O2 Other
An integrated approach of ethics, law and corporate responsibility: An analysis of surveillance robots

List of Authors: Juho Vaiste, Nea Oljakka, Oki Sivula
Publication year: 2019


robots and drones and autonomous security systems provide advanced solutions to
increase the level of surveillance in our societies and public spaces. This
raises the question to what extent these new security-enhancing surveillance
measures are preferable and justifiable. Koskela (2000) has argued that video
surveillance is building Foucault’s “dream of transparent society”, and
autonomous systems take a step further. Securitization, referring to a
phenomenon where security is used as a reason for alternative politics or
measures (Buzan et al, 1998), is a complicated concern not only in
international relations but also in everyday life where security claims justify
the use of autonomous surveillance technologies. Building on Leenes et al. (2017),
we argue that a more integrated research approach between the fields of ethics,
law and corporate social responsibility can offer more accessible, impactful
and comprehensive picture for citizens, policymakers and government.

We approach
the topic by examining surveillance robots – these specific devices bringing
new spheres to our surveillance system. Surveillance robots are physical
devices which can move autonomously and react to the events in their
environment. The basic function of these robots is still based on security
cameras which deliver the information to the human controllers. However,
emerging technology enables the equipment of these robots with more complex
functions like voice commanding and guidance, physical intervening, and
autonomous predicting mechanisms (Savela et al., 2018).

essential ethical and societal challenges related to surveillance robots are
recognized in the earlier literature (Boden et al., 2017). The selected questions
examined in this research are: (1) Will there be a threshold after which a
robot intervene in street surveillance causes enormous questions of a real-life
panopticon? (2) In which situations there should be a human in the loop, and
how that affects the outcomes? (3) Do physical robots make surveillance more
transparent and justifiable? All these questions are analyzed in ethical, legal
and corporate perspective.

phenomenon of securitization and its variable instances calls for integrated
multidisciplinary attention. Especially under the rapid phase of technological
development, our approach offers situational awareness for smart policing and
more accessible information for citizens and the government. By compounding the
tradition of corporate responsibility with law and ethics, we can competently prepare
ourselves and prevent the potential ethical misconduct in the development of
robotics - a field heavily dominated by technology companies.

presentation argues that surveillance robots can have positive features in the
sense that they increase the transparency of surveillance. The increased
transparency might have other negative social impacts, which are acknowledged,
as well as possible hidden agendas that the use of surveillance robots might
entail. Nevertheless, the more serious problems spring to life if surveillance
robots are given the capability of autonomous decision making combined with
reactive capabilities. Most importantly, ethical and legal liability problems
rise (Hildebrant, 2015). It is furthermore argued that this could be avoided by
smart policy-making combined with corporate promises of more ethical

Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 10:45