In the episode "Measure of a Man" Data is granted human rights. What would the punishment be for enslaving an Android?

  • 3
    Probably the same punishment for enslaving any Federation citizen. May 17, 2018 at 22:53
  • It is Guinan who makes the comparison to slavery and not the court. The case is to determine whether or not Data is sentient and can resign (the findings apply to Data alone, not other androids--noted in 'The Offspring' S03E16). Outside of the episode itself, Lucas Introna makes an interesting case for it being possible to then extend the language used in the episode to determine sentience as a legal basis for establishing ethical human rights extension to android. However, this is obviously outside of the episode (see: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00146-009-0242-1)
    – wcullen
    May 17, 2018 at 22:55
  • 1
    See also: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/36732/1234
    – Xantec
    May 17, 2018 at 23:00
  • Also found this good primer on Federation law from legal folks...interesting read: thelegalgeeks.com/2017/04/05/…
    – wcullen
    May 17, 2018 at 23:24
  • A life sentence correcting grammar on Memory Beta. May 18, 2018 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


Personal Consequences

It seems likely that enslaving a free android would be treated, from a legal perspective, in precisely the same way that you would treat the enslavement of any other sentient species; that it would be illegal under both Federation law and punishable by imprisonment and rehabilitation according to the local laws of the planet that you're on. Since Federation planets have to accept the fundamental rights of the individual (including those individuals deemed to be sentient by the Federation), there must by definition be strict local laws against abduction and slavery, sufficient to deter these things from taking place.

In TNG: The Most Toys, Kivas Fajo abducts Data and attempts to keep him for his own amusement. Ultimately he's charged with kidnapping, an offense that seems to occasion what we can assume is going to be a lengthy jail term.

Societal Consequences

Allowing the keeping of slaves (of any description) would immediately negate your Federation membership.

Lack of any kind of slavery is a basic requirement for any world to be even considered for Federation membership, so the notion that we should trade with a nation that has a population that is ninety percent slaves is abhorrent.

Star Trek: Articles of the Federation

  • How long of imprisonment would it be? May 17, 2018 at 23:04
  • @DataTNGlover - Slavery is a very serious offense. I would assume that it would be treated harshly.
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2018 at 23:05
  • Where's that last quote from? It sounds a little too conversational to be from the actual legal Articles of the Federation.
    – Adamant
    May 18, 2018 at 0:05
  • @Adamant - Oops. Forgot to add the link. It's from an EU novel but it chimes nicely with the Federation charter seen on screen in ENT and in the Star Trek Manual factbook
    – Valorum
    May 18, 2018 at 0:17
  • It should also be remembered that Fajo almost paid the ultimate penalty for kidnapping the wrong person.
    – EvilSnack
    May 19, 2018 at 22:47

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