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Ethics of AI application in law enforcement

Primary supervisor

Campbell Wilson


The use of AI in law enforcement and judicial domains requires consideration of a number of ethical issues.  This project will investigate and develop frameworks that embed ethical principles in the research, development, deployment ,and use of AI systems in law enforcement (LE). A major focus is expected to concern the acquisition, use, sharing and governance of data for AI in this context.

The Faculty of Information Technology has a mission to advance social good through its research. Key to this mission is the AiLECS (Artificial Intelligence for Law Enforcement and Community Safety) research lab. The AiLECS lab is a joint initiative of Monash University and the Australian Federal Police, and researches the ethical application of AI theories and techniques to problems of interest to law enforcement agencies. The work of the lab is applied in nature, we seek to rapidly translate our research into real-world solutions to significant threats to community safety.

While current discourses concern the consensual use of data across a variety of sectors, the use of AI in LE is markedly different. The power of state coupled with the potential for broad-based data collection for AI analysis has implications for free, open, and trusted societies. This is driven by a wide range of technologies - from targeted observation, through more generalised surveillance via the networked IOT, to accessing data held on public and private systems. This societal datafication by LE agencies is amplified by the volumes, speed, and reach of AI-facilitated analysis and decision-making. While their objectives may be sound, such practices expose tensions in the rule of law that may impact individual and collective human rights.

This project will move beyond the generalised high-level AI ethics principles developed by jurisdictional agencies, commercial organisations, and international consortia. Rather, it aims for specific and practical instruments that can be used to guide policy as well as data acquisition and AI practice in LE agencies and those developing tools for the sector.



Required knowledge

This project will suit candidates with a background in philosophy and the nature and implications of socio-technical systems, together with strong understanding of IT.

Project funding


Learn more about minimum entry requirements.