A Robot that bought MDMA / Ecstasy on line has been finally released from police custody.
Finally, a Robot who was arrested for purchasing drugs online has been released by the Swiss police. We will have to take our memory three months down the lane to understand this bot’s arrest. The London based Swiss artists !Mediengruppe Bitnik group created a robot “Random Darknet Shopper” and it used to randomly purchase items online from the illegal markets using bitcoin and deliver the items to the new exhibition: “The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland” located at The Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.
As per the instructions given by Carment Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, the creators, the bot used to spend $100 per week to buy items from the darknet markets which enlists over 16,000 items for purchase, however not all of these items are illegal. The bot purchased a Hungarian passport, a baseball cap fixed with hidden camera, fake diesel jeans, a stash can, 200 Chesterfield cigarettes and 10 yellow pills containing 90 mg of drug MDMA each.
As per the creators: “On the morning of January 12, the day after the three-month exhibition was closed, the public prosecutor’s office of St. Gallen seized and sealed our work. It seems, the purpose of the confiscation is to impede an endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited by destroying them. This is what we know at present. We believe that the confiscation is an unjustified intervention into freedom of art.”
Swiss police confiscated the robot and all the exhibition items, however the artists were left free without any charges against them.
After a long interval of three months the robot has been released from the police custody. The creators mentioned in their website that : “This is a great day for the bot, for us and for freedom of art.” Though police has confiscated the ecstasy and destroyed it; however other items purchased by the robot has been deemed legitimate. Once again the robot is free for online purchases.
Further, a judge also declared that to display contraband as an art project is accepted and that the robot was within legality. Police has withdrawn any further action against the artists. The contended creators said: “At the same time we also received the order for withdrawal of prosecution. In the order for withdrawal of prosecution the public prosecutor states that the possession of Ecstasy was indeed a reasonable means for the purpose of sparking public debate about questions related to the exhibition. The public prosecution also asserts that the over weighing interest in the questions raised by the art work ‘Random Darknet Shopper’ justify the exhibition of the drugs as artifacts, even if the exhibition does hold a small risk of endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited.”
This really seems to be a great day for the artists as well as the robot as it seems art has finally won; however, will this give a chance to people to order the drugs under the name of art, is something which only time will let us know.