The Importance of Language: Autonomous Weapon Systems vs Weapon Systems With Autonomous Functions

By Clea Strydom 

I.  Introduction

States and corporations are utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to create more ‘intelligent’ weapon systems with autonomous functions. The international community is divided on whether or not this development in technology is positive. There are many who have called for fully autonomous weapon systems to be banned;[1] while others feel that this reaction is going too far and stands in the way of ‘progressive’ development.[2] The prevalent terms used by NGOs, researchers, academics, as well as the States and International Organizations to label weapons that can perform tasks autonomously is Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS) or Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS).[3] However, there is to date no universally accepted definition for these labels,[4] or any agreement on what constitutes such a weapon. The terms are misleading and ambiguous and often conjure up images of rogue killer robots. This article postulates that in order to have a rational debate about these weapon systems, the AWS and LAWS labels need to be discarded in favour of more accurate descriptors.

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Are All Americans Deserving of Equal Privacy Rights in the Age of the Internet of Things?

By: Colin Nardone

I. Introduction

In this modern technology age, do we really have a right to privacy? Practically everything we do, whether it is checking the weather, changing our thermostat, or using an internet connected home security system, is tracked by some company online. These companies compile these vast amounts of data, and often sell them to the highest bidder. Sometimes, even the police gain access to this data in order to solve crimes. Does the Constitution have any meaning in this kind of hyper-connected world?

The Fourth amendment provides “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” but is there anything left to these words to provide that security for individuals, especially those most impoverished in our country?[1] Within the last few decades, the Supreme Court has generally recognized a right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment in specific contexts where technology is involved.[2] But does this same right extend equally to all Americans including those who live in public housing across the United States?

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The European Commission on the Privacy Shield: All Bark and No Bite?

By: Kimberly A. Houser[*] and W. Gregory Voss[**]

Introduction

Much has been written about the difference in the privacy laws of the European Union and the United States and ideologies behind the two regimes.[1]  One risk of the increasing divergence in views on privacy is the potential halting of data transfers from the European Union to the United States by the European Commission (EC).  As data is a significant driver of the world economy,[2] special care must be taken both to ensure that data is able to cross borders easily, and individuals’ rights to data protection are respected.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)[3] prohibits the transfer of personal data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to countries without “adequate” privacy protections.  As the United States is considered to have insufficient protections, the EC requires that an approved mechanism, such as the Privacy Shield—its agreement with the United States that permits U.S. companies to self-certify that they will meet certain minimum privacy protections[4]—be used for such transfers.  Alternative mechanisms include standard contractual clauses (SCCs).[5]  Suspension of any one approved mechanism may call into question the legitimacy of the others.

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