Raspberry Pi Hires Former Police Officer With Background in Surveillance Tech


The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hired an ex-police officer with experience of hiding Pi boards in various objects, including a piece of chocolate.


The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hired a former technical surveillance officer as its maker-in-residence. Amid controversy concerning his background, the organization has doubled down on its decision.


Raspberry Pi Hires Ex-Police Officer

The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity based in the UK, has taken on an ex-technical surveillance officer named Toby Roberts. Roberts was once with the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), which specializes in tackling organized crime and terrorism threats.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation headed to Twitter to announce its new hire, who will take on the role of maker-in-residence.

A Raspberry Pi Foundation news post was also released, which goes into more depth about Roberts in an interview.

Roberts stated that he “built stuff to hide video, audio, and other covert gear” during his time at ERSOU, to avoid having “sensitive police equipment discovered”. Roberts also mentioned that he “started playing with Raspberry Pi hardware at home around the same time [he] started using Linux at work”. It is evident that he is highly skilled in masking surveillance tech as everyday objects.

Roberts even managed to bake a surveillance Pi board within a piece of chocolate. While his abilities are impressive, this new development has stirred a good deal of negativity from the public.

Raspberry Pi Users Are Worried About This New Hire

After the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced their hiring of Toby Roberts on Twitter, other users began to voice their concerns about what it could mean. One individual commented “Any recommendations for an alternative board?”, with another stating that they need the Raspberry Pi Foundation to “understand how bad of a mess up this is and how much you should NOT be proud of working with cops on surveillance tech”.

People also took to other sites, such as YCombinator, to discuss the issue. One user commented on a YCombinator thread that it would be beneficial if the company “clarified [Roberts’] role”, as the description is currently quite vague.

Raspberry Pi Defends Its Decision

Though the feedback was mostly negative for this new development, the Raspberry Pi Foundation publicly defended its decision.

Some Twitter users even claimed that they had been blocked by the Raspberry Pi account after voicing their opinion on the matter, as you can see in the post below.

Another user posted an alleged screenshot from the Raspberry Pi Mastodon server. In the screenshot, it seems that the Raspberry Pi account replied to a critical comment a little unprofessionally, stating “[Roberts] builds lightsabers James. Chill.” When another commenter asked if they were really serious in their reply, the Raspberry Pi account responded stating that he should unfollow if he wasn’t happy with the situation.

Another Twitter user then posted a number of screenshots allegedly from the Mastodon server, which displayed more instances of the Raspberry Pi account’s interactions. In one of the screenshots, the Raspberry Pi account told a user “if you’re able to read more than the few words in the headline, you’d understand”. Of course, this conduct brought on additional criticism from the Raspberry Pi community.

We’re Yet to See the Extent of Roberts’ Role within Raspberry Pi

While it has been stated that Tony Roberts will act as the maker-in-residence at the Raspberry Pi foundation, the details of his role have not yet been announced. This may help to clarify the situation for the Raspberry Pi community. But for now, people can only speculate on the true nature of Roberts’ function within the foundation.


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