Robot seized and released after buying ecstasy online

Swiss police confiscate MDMAzing darknet art experiment

Police in Switzerland have confirmed that they have released a robot that they confiscated after it bought ten ecstasy tablets on the internet.

The bot was taken into custody in January 2015 alongside all of the purchases it had made online - a pair of fake Diesel jeans, a Hungarian passport, 200 Chesterfield cigarettes, a baseball cap with hidden camera, a fake Louis Vuitton handbag, a set of Nike trainers, a collection of fire brigade-issued master keys, a Sprite can with a hole cut out in order to store cash and a Lord of the Rings e-book collection.

It has now been returned to its owners, the art group !Mediengruppe Bitnik. They'd programmed the bot to go on a shopping spree on the darknet once a week with $100 in bitcoins and mail the results home - which were then added to an installation in a gallery.

According to a blog post from the group, the public prosecutor said that "the possession of Ecstasy was indeed a reasonable means for the purpose of sparking public debate about questions related to the exhibition".

A spokesperson for the Swiss police told CNBC: "We decided the ecstasy that is in this presentation was safe and nobody could take it away. Bitnik never intended to sell it or consume it so we didn't punish them."

Neither the robot nor the artists will be charged with a criminal offence, but the ecstasy tablets were destroyed.