Autonomy in weapons systems, and AI in security and defence
- Caribbean: Region urged to be fully prepared to deal with lethal autonomous weapons: The Jamaica Observer covers the recent two-day Caricom Regional Workshop on Achieving the Universalization of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, focussing in particular on remarks made by Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General, Reginald Armour, and by Executive Director of the Trinidad-based Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jones, on the risks posed by autonomous weapons systems. The discussions are also covered by the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
- Israel: Legion-X: Israel’s Elbit demonstrates man-machine teaming from UAS to ground robots: Elbit Systems recently demonstrated ‘networked tech’, which the company calls ‘Legion-X technology’, designed to link ‘a variety of unmanned systems.’ The demonstration included Thor drones and the Rook unmanned ground vehicle, ‘working in combination to observe, investigate, track and target.’ Elbit says that the Legion-X system ‘enhances lethality’ and ‘increases mobility, while minimizing human engagement’. A short video of the Legion-X systems in is available here. Last year, Elbit launched the ‘LANIUS system’, a loitering munition with ‘threat classification capabilities’, which also operates using the Legion-X system.
- US: US Army Seeking AI System That Predicts Enemy Actions: The Defense Post reports that the U.S. Army is ‘asking the defense industry for an artificial intelligence system that can predict enemy actions’, with the system being able to provide ‘real-time predictive visualization of how the threat situation could evolve over the next few minutes to hours.’
Facial recognition, biometric identification, surveillance
- EU/Africa: The human cost of AI in EU-Africa’s migration surveillance: Eva Baluganti, migration officer at EuroMed Rights, writes on two recently published reports, which ‘show how the deployment of AI to manage migration flows actively contribute to the instability of the Middle East and North African region as well as discriminatory border procedures and the deaths of thousands each year.’ More detail on these reports in the ‘Reports’ section below.
- UK: Correspondence: Surveillance camera technology: ethical and security issues: The Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner in the UK, Fraser Thompson, has written to the Minister for the Cabinet Office to discuss a possible review for the use of surveillance cameras. This proposed review comes in light of the recent investigation from Panorama and BBC on the high susceptibility to hacking of surveillance cameras from certain Chinese companies.
- US: Biden’s Flip-Flop on Warrantless Surveillance: This piece compares the statements made by Joe Biden, President of the US, fifteen years ago and now on section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Having himself agreed that this section would give the President excessive powers to spy on citizens, violating various rights including the right to privacy. The piece further lists out evidence of rampant misuse of this Act since, including warrantless spying through mass collection of data.
- Philippines: Philippines unveils new CCTV system command center, plans facial recognition procurement: Biometric Update reports on a USD 5.5 Million Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) project to create a CCTV system command center in the nation’s capital. It further reports that the MMDA ‘also intends to procure software with artificial intelligence for facial recognition, license plate recognition, and other capabilities.’
AI, algorithms and autonomy in the wider world:
- South Africa: OPINION | Filling the void: South Africa’s urgent need for AI policy: This piece by News24 calls attention to the need for meaningful engagement regarding policy and regulation of ‘epoch defining’ artificial intelligence in South Africa. Government documents, and political parties have not been able to address the policy implications of artificial intelligence and the piece warns against this continued apathy.
- US: Your School’s Next Security Guard May Be an AI-Enabled Robot: Last month at a public school in Sante Fe, a pilot program of a security surveillance robot was launched. The robot ‘patrols the multi-building campus grounds 24 hours a day’ and all week. At this stage, Mario Salbidrez, executive director of safety and security at Santa Fe Public Schools mentions that he does not oppose the pilot programme but he also ‘does not have enough compelling information to say yes to it either.’
- EU: Civil society calls on EU to protect people’s rights in the AI Act ‘trilogue’ negotiations: The European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission have commenced discussions that aim to ‘reach a provisional agreement on a legislative proposal that is acceptable to both the Parliament and the Council.’ Civil society organizations have issued a statement that ‘calls on EU institutions to ensure that the Regulation puts people and fundamental rights first in the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act).’
- EU: All eyes on EU: Will Europe’s AI legislation protect people’s rights?: Sarah Chander, Senior Policy Adviser at European Digital Rights (EDRi) writes about some of the challenges that have become apparent during the final phase of negotiations of the EU’s AI Act. In particular she focuses on the protection of human rights.
- EU/US: Data Protection: European Commission adopts new adequacy decision for safe and trusted EU-US data flows: This week, the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision for the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework. This means that ‘US companies will be able to join the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework by committing to comply with a detailed set of privacy obligations.’
- Report: Europe’s Techno Borders: This report, by EuroMed Rights and Statewatch, explores the development and deployment of new technologies that are ‘fundamental to the EU’s system of border control and migration management’, and finds that ‘the use of new technologies for migration and border control – the development of technoborders – not only presents substantial challenges for the protection of human rights in and of itself. It also creates certain ‘path dependencies’ that have substantial influence over future developments.’
- Report: Artificial Intelligence: The New Frontier of the EU’s Border Externalisation Strategy: This report from EuroMed Rights is ‘study on the use of Artificial Intelligence and other types of technologies in the external dimension of EU migration, with a focus on the deployment of EU-funded technologies for border control.’ The report finds that ‘nowadays, border externalisation takes many shapes, one of them being the outsourcing of surveillance technologies to third countries, which is emerging as an increasingly central element in the external dimension of migration control.’
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