Taser Clarifies Proposal for Weaponized Drones in US Schools

Taser Clarifies Proposal for Weaponized Drones in US Schools

The company backed down after the idea prompted a series of resignations from an internal ethics board.

The company that makes Tasers stun guns was forced to change course after its CEO suggested it would create weapons, “non-lethal” drones to deploy in American schools as a way to stop mass shooters, immediately sparking outrage within the company itself.

Rick Smith, CEO of Axon Enterprise, formerly known as Taser International, issued a statement Monday clarifying the company’s plans for the controversial drones, which he first outlined in a press release last week in response to several recent mass shootings. .

“I want to be explicit: I announced a possible delivery date in a few years as an expression of what could be possible; It’s not an actual release timeline, especially since we’re pausing that show.” he said, adding “We have a lot of work and exploration to see if this technology is feasible and to understand if the public’s concerns can be adequately addressed before moving forward.”

A remotely operated, non-lethal Taser drone in schools is an idea, not a product, and it’s a long way off.
The company originally floated the concept as “part of a long-term plan to stop mass shootings,” with Smith declaring that he would create drones “capable of incapacitating an active shooter in less than 60 seconds”, even sharing an image of a mockup design.

However, the plan quickly sparked a backlash, with nine of 12 members of a company’s internal ethics board resigning in response, citing “concerns that drones would harm communities with over-surveillance” while claiming they were not informed of the announcement beforehand, according to Reuters.

The CEO indirectly addressed the resignations, saying that it is “It is unfortunate that some members of Axon’s ethics advisory panel have chosen to withdraw from directly participating in these issues before we heard or had an opportunity to address their technical questions.” although he added: “We respect their choice and will continue to seek diverse perspectives to challenge our thinking and help guide other technology options we should consider.”

However, the ethics panel said it was presented with plans for a similar Taser-equipped drone more than a year ago, but approved only one. “limited pilot” for the device, which at the time he believed would be used exclusively by law enforcement agencies. “Even in those limited terms,” the board “I ultimately voted against Axon moving forward” last month, but the company went ahead with its announcement anyway.

“Now, Axon has announced that it would not limit the technology to law enforcement agencies, but would make it more widely available. And the surveillance aspect of this proposal is completely new to us.” the panel said. “Reasonable minds may differ on the merits of police-controlled Taser-equipped drones; our own board internally disagreed, but we are unanimously concerned about the process Axon has employed regarding this idea of ​​drones in school classrooms.”

Axon’s stun drone concept was announced in direct response to the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas last month. The latest incident stoked intense criticism of law enforcement after officers waited more than an hour to attack the gunman, who carried out a massacre of 19 young children and two adult teachers with virtually no opposition before a federal agent finally he would shoot him dead.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.