Last week came news of a park ranger using a taser on a person walking their dogs without leashes. The point of this post is not to discuss the relative merits of leash laws. But there are two aspects to this incident worth considering here.
The first relates to the need for a person to identify themselves when approached by police. (According to reports, upon finding the man walking his dogs off-leash she asked him his name and he gave a false one, an act that apparently had the effect of escalating the incident.) In some respects this aspect is slightly beyond the scope of this blog because it doesn’t directly involve a use of technology. But like the stories of the TSA, it does relate to the insistence of police authorities to be able to know everything about everyone, no matter what, and runs headlong into constitutional protections that would otherwise shield people from that scrutiny.
The other relates to the use of technology by the state. This project generally takes the position that technology itself is neither good or bad; it’s how it’s used that is either. And here we have a use of technology that seems extremely problematic.