According to research by the online magazine 404 Media, videos captured by small delivery robots in Los Angeles can easily end up with the local police.
According to the magazine, in one specific occasion, the operator Serve Robotics voluntarily handed over camera evidence to the authorities in order to aid in the investigation of an attempted theft of one of these robots. The head of communications from Serve Robotics on July the 10th, 2023, sent the footage voluntary taken by the robot to the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to the report, these little devices are already widespread on the streets of the West Coast metropolis, constantly capturing their surrounds as they work. As a result, this is yet another sort of surveillance. Serve Robotics – which robots do serve food for Uber Eats for example – has stated that the recordings are removed on a regular basis, however there is no information on how long they are stored before being deleted.
Passers-by are not covered by data protection laws
According to the CEO of Serve Robotics, this was the first time someone attempted to take a robot in broad daylight. He has since tweeted the video recordings made by the delivery robot. Two guys are seen in the video attempting to lift the device onto a delivery van, which then drives away. The two were apprehended minutes later and eventually convicted. Even before the police sought it, the firm delivered the video to them through email. Further communications revealed that the corporation sought to collaborate more closely with the police.
Overall, the incident demonstrates how, with these small robots, another monitoring technology has made its way onto the streets of the United States. According to the study, Serve Robotics and other rivals’ devices have been on the streets of Los Angeles for some time – and they frequently obstruct traffic. While the corporation claims that the devices “mostly navigate autonomously,” they are frequently directed remotely.
Meanwhile, the privacy statement is primarily concerned with the consumers to whom deliveries are made. It makes no mention of the pedestrians and bystanders who are being filmed by the gadgets.