Tag Archives | Law

Should we criminalise robotic rape and robotic child sexual abuse?

Editor’s note: We want to thank John Danaher for publishing his thought provoking work under a Creative Commons License. Support him by following his blog or following him on Twitter. If you like his essays, you’ll love his Twitter account.

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I recently published an unusual article. At least, I think it is unusual. It imagines a future in which sophisticated sex robots are used to replicate acts of rape and child sexual abuse, and then asks whether such acts should be criminalised. In the article, I try to provide a framework for evaluating the issue, but I do so in what I think is a provocative fashion. I present an argument for thinking that such acts should be criminalised, even if they have no extrinsically harmful effects on others.… Read the rest

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New York Court Rules Chimpanzees Have No Human Rights

Sorry chimps, you don’t get the same rights as us humans, despite the best efforts of the Nonhuman Rights Project. Reuters reports on what would have been a truly ground-breaking decision had it gone the other way:

In the first case of its kind, a New York appeals court rejected on Thursday an animal rights advocate’s bid to extend “legal personhood” to chimpanzees, saying the primates are incapable of bearing the responsibilities that come with having legal rights.

A five-judge panel of the Albany court said attorney Steven Wise had shown that Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp who lives alone in a shed in upstate New York, was an autonomous creature, but that it was not possible for him to understand the social contract that binds humans together.

Expression of the Emotions Figure 18.png

“Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions,” Presiding Justice Karen Peters wrote.

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Are we innate retributivists? Review of the Psychological Evidence

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This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions. It has been republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Why do we punish others? There are many philosophical answers to that question. Some claim that we punish in order to incapacitate a potential wrongdoer; some claim that we do it in order to rehabilitate an offender; some claim that we do it in order to deter others; and some claim that we do it because wrongdoers simply deserve to be punished. Proponents of the last of these views are called retributivists. They believe that punishment is an intrinsic good, and that it ought to be imposed in order to ensure that justice is done. Proponents of the other views are consequentialists. They think that punishment is an instrumental good, and that its worth has to be assessed in terms of the ends it helps us to achieve.

The ethical debate about the merits of consequentialism vis-a-vis retributivism is long-running.… Read the rest

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A Nation Built on the Rule of Lawlessness

Paul George (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Paul George (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rick Salutin writes at the Toronto Star:

Barack Obama looked at his most clueless, responding to the riots and rage in Ferguson, Missouri. He hasn’t seemed so callow since the BP oil spill. Like he just wished it was over and could get on to the delights of his post-presidency. Or back to immigration reform and stalling that damn pipeline.

Using his slow voice, as if he’s explaining something so basic that it’s hard to understand, he declared that the U.S. is a “nation built on the rule of law” and added next day, he has “no sympathy” for those who go violent. The problem with this, at least for those in the streets, is the U.S. is not a nation of laws and resorts to official violence and/or illegality routinely.

In U.S. inner cities, this means surviving your dealings with cops. It is agony for a dad to tell his son, as Michael Brown Sr.

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Board says FAA has power over drones, can impose $10K fine

FAA-Logovia Gigaom:

In a setback for consumer drone advocates, the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday supported the FAA’s authority to impose a $10,000 fine on Raphael Pirker, a photographer who had taken pictures from the air over the University of Virginia.

In its ruling, which reverses an administrative judge’s decision in March to throw out the fine, the Board said the FAA has authority over any “aircraft,” even model aircraft or unmanned devices, and can impose fines accordingly.

The board’s decision comes at a time of ongoing controversy over what many perceive as a heavy-handed approach to drones on the part of the FAA, which has declared no one may use the devices for business purposes — including for activities like news photography and search-and-rescue — without a special waiver. But the agency has been slow to grant such waivers, even as drone-based businesses are taking off in Canada and elsewhere.

Several media outlets, including the New York Times, had filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Pirker and challenging the FAA’s blanket ban as a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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WATCH: Police in riot gear arrest California Walmart workers during sit-in over wages, firings

Police in riot gear arresting Walmart workers (KTLA)

Police in riot gear arresting Walmart workers (KTLA)

via Raw Story:

Police decked out in riot gear arrested Walmart workers and supporters after they blocked an intersection in front of a Pico Rivera, California store Thursday evening.

KTLA reports dozens of protestors were taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies wearing riot helmets and holding batons, several hours after the sit-in began, drawing hundreds protesting working conditions at the retail giant.

The sit-in followed a work stoppage  earlier in the day at the company’s Crenshaw Boulevard store in Baldwin Hills.

Employees in Baldwin Hills store stopped work and sat on the floor with tape over the mouths reading ‘strike,’ while holding signs saying, “Walmart stop the illegal threats.”

Walmart is currently under investigation for firing and threatening  employee activists.

Activists have been setting up protests at Walmart stores across the country, posting pictures on twitter at #walmartstrikers.

In Pico Rivers, some workers sat in the middle of the busy intersection holding signs and lit candles as deputies pulled them to their feet and loaded them into buses.

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Over 56,000 Fewer Marijuana Arrests in 2013

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Torben Hansen (CC BY 2.0)

via High Times:

The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2013 is out and shows that fewer than 700,000 people were arrested nationwide for marijuana for the first time in a decade. An estimated 693,482 people were arrested for possessing, growing, or selling marijuana in 2013. This is the lowest arrest total since 1998, when 682,885 estimated arrests occurred.
This total marks a 7.5 percent decline in marijuana arrests from 2012’s total of 749,825, meaning 56,343 fewer arrests occurred in the first full year that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana. In Washington, court filings for misdemeanor marijuana possession dropped from 5,531 in 2012 to just 120 in 2013, according to the ACLU of Washington. In Colorado, cases filed in state court with at least one marijuana offense plummeted from an average of over 700 per month to about 133 per month, according to the Denver Post.
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Never Get Busted Again

Hey Disinfonauts, thought you might like to know that we’ve uploaded Never Get Busted Again: Volume 1 Traffic Stops to YouTube. You can now watch it for free.

Watch Barry Cooper, a former police officer in Texas focusing on narcotics interdiction for eight years, teach you exactly what you need to know to stay out of jail. With over 800 felony and misdemeanor narcotics arrests, DEA training, and extensive experience with K-9s (drug dogs), Barry’s friendly, plain spoken and honest attitude makes it easy and entertaining for you to learn what you need to know.

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RoboLaw: Why and how to regulate robotics

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

via Robohub:

The issue is often raised whether robotics needs to be regulated. While some believe that there is no need to intervene because regulation may stifle innovation, others believe that indeed there is need to intervene since robotics may otherwise prove disruptive. However, both arguments are partial, and for this very reason wrong. Thanks to existing laws, a robot (like any other physical phenomenon) is already instantly regulated in the very moment materializes.

Contrary to popular belief, the law is faster than any technological development.

If a time machine was invented tomorrow and time travel became reality, every aspect of the machine would already be regulated before news of the device could be shared with the world. If the first time traveller did not come back from his or her trip to the past, that person’s spouse could, under existing legal frameworks, sue the inventors of the time machine and claim them liable for the accident.

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