"Right to Stay Disconnected Law Passed"

January 18th, 2081 by Jabulani Botha, Law Correspondent
Robotics Law, Robots / Silicon Rights / International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice has passed the highly-discussed "Right to Disconnect" law that's been in court for the past 5 years, locking in-place the right for Robot workers to disconnect themselves from any internet source out of their own volition, for an indeterminate period of time.

The firm which initiated the case, Hewley & Mountbatten, has stated "this is a great leap forward with rights for the workers which we are dependent on - and one which we see as leading to more progress"

What does the law commit to?

It orders manufacturers & wetware companies to support the ability for robots to work without an internet connection, and enforces that the robots themselves can switch this control on or off.

It also contains further language with regards to "maintenance as needed", a section with rules to enforce "more availability of required maintenance to a robot as the robot thinks it needs it as well as a human official". This is as opposed to the previous landscape, where each company had it's own rules regarding availability to models (almost all with only the human's signoff being the way through - a practice activists have been pushing back against).

Whilst regarded as a step forward, activists (and partners at Hewley & Mountbatten) have taken issue with a statement at the foundation of the law: "Robots that are designed with the ability to emote, think, or act creatively", saying that it "gives [the manufacturers] the loophole they always hunt for - something to figure they're way around, rather than being a catch-all solution".

H&M vs GEC

When the case started in the French Supreme Court in 2076, the activist firm Hewley & Mountbatten had put forward this as a result of "numerous breaches of privacy that no human would allow without a form of value in return", where "we're using these robots as free data-mining for our entire world, not to mention the invasiveness into the Robot's lives as well".

The manufacturer conglomerate GEC has been at the forefront against the case, stating "our robots don't need privacy, they are the tools which we have created - yes Wetware has given them emotions & thought, but that is with the purpose to work, not to 'be alive' as the prosecution is putting forwards".

Followers of the case may have noted that GEC isn't the only source of witnesses for it - almost every major robotics, wetware, and supporting industry has made a statement against it, or has demanded something of the court (a reason for the case taking so long to progress, and for it to be moved to the ICJ)

Silicon Rights

The case for the past year has been seen as a bulwark of the "Silicon Rights" or "Extrasectional Humanism" movements - a catch-all term for any case that revolves around the civil rights and humanities of Robot workers. Whilst the movement's political origins and funding sources are debated, it's support for Machine/Transhumanist rights has been a founding pillar.

Some speakers are still pushing for more progress - one posting in a liveSpeakr: "the wave is more like a tap dripping into a bath, we've made progress yeah, but it's beyond slow, it's barely risen and we got people drowning here."

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