Gregory Conti, Woodrow Hartzog, John C. Nelson, and Lisa A. Shay on “A Conservation Theory of Governance for Automated Law Enforcement”

A Conservation Theory of Governance for Automated Law Enforcement
Gregory Conti, Woodrow Hartzog, John C. Nelson, and Lisa A. Shay

Lisa A. Shay

Lisa A. Shay

Enforcement of the law has thus far largely been a manual process, one moderated by the discretion of human judgement and finite human resources, which were focused on priority offenses. Increasingly, however, the portions of, and in some cases the entire, law enforcement process from surveillance to punishment can be automated, removing inefficiencies that have also served as natural safeguards against abuse. The ubiquity of networked sensor devices, increases in processing power at lower cost, demands for revenue, and desires to increase public safety and security are leading to an era of productized automated law enforcement systems.

Woodrow Hartzog

Woodrow Hartzog

Today, we see such systems increasingly manifest in well-defined specialty cases, such as red light cameras and tax irregularity detection software.

However, the future portends an ever-increasing range of crimes that can be enforced through automated law enforcement systems. These advances bring opportunities for both good and harm. The legal, law enforcement, and policy making communities, as well as the general public, must carefully consider potential advantages, weigh the social cost and other risks, and challenge unsubstantiated claims of benefits.

Gregory Conti

Gregory Conti

To assist in these efforts, this paper provides end-to-end analysis of automatic law enforcement systems. It examines the key components and their amenability to automation, and how changes to the current state of the art might alter how laws and statutes could be enforced.

John C. Nelson

John C. Nelson

Our results indicate that automated law enforcement systems will gain increasing power and effectiveness but if left unchecked could cause significant social harm despite, ironically, attempting to improve public welfare.

Lisa A. Shay, Woodrow Hartzog, and Gregory Conti will be speaking on Saturday, April 5th at 1:45 PM with discussant Mary Anne Franks at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

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