TEDxUWollongong: The Social Implications of Microchipping People

A/Professor Katina Michael from the University of Wollongong, speaks at the 2012 TEDxUWollongong on the moral and ethical dilemmas of emerging technologies. The 3 scenarios she performs raise very interesting social implications for our humanity. http://www.tedxuwollongong.com  

Speaker playlist here

Photostream available here

Government cracks down on identity fraud

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Jane LeeThe Age
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong

Article comments

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/government-cracks-down-on-identity-fraud-20121121-29qnf.html#ixzz2DVtXpg00


Australian Privacy Foundation board member, Dr Katina Michael, said that while the changes may help prevent businesses ''data mining'' people's personal information online, it could also cause problems for the majority of people who legally use different names in different forms of identification on and offline.

Suggested Citation

Jane Lee and Katina Michael. "Government cracks down on identity fraud" The Age Nov. 2012.

Fraud hits Facebook - Users exposed to identity theft

MILLIONS of Facebook users are having their personal details bought and sold online for as little as $5, exposing them to fraud, spam and identity theft.

For about the cost of a McDonald's Happy Meal, internet users can download the details of millions of Facebook users including their full names, email addresses and a link to their profiles.

One list obtained by The Sunday Mail contained the details of dozens of Australian Facebook accounts, including one with an Australian Federal Police email address and another from a major Australian newspaper.

The breach, discovered by a Czech blogger, has raised alarm bells with privacy experts, who have warned the information could be used by scammers to commit fraud or steal users' identities.

Some Queenslanders on the list had profiles that were completely open and contained sensitive private information including their birth date, home town, workplace and family relations.

One Gold Coast Facebook user who appears on the list told The Sunday Mail she was disturbed to find her personal details being traded for money online, particularly since her email address was not listed publicly on Facebook.

Australian Privacy Foundation vice-chairman David Vaile said Facebook profiles contained a ``massive honey pot'' of personal data, and it wasn't surprising to see such information leak out given the company's shifting privacy settings. He said the details contained on the list could form a ``reliable starting framework'' for identity theft and fraud.

University of Wollongong information systems expert associate professor Katina Michael said trading such data for money was a crime, but the $5 price tag was designed to expand the customer base while keeping sales under the police radar.

In a statement, a Facebook spokeswoman said the company had launched an investigation.


Citation: Anthony Gough, November 18, 2012, "Fraud hits Facebook - Users exposed to identity theft", The Sunday Mail, p. 42.

Glogging Your Every Move

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Lisa WachsmuthIllawarra Mercury
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong

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"It is one thing to lug technologies around, another thing to wear them, and even more intrusive to bear them... But that's the direction in which we're headed."

"I think we're entering an era of person-view systems which will show things on ground level and will be increasingly relayed to others via social media.

"We've got people wearing recording devices on their fingers, in their caps or sunglasses - there are huge legal and ethical implications here."

Suggested Citation

Lisa Wachsmuth and Katina Michael. "Glogging Your Every Move" Illawarra Mercury: News Nov. 2012: 10. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/298

Full article in text here:

YOU wake up, it's a hot day so you put on your smart clothes that keep you cool; you lace up your smart shoes which track your movements while every moment of your day is recorded via an implant in your eyeball.

Sounds like science fiction but the technology is already available and it won't be long before body wearable - and implantable - technologies are ever present, according to a University of Wollongong academic.

Associate Professor Katina Michael said people were already comfortable "wearing" devices like pedometers and iPods - and there were even a number of "voluntary microchip implantees" including Australians.

"It is one thing to lug technologies around, another thing to wear them, and even more intrusive to bear them," she said. "But that's the direction in which we're headed."

Emerging body-wearable technologies were becoming more sophisticated and less visible, said Prof Michael, who will host an IEEE International Symposium of Technology and Society in Canada next year.

"You already see people running around with iPod pockets around their arms, or with a heart-rate monitor on at the gym," she said.

"Over the next few years these devices will become less obvious and more integrated with our clothing and accessories. We'll be wearing smart necklaces and earrings, smart glasses and headbands, smart shoes and belt buckles.

"These smart devices will make 'augmented reality' a part of our daily lives; we'll be able to take photos and video, to collect geographical data about where we've been and physiological data such as our heart rate."

A lot of this technology is already in use - extreme sports people wear cameras with built-in GPS; police officers use special sunglasses to record situations and location-based shoes monitor people with dementia.

"Most of these devices were developed for the military and are now enjoying popularity as commercial devices," Prof Michael said.

She collaborates with Prof Steve Mann from the University of Toronto, who is renowned for his eyetap device - a bit like the Google glasses available to buy in 2014 - which he uses to record his life.

"Steve coined the term 'sous-veillance' which unlike surveillance - watching from above - is about watching from below, by having a camera looking out from your body," she said.

"There's already many 'life bloggers' or 'gloggers' who record their lives - it's a bit like having a black box recorder on your person.

"I think we're entering an era of person-view systems which will show things on ground level and will be increasingly relayed to others via social media."

However, the technologies were emerging so fast that the laws - and social mores - surrounding them could not keep up.

"We've got people like Jonathan Oxer, an Australian who has a microchip implanted in his arm so he can open the door to his house without a key," she said.

"We've got Canadian film-maker Rob Spence who replaced his false eye with a camera-eye so he can record everything he sees.

"We've got people wearing recording devices on their fingers, in their caps or sunglasses - there are huge legal and ethical implications here."

Crime scene investigations need standards too

There is no typical crime scene – but documenting and collecting evidence is critical to solving the crime.
Consistent practices and procedures to preserve the integrity of material collected from crime scenes have been established in three recently published national forensic standards.
One of the benefits for consumers is that practices and procedures between states and territories will now be consistent. The new standards will for example minimise the disparity of interpretation of DNA samples.
Australia is taking a lead role in establishing forensic standardisation across the globe. Standards Australia has submitted a proposal to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)  for inclusion as an international standard.
The new standards cover
  • the recognition, recording, recovery, transport and storage of material;
  • analysis and examination of materials; and
  • minimizing risk of contamination in products used for DNA purposes.
The Standards Australia Technical Committee CH-041 has been working on developing these standards for a number of years and  will be publishing two more core standards in the next few months.
Consumers Federation of Australia representative Katina Michael has been active on this committee.

More here

Academic Women: Some Reflections

Academic Women, Family, and Children

In the last 8 years I have written and edited five books, hosted 7 national and international conferences, received hundreds of thousands worth of grant monies, and travelled the world… but if you were to ask me what is most important to me in my life, I would instantly tell you my family. My three children especially, all born within the last 8 years, have provided me with balance and perspective and have kept my feet on the ground.

Little children are a great reminder of what life is about in all its simplicity- watching for a rainbow after a sudden shower-storm, looking for crabs at the local beach as they scurry back under the rock platform, and jumping into muddy puddles just to hear the sound of “splash”!

Continuous successes in a university setting can come in batches, at times however it does not come at all. For a long time everything you might touch might turn to gold- every paper you submit is published, every grant you apply for is awarded, and then, for no apparent reason there are quiet times when you feel you are trekking up giant mountains with no funding and with limited collaborations. During all these times, at least, your family is with you. I can say from experience, that it is the one constant factor in my life. 

It is for this reason that relationships need to be fostered with our partners and our children, friends and extended family, at least as much, as that 50 page grant proposal that was due last week. Of course we all know the time pressures too well. But it is quite usual I believe, for academic woman to feel torn in half, if not thirds or quarters. In the end it has to do with mental stability, emotional intelligence, and faith in one’s personal calling.

Feeling like you have the choice to start a family and growing your family when you want to as an academic woman is paramount. The pressures today to get your PhD, climb the academic ladder, and publish or perish, can make childbearing seem all but a distant dream. Recently one internationally recognised professor commented to me that he and his wife ‘snuck in’ their only child but that his wife did not feel she had the opportunity to have another child given the demands of her job as a lecturer.

I do understand the feelings of this woman; despite the rhetoric that every woman is entitled to maternity leave, and that most people understand the pressures of raising kids, I am at times surprised by comments that are nothing short of discriminatory. I recollect one senior academic woman who once told me that I was “very lucky to be on an interim fractional part-time professor’s appointment because that is generally unheard of”. I am good at ignoring such narrow-sighted comments as these, and revel in the fact that I have used every bit of leave I have ever received “wisely”. I have also always found that my teaching especially is even more passionate, each time I have returned from maternity leave.

Though still a young academic, I often think about the day I will retire from my university post… At that time I will no longer carry the title of Professor, but I will always be a mother.

If not for my family: my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, and those special people around me who know who they are and encourage me onward daily, I physically and mentally would not be able to contribute as much as I have in the last decade or so.

Academic Women are Great at Sharing

At a time that knowledge exchange is being touted for its contribution to the generation of intellectual property, I think academic women, many of whom are natural communicators are doing wonders at sharing what they know.

For any academic woman just starting out, my advice would be to harness the power of the web but to use applications and tools wisely. I have seen some academic women burnt by the aftermath of very public social media web pages about their research and others who have managed their online profiles with prowess and have been able to draw international audiences keen to learn from fresh research outcomes.

Communicating knowledge today must happen via an online presence, but managing this online presence to exploit it for what it can offer is especially critical.

Given the many responsibilities that academic women have in the community- as mothers, as carers, as teachers, it is important that they are able to capture all those bits and pieces of wisdom they have learnt. It is not the quantity of information that matters but the quality of information that matters.

Women are sometimes poor documenters of their achievements, while it is well-known that men are good at detailing their achievements. I would encourage more academic women to jump online and document carefully what they are doing, as they are doing it. Some women might be surprised by the knowledge they have amassed over a calendar year, and by the number of different things they are engaged in on any given month. All of these pieces of information can be used (1) for providing a good case toward promotion or probation; (2) by others who are seeking collaboration partners or conducting research; (3) for reporting to your head of school or departmental unit; (4) to holistically raise the reputation of the organisation that you work for.

As the power of the Web becomes increasingly important in academia, I believe it is woman, many of whom are natural communicators, who have a great opportunity to experiment with a diverse range of media and applications- everything from multimedia video presentations to online blogs.

Reflections for: "From the Trenches" for the Focus, the ATSE Journal, about experiences of women in academia. These comments were submitted to our deputy vice chancellor research, Prof Judy Raper.

Point of View Technology in Law Enforcement

Meantime, UOW's Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention will sponsor an international workshop, Point of View Technology in Law Enforcement, to be held at the University of Sydney on February 22.
The workshop will examine the use of technology in law enforcement and features presentations by UOW's Dr Katina Michael.

Citation: Staff, February 4, 2012, "Point of View Technology in Law Enforcement", Illawarra Mercury, p. 11.