"These systems are being combined with sophisticated analytics in such granular detail that they can see how long a single customer might linger in front of a display, even "what shelves you are looking at and for how long", explains Dr Katina Michael, an information technology and law expert at the University of Wollongong."
We're entering a reality of "uberveillance", says Michael. She defines the term – which she coined with a colleague in a 2009 academic paper, and which has since made it into the Macquarie Dictionary – as "always-on, technology-enabled, pervasive surveillance systems integrated into society, electronic devices, and even the human body".
"These systems are designed to monitor and monetise people, she says, by tracking their "identity, location and condition – knowing what someone is thinking, why they do what they do, and how they feel when they do it". These technologies reach into individuals in a new way, creating a profile that is best described as "behavioural biometrics", Michael says.
Consumer analysis per se is not new – many companies already collect detailed information about the members of their rewards programs. These opt-in programs all have the same aim, improving the bottom line of retailers and service providers, and some customers might be happy to trade off some privacy in return for emails with sales offers based on their previous purchases."
Citation: Garreth Hanley, December 17, 2017, "If you go down to the mall today, you're watched by a thousand eyes", The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/technology/consumer-security/if-you-go-down-to-the-mall-today-youre-watched-by-a-thousand-eyes-20171211-h02h9q.html
- MG Michael coined the term "uberveillance" which entered the Macquarie Dictionary online in 2008 and the hardcopy volume in 2009.
- The term was coined in 2006 in a class MG Michael delivered at the University of Wollongong.
- Katina Michael helped develop and expand the definition of the term in collaborative research with MG Michael since its conception.