalize" the technology and open the door to broader use by law enforcement, marketers or others of a largely unregulated tool.


This country just became the first to give a robot citizenship

USATODAY

Sophia is a robot that also happens to be one the newest citizens of Saudi Arabia. The unprecedented move has left some human rights activists upset. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Sophia is a robot that also happens to be one the newest citizens of Saudi Arabia. The unprecedented move has left some human rights activists upset.


The LAPD will use drones—and people are pissed

Mashable

Los Angeles' Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in "tactical missions" conducted by SWAT. The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement. As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.


Should the LAPD test drones? Police Commission is set for final vote on controversial proposal

Los Angeles Times

In the two months since the Los Angeles Police Department revealed that it wants to try flying drones, the unmanned aircraft have been the source of an often heated back-and-forth. Advocates say the drones could help protect officers and others by using nonhuman eyes to collect crucial information during high-risk situations. Skeptics worry that use of the devices will steadily expand and include inappropriate -- or illegal -- surveillance. The LAPD's harshest critics want the drone program scrapped before it even takes off. On Tuesday, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD will vote on whether to allow the department to test drones during a one-year pilot program.