Banning the Weaponization of Bots and Drones: Sabadosa Bill

State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, along with State Senator Michael Moore, has introduced a bill that would prohibit the manufacture, sale, and operation of robotic devices or drones mounted with weapons. This bill, titled “An Act to Ensure the Responsible Use of Advanced Robotic Technologies,” aims to address the potential misuse and threats posed by advanced mobile robotics. The legislation, if enacted, would be the first of its kind in the United States and has garnered support from leaders in the robotics industry and civil rights organizations.

The bill contains three main provisions. Firstly, it bans the sale and use of robotic devices with weapons. Secondly, it prohibits the use of robotic devices to threaten or harass individuals. Lastly, it bans the usage of robotic devices to physically restrain individuals. Violations of these provisions could result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, in addition to penalties imposed under existing laws.

Sabadosa drew inspiration from an open letter issued by Boston Dynamics and other technology companies expressing concern about the potential misuse of their creations. However, she also emphasized the importance of not hindering the use of modern tools by those responsible for public safety. The bill includes requirements that a warrant is needed for robots to enter private property, except in exigent circumstances. It also mandates that information about law enforcement agencies’ usage of advanced robotic technology must be made available to the public under Massachusetts public records law.

Senator Moore commented on the need for regulations that keep up with the pace of innovation, specifically addressing the risks of misuse and weaponization of robotic technology. He believes that if passed, this legislation can serve as a model for responsible robotics regulation across states and even internationally. The bill allows for case-by-case waivers from the state attorney general for the U.S. military, law enforcement officials dealing with explosives, and private companies undertaking anti-weaponization technology testing.

The support for this bill reflects the concern about the potential threats and dangers posed by weaponized robots. While advanced mobile robots have the potential to improve lives and ensure safety, it is essential to have regulations in place to prevent the misuse and weaponization of these technologies. By putting responsible guardrails in place, legislators hope to foster public trust and acceptance of emerging technologies.

– GazetteNet:
– Open letter from Boston Dynamics and others: [URL of the source article]