ANALYSIS: Human Microchipping Poses Dangers to Health, Privacy

WASHINGTON, April 30 (RIA Novosti), Lyudmila Chernova – Although hardly a
novel idea, microchipping humans arouses justified concerns about risks to health and
privacy, experts told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

“Along with the potential risks to health, there is a real risk to freedom and privacy, one
of the key purposes of RFID is the tracking technology. Besides, numbering people is
very dehumanizing. It turns you into a barcode on the package of meat that’s get
tracked like inventory,” said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, an RFID microchip and consumer
privacy expert.

Katina Michael, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong, echoed the
opinion, stating that implanting automatic identification technology for non-medical
purposes could entail the total loss of the right to privacy.

“There is a grave danger in it, as someone who gets an implant does not have control
over bodily privacy. They cannot remove the implant on their own accord. They do not
know when someone is attempting to hack into their device, no matter how proprietary
the code that is stored on the device, and no matter whether the implant has built-in
encryption,” Michael told RIA Novosti.

In 2007 Albrecht and Associated Press Reporter Todd Lewan revealed to the public
studies that showed microchips cause cancer when they are implanted into laboratory
animals. The finding led to the suspension the VeriChip company’s work.
“In our research we found that between one and ten percent of laboratory animals
implanted with radio frequency microchips developed cancer adjacent to and even
surrounding the microchips,” Albrecht said.

“Pacemakers can also cause cancer, but in a case of a pacemaker where the alternative
is literally dying, it is worth the risk. However, in a case of something like an
identification microchip or dosages of drugs being delivered to the body, that does not
make any sense. Most people would prefer to simply take those drugs themselves than
run the risk of an implant,” she added.

Dr. Michael also explained that implanting microchips is not new in the health industry,
as society has already adopted implantables for a variety of uses. However, implantables
for medical applications or for the identification of animals have a number of
documented health side effects in line with Dr. Albrecht’s opinion.

“People with microstimulators have described … varying levels of neurological response
that were not as prescribed, … or health implications such as infection, or even ongoing
stress,” said Michael, adding that there are a whole gambit of health issues that no one is
really studying properly.

The expert claimed that these kinds of technologies are being tested already, but have
not yet been approved by the FDA for use as medical devices.

However, Albrecht said that the FDA appears to have never looked at the studies
pointing to the dangers.

“One of the things I learned is that the FDA relies on the company that’s looking for the
approval to provide the evidence of the safety and of the danger of the product. They
don’t do independent research, and I think there is a very serious potential to having the
companies be the ones that determine the safety of their own product,” she said.

The VeriChip Corporation implanted identification microchips into diabetic and
Alzheimer's patients as a trial with Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2007. The trial was stopped
due to cancer risks.

In recent years, advocates of the technology have promised neural implants that could stimulate the brain to help people with depression, implants that would deliver certain
amounts of medication which may be remote controllable. The technologies involved
are not new, and neither is the argument on their appropriateness.

Tags: microchipping, privacy, technology

Lyudmila Chernova, April 30, 2014, "ANALYSIS: Human Microchipping Poses Dangers to Health, Privacy", Ria Novosti [РИА Новости],

Bushfire tweets may help warn of danger

FIRE and emergency authorities may soon use sites like Instagram and Facebook to warn people about bushfires, an information systems expert says.

Katina Michael, associate professor at the school of information systems and technology at the University of Wollongong, says people are increasingly using micro-blogging sites, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to record bushfires.

``These unofficial channels are extremely useful during a crisis situation,'' she told an Australian Science Media Centre briefing yesterday.

``In the future we might even have emergency service organisations tapping into this social media capability . . . and using this user-generated content to respond to disasters more effectively.''

Prof Michael said location-based SMS alerts are also being employed to keep people updated in disaster areas.

``That's a real innovation to the Australian capabilities which I think is among the first in the world to actually venture into that kind of mandated approach.

``This also allows people who are visiting a location, who may be working in a location . . . or who may be enjoying recreation activities in a location to be warned about a hazard.''

Meanwhile, careless behaviour on days of high fire danger can be just as deadly as arson, police have warned, as Victoria heads for another dry spell.

Assistant Commissioner

Stephen Fontana has called on Victorians to ensure they're not doing anything that could spark a blaze as the weather heats up again tomorrow.

``What is of real concern is that when we look at a large number of fires they've been started through the careless activity of others,'' Mr Fontana said yesterday.

``Things like using slashers, cutting hot grass on extremely hot days, causing sparks, driving vehicles in long grass.''

He said some people had thrown cigarette butts out their windows and caused fires, while others were using machines like angle-grinders that create sparks.

Police fear new fires may start tomorrow as firefighters continue backburning the 62,000 ha central Gippsland blaze.

Citation: January 23, 2013, "Bushfire tweets may help warn of danger", The Cairns Post, p. 17.

Spying on MPs


Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Eliza HarveyABC Radio


An expectation of privacy- the spying phenomenon. Do law enforcement agencies spy on citizens? Do they have a legitimate right to track someone?

Suggested Citation

Katina Michael and Eliza Harvey. "Spying on MPs" ABC Radio: The World Today (News and Current Affairs Radio) Nov. 2013: 12.25pm-12.30pm.

The Spying Landscape in Australia

With spying and phone tapping allegations back in the news, how concerned should the average Australian be about privacy?

The vice-chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, Dr Katina Michael, speaks about phone tapping, GPS tracking devices and other ways our personal information can be taken and traded.

Key Link

Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Paula TapiolasABC Radio


spy gear.jpg

Spy applications and devices are proliferating in Australia. What is the response of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF)?

Suggested Citation

Katina Michael and Paula Tapiolas. "The Spying Landscape in Australia" ABC Radio North Queensland: Mornings with Paula Tapiolas (630 ABC) Nov. 2013: 9.30-9.50.

Uberveillance on Flipboard

MG Michael and I do not know the creators of this Flipboard: that utilises the UBERVEILLANCE meme. One thing is for certain they gather some of the world's most relevant stories in relationship to the broader theme of uberveillance. The issues are organised by @unsecurity @mikeal0102 and @mlcp (Doris Cook).

Big Data or Big Brother?

And it’s not just Baker who has come to this conclusion. Many others including academics Katina Michael and Keith Miller contend Big Data will ‘change how we live in both small and large ways’. In particular, Michael and Miller have documented how Big Data has altered peoples’ modes of consumption. Businesses are using this information to ‘expose people’s hidden behavioural patterns’ and effectively suggest products for purchase. No doubt you’ve seen it before, ‘People who bought this product also bought product X’. I bet you’d be lying if you said you had never clicked through. They also observe that Big Data analysis is leading to an ‘anticipatory approach’ to fighting crime. But more on that later.

Although data analysis has been around since humans started keeping records, today’s digital era is the first time so much, and so many different types of data have been collected, stored and effectively understood. As American academic Michael Ackerman says ‘in today’s world everything is digital, and therefore everything can be considered as data’. When you can track patterns of digital behaviour, you can begin to predict what people will do, and target individuals for marketing, votes and even government surveillance. This is what makes all our online activities so extremely valuable

SO I’M TELLING you Big Data can be used to understand us as people who vote, buy, love and even commit crimes, but how? Understanding us as a consumer is generally pretty straightforward, as demonstrated by Miller and Michael above. Similarly, during an election campaign American politicians no longer want to use all their marketing resources on broadcasting TV ads. They still do a bit of this, but most of their marketing money now targets undecided voters, in election deciding states like Ohio. Baker sounded a little upset by this on the phone because during the 2012 US election ‘no-one gave a damn’ about his vote. Obama and Romney ignored him completely because Baker lives in a safe Democratic seat. Obama already had his vote, and Romney knew it wouldn’t make a difference. If he had lived in Ohio on the other hand, his vote would be worth money because it might decide the election.

The fact big companies and politicians are spying on us is hardly surprising; you could never really trust those types anyway. But what about your partner? How are they involved with this Big Data thing? I put this to Baker and he told me about a little experiment he undertook with his wife. Sorry to disappoint, but its rated PG.

Many online dating services claim to have the ‘algorithms of love’. Fill out a questionnaire and ta-da! They will show you the love of your life, your future husband or wife until death (or, increasingly, divorce) do you part. So Baker and his wife gave it a shot. They both signed up to one of these sites, filled out the survey and waited anxiously to see if they made the right decision. Sadly, they had not. The algorithm told them so. But Baker was unconvinced; ‘It matched us with all kinds of people that both of us thought, at least I hope my wife thought, were bad matches for us’. So Baker says doesn’t have the ‘algorithm of love’ but… (yes, there is a but) when he gave the site a little bit more information Steve and his wife were reunited. Perhaps these sites aren’t total scams after all.

WHILE USING Big Data to sell products and score dates may seem reasonably harmless, employing Big Data for security purposes raises some big questions. Particularly, whether Big Data surveillance is a good or bad thing for us personally, and our society as a whole. Here we enter the ethical minefield of public good vs. personal privacy.

The utopian vision, which the US government is trying so hard to spin, suggests Big Data can be used to create a safer society. In the wake of the PRISM scandal the NSA revealed its internet surveillance program had stopped fifty potential terrorist attacks. If Big Data could have prevented the Woolwich attack in Britain as well, or stopped a paedophile from interfering with children, shouldn’t law enforcement use it? These are really emotive subjects and my gut instinct is to say yes, of course terrorists should be stopped and paedophiles should be prevented! Who wouldn’t say that? Well, my good friend Stephen Baker (one extended interview is enough to be classified as friends right?).

If you’re confused like I was, Baker offered a pretty good explanation: using Big Data to profile criminals is ‘a way in which innocent people can get grouped into potentially guilty. And when you have a society that is concerned about this, perhaps the civil liberties of people might not be respected as they should be—the innocent aren’t innocent until proven guilty.’ Think of the Pre-Crime division, imagined by Phillip K. Dick in ‘Minority Report’. Dick describes a city where murder has been eliminated because people are arrested before they physically commit the crime. Except instead of sci-fi psychics stopping would-be murderers, we have a quiet little man trawling through your data. If that’s sounding a bit far-fetched, picture this; someone comes up with the profile of a potential paedophile based on interviews and studies of how convicted paedophiles act online. With these statistics, say authorities test every school teacher in the country and they found out that a music teacher at your local primary school had a forty-eight per cent chance of being a paedophile. You’ve got this information, but what do you do with the person? Should you take action and ban him from teaching, by extension accusing him of being guilty of a terrible crime he is yet to commit? Or do you do nothing, because this man is currently innocent? And if you do nothing, should you be held responsible if something does happen? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, it seems to me.

It’s not just about abandoning a cornerstone of our democratic justice system. The knowledge of being watched in itself curtails personal freedoms. French academic Paul-Michel Foucault first wrote about the ‘panopticon’ in his 1975 book ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’. The traditional panopticon is a prison in which the inmates are watched by guards from above. Although the prisoners know they are being watched, they do not know when. In this way their behaviour is controlled by the threat of being observed. In the panopticon the potential of being watched is at the root of power and domination by a minority against the majority. While Orwell’s vision is yet to be fully realised, the power of the observing few is already beginning to encroach on our activities. For example, Michael and Miller are concerned about a kind of digital panopticon coming into play in the workplace. Corporations are increasingly watching their employees’ online activities at work in an effort to increase productivity. However, according to Michael and Miller this surveillance comes at a cost: ‘tracking employees’ every move and continuously measuring their performance against industry benchmarks introduces a level of oversight that can quash the human spirit’. Although you may not feel the oppressive force of the digital panopticon on your soul yet, I am sure you have thought twice before posting those photos from New Years’ or slagging your employer off social media. Once at a Woolworths’ induction the human resources manager told us how she enjoyed firing someone after they made some less than favourable remarks about the company online. For the few months I worked for Woolies I didn’t even put the job on Facebook for fear the HR lady would take umbrage at something I said on social media and fire me.

AFTER ALL THIS you now know a bit about Big Data. Intelligent little men are using the mind-boggling amount of data we make to help understand our lives. Big Data is impacting how businesses, governments, and perhaps even how individuals operate. It impacts consumption, surveillance, security and maybe even love. Today we are all constantly being watched by little men with big computers, but should we be worried? If we are concerned and consequentially begin to monitor and limit our digital activities to avoid being incriminated then we may as well be in a virtual panopticon of sorts. In today’s world it’s hard not to be swept up in the data-producing deluge. Just as 100 years ago you had to give up some privacy to be part of a community, even if it was just meeting in a public square, today we need to give up personal privacy to join online communities, on social media, on email and even just using search engines.

I don’t think I’ve know anyone who’s said they won’t use the internet because they want to maintain their privacy, and I don’t really expect them too. Despite his extensive research on the topic Baker still uses Google, Facebook and Microsoft. In a world increasingly driven by capitalism, he’s decided to exchange his personal data for the services these companies offer. I guess the most important question now is are you?

If you not concerned about Big Data, that’s fine. But next time you’re online, or you use a credit card, or even the next time your smartphone is in your pocket I want you to think of a little man. He wears glasses, is extremely intelligent and always taking notes, notes on you and the patterns of your life. So long as you remember he is there, that Big Data is recording your every digital move, then I guess it’s okay. The message is not so much beware as be aware, Big Data is watching. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Original Source: Matilda Marrozi, 2013, “Big Data or Big Brother?”, Nourish #94,

Australian study looks at public attitudes toward mobile emergency alerts

The use of location-based services by governments to send alerts during emergencies sparked privacy concerns over data collection- but not over the potential for unauthorized secondary use of the data, according to a study published onllne by the journal Telematics snd lnformatics.

The study was based on surveys of residents of Australia, which has considered the use of nationwide mobile alerts in emergencies. The surveys, though, too place in well in advance of leaks by Edward Snowden that have had a major impact on the public discourse over privacy and government data collection.

Overall, Australians would accept location-based services during emergencies, the study says. Perception of whether such a service would be useful depended largely on whether respondents trust the government to control and provide the service effectively.

The perceived usefulness of [location-based services] for emergency management was the key driver behind the individual positive attitude towards using the services and intention toward using them in the future, the researchers found.

There was little evidence, thought, that ease of use would be important to users, the
study says.

The study has been peer-reviewed but not yet published In an Issue of Telematlcs
and lnformatics

It notes that future research could compare the results across countries. "Such studies would shed light on the role of culture and government, such as the role and influence of
government administration in creating disparities in the factors determining the acceptance or rejection of location-based emergency services."

For more: go to the study, "Social acceptance of location-based mobile government services for emergency management" by Aloudat and Michael.

Citation: Zach Rauanitz, September 10, 2013, "Australian study looks at public attitudes toward mobile emergency alerts", Fierce Mobile Government.

The Technological Trajectory: From Wearables to Implantables

Key Link

Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Katherine AlbrechtCASPIAN



We've seen waves of automatic identification innovation since the 1960s. First bar codes changed the face of the supermarket checkout, then magnetic-stripe cards changed banking, smart cards made a debut for telecommunications and much more in Europe especially, then biometrics for electronic benefits schemes and other government-to-citizen transactions, and the finally contactless cards and microchip implants for the identification of bovine, swine and fish. While the selection environment of these technologies continues to increase, integration and convergence of infrastructure and various auto-ID techniques is rapidly occurring. What does this mean for citizens in every day life? Will predictive analytics be used to manipulate our purchasing behaviours or decision making capacities? This discussion addresses matters to do with free will, autonomy, the right to be left alone, and human rights and dignity. It also maintains that the more time we give over to devices that we wear, the harder it will be to loose the shackles from the technology grip. Katina calls this high-tech lust. It is a type of addiction. How do we get back our work-life balance? In the busy world of instant communications how do we leave some time for the self to develop privately through meditation and other activities that bring us not closer to technology, but closer to each other as people.

Suggested Citation: Katina Michael and Katherine Albrecht. "The Technological Trajectory: From Wearables to Implantables" Katherine Albrecht: Talk Radio with a Freedom Twist Jul. 2013.

UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy

Monday, July 22, 2013

UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy

Ian Hannah of displayed his professional hexcopter at the UAVs Pros Cons Symposium in Toronto.

One of the biggest drone-related stories to make the rounds is about a little Colorado town that is attempting to institute a $100 reward for anyone who shoots down an unmanned aircraft. I'll not post a link to this story, or name the actual town, since it appears this is little more than a stunt to attract media attention to the town.

The townspeople may or may not be "real" about their proposed law, given the likelihood of people being injured by gunfire or falling drones, but fear of unmanned aircraft systems (dronephobia?) is real. This fear is rooted in a disconnect between popular media, and the actual uses and potential for the technology.

UAVs Pros-Cons was an effort bring expert knowledge to the public, while at the same time providing a discussion of many of the legitimate concerns over drones and their uses.

Hosted June 30 at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Business Management in downtown Toronto, this was the first public event organized by DronesForGood.

Ian Hannah, a certified pilot and owner/operator of aerial photography provider, displayed his professional-grade hexcopter, which is equipped with a high-end camera gimbal system for a digital SLR camera. Ian has uploaded some samples of what's possible with his equipment on Vimeo.

I also brought one of the four fixed-wing drones from the Drones for Schools initiative, which is one of the 32 programs originating from the five-year National Science Foundation grant EnLiST (Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching and learning). These unmanned aircraft are designed to take aerial photo mosaics and photomaps.

Ian and I answered questions, and gave talks on drones and their many peaceful uses in media, agriculture, and scientific research.  For the final talk of the symposium, I explored the portrayal of drones in the media, how that clashes with reality, and discussed the origin of the word "drone." I also gave examples of how drones can provide communities valuable data in times of crisis, and what kind of special ethical considerations drone journalists may have to consider.

Nikola Danaylov of the Singularity Weblog documented the talks, and posted them free to the public. More info about the symposium is available on the Ubverveillance blog. 

In talking with Ian at the symposim, there was one message which seemed most urgent. He described to me how he was once invited by a colleague out to a soccer field, which are fairly common around airports given how the noise level makes most development unsuitable.

Ramona Pringle, a professor of media at Ryerson, facilitated the public discussion on UAVs at the symposium.

This person had a drone, and a rather expensive one. Ian estimated it was worth about $10,000. His colleague fired up the motors, and the drone immediately rose into the airspace near the airport, dashed over a busy road, and crashed nearby. It was all over fairly quick.

We have a code of ethics which we abide by on, which specifically mentions that an operator must be familiar with his aircraft and operate it in a safe fashion. Obviously, there are going to be people who do not use common sense when operating these devices.

Ian is a proponent of certification, and after hearing about that incident, I have to say I'm a proponent as well. There are concerns in the UAV community that such a regulatory structure could be manipulated by "big players," which would needlessly direct people to specific, expensive hardware, thus blocking access to the skies.

Should everyone own a drone? Given the things I've seen and heard, I'm not so sure. We have public roads, but we don't let just anyone drive on them.

University of Toronto professor Andrew Clement spoke about the lack of compliance on private security cameras, and how drone surveilance could even further complicate this situation.

One thing I am sure about is the operational environment needs a lot of improvement in terms of safety. Without a safe operating record, journalists and small unmanned operators will have an exceptionally difficult time persuading the public to let us fly. And this is on top of all the sensationalist reports we've been struggling against.

I write a lot about openness of data on this website. Adding certifications may restrict some from flying, but that doesn't mean that the data those aircraft obtain has to be closed-source. The key might prove to be skilled operators, but who fly in the public interest by keeping their data available on the internet.

Avner Levin, Chair of the Law & Business Department at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, speaking about "drones for bad" and the threat to privacy.

UAVs Pros Cons was sponsored by in part by and Ryerson University and the Privacy & Cyber Crime Institute at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management provided patronage of this event. Convenors for this event included Katina Michael (Wollongong), Alexander Hayes (, Susannah Sabine (, Rob Manson (MOBLabs), Jai Galliot (, and myself.

Photos here are courtesy of Alexander Hayes, via Flickr. Below are video from talks by Ian and myself. More videos are available on the Singularity Weblog. 

By Matt Schroyer at 9:00 AM

Tags: Alexander Hayes Andrew Clement Avner Levin drones Ian Hannah Katina Michael ,pros cons Ramona Pringle Ryerson sUAS Toronto UAS UAVs UAVs Pros Cons

Citation: Matthew Schroyer, July 22, 2013, "UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy", Mental Munition Factory,

The Canadian Press News Look- Ahead List from June 30-July 6

EDITORS: Following is a list of news events for Sunday, June 30 to Saturday, July 6, 2013: x-denotes wire, y-denotes picture, z-denotes graphics coverage. Copy from other events based on merit and availability. All times local unless otherwise noted. Queries about these events and stories in The Canadian Press report should be directed to the departments listed below (all phone numbers 416 area code):

Main Desk (National News) 507-2150; Sports Desk 507-2154; Ontario Desk 507-2159; Photo Desk 507-2169; Specials Desk (Syndicated Copy) 507-2152; IT Desk (Technical Trouble) 507-2099 or 1-800-268-8149.

G3 Drone Team Logo, Rev 3.png
TORONTO _ Ryerson University holds a symposium on drones and their potential impact on everyday life. Some panellists are Avner Levin (Ted Rogers School of Management's Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute), Katina Michael (associate professor at the School of Information Systems and Technology in Australia) and Alexander Hayes (co-founder of Drones For Good). (9 a.m. at Ted Rogers School of Management, 575 Bay St. (entrance from 55 Dundas St. W.) 9th floor, TFS 3-176)

Citation: CP, June 28, 2013, "The Canadian Press News Look- Ahead List from June 30-July 6", The Canadian Press.

Living In A Smart World

Key Link


Author: Tiffany Hoy, Editor: Wang Yuanyuan, Global Times - Xinhua China
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong


As "smart" devices continue to advance, government regulation is lagging far behind, leaving citizens vulnerable to giving away their private information without their knowledge, said Katina Michael, vice chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

People sometimes don't even know what embedded sensors are in the devices that they're carrying, Michael said, but the information that they record can be pieced together to create a frightening surveillance profile. "There are many social implications if I know your whereabouts 24 x 7. I can track your location history, for example -- I know exactly where you were on the Earth's surface, I know how fast you were traveling which tells me your mode of transport, if any, and I'm probably able to infer what you were doing," said Michael.

"If I know through the devices that you're carrying: who you are -- through your ID, where you are -- through GPS or wifi enablement, when you were there -- through a timestamp, and what you were doing -- through the visual imagery you are taking photos or records of, then we pretty much know what is actually in your mind," she added.

Moving towards a more transparent society, where mobile recording devices can be used to capture what's happening at any given time -- with life-bloggers recording every waking moment through autography devices, and police use dashboard cameras and headsets to record video later used as evidence in court, also comes with a trade-off: the erosion of personal privacy.

"There's an asymmetry involved here. The wearer of these wearable devices is always a more powerful constituent in this relationship. Those individuals who choose not to be a part of this new information society may find themselves on the wrong side of any particular imbalance," Michael said. "The asymmetry gets greater and greater as the number of devices grow, (between) those that have wearables and those who don't, and those who don't wish to participate and live off-grid. "Yes we understand that once we step out our front door we can' t expect privacy. But private things can be gathered, such as the clothes that we wear, the places that we frequent, if I want to go to a religious building on a weekend ... I should have an expectation of privacy and there should not be recordings of me going about my everyday life," she added.

Suggested Citation

Global Times - Xinhua China and Katina Michael. "Living in a smart world" Global Times Jun. 2013.

Pop password pill, or simply stick it

Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong


But University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael warned the tatts and pills could easily be tampered with and were “an invasion of bodily privacy.”

“Everyone is trying to find a solution to the password problem, but by inviting the password problem into the body or on to the body, we’re magnifying the problem,” Michael said.

“You can’t ensure that the token is free from interference from another person or an organisation. There will be a lot of counterfeit pills that cause a lot of headaches.”

She said people just need to create stronger passwords.

Suggested Citation: Alysha Aitken and Katina Michael. "Pop password pill, or simply stick it" mX June 7. 2013.

Full article here in text:


FORGET remembering passwords. Tattoos and swallowing pills could soon replace manually entering computer and smartphone passwords.

Mechanical engineer Regina Dugan has revealed plans to create wearable tech tattoos containing tiny sensors that would communicate with your gadgets, at the All Things Digital's D11 conference in California.

``Authentication is irritating. So irritating that only about half the people do it even though there's a lot of information about you on your smartphone,'' Dugan said.

But the sticker-like tattoo can only be worn for a week at a time, so if you're not so keen on the tatt, you can opt for the password vitamin.

The US-approved pill, which is swallowed daily, emits a signal that allows your body and gadgets to communicate, removing the need for a password.

``Essentially, your entire body becomes your authentication token,'' Dugan said.

But University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael warned the tatts and pills could easily be tampered with and were ``an invasion of bodily privacy''.

``Everyone is trying to find a solution to the password problem, but by inviting the password problem into the body or on to the body, we're magnifying the problem,'' Michael said.

``You can't ensure that the token is free from interference from another person or an organisation. There will be a lot of counterfeit pills that cause a lot of headaches.''

She said people just needed to create stronger passwords.