Glogging Your Every Move

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Lisa WachsmuthIllawarra Mercury
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong

Article comments


"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:

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."

With Words that Last

Others, like ‘‘climate porn’’ or ‘‘uberveillance’’ might have not yet reached their peak.
— Sydney Morning Herald

WE’RE about to leave the noughties, but not all of the words born in the past decade will necessarily be coming with us, a quick review shows. Some of the Macquarie Dictionary’s words of the year for 2006 still stack up pretty well: the inaugural list introduced ‘‘affluenza’’, ‘‘muffin top’’ and ‘‘cyberstalking’’ into our official lexicon. ‘‘Cyberathlete’’ didn’t fare as well as ‘‘cyber cheating’’ from 2007’s list, which also gave us ‘‘carbon footprint’’ and ‘‘infomania’’. ‘‘Pod slurping’’, referring to the act of downloading large quantities of computer data to a portable memory device, was named the top word of that year. It has been overshadowed by the ‘‘toxic debt’’ that topped 2008 – in more ways than one. Some words succumbed to more popular alternatives: ‘‘arse antlers’’ was no match for ‘‘tramp stamp’’ when referring to a lower back tattoo. Others, like ‘‘climate porn’’ or ‘‘uberveillance’’ might have not yet reached their peak. There have been some memorable additions internationally as well. The author and blogger Adam Jacot de Boinod noted New York gave us the ‘‘cuddle puddle’’ in 2002 to describe a bunch of exhausted ravers, the same year that Britain takes credit for ‘‘trout pout’’ for botoxed lips.Of the Australian words to make it to the worldwide list of the best of the decade, as quoted in the Guardian, we offered up ‘‘barbecue stopper’’ in 2002 to describe an important electoral issue, ‘‘dog-whistle politics’’ for views heard only by supporters, and ‘‘flash packers’’ for comfortable but intrepid travellers.

Citation: Sean Nicholls and Leesha McKenney, December 17, 2009, "With Words that Last", Sydney Morning Herald, p. 26.

Macquarie Dictionary chooses 'toxic debt' as 2008 word of the year

Staff and wires February 04, 2009 10:05am

UPDATE 2pm: AUSTRALIA'S leading dictionary has dubbed "toxic debt" 2008 word of the year.

Read more of the nominees here.

The term comes as the effect of the global financial crisis continues to hit home.

By definition, the noun is a “debt which, although initially acquired as a legitimate business transaction, proves subsequently to be financially worthless, as the subprime loans which precipitated the GFC''. 

In the end, toxic debt edged out “bromance'' (“a non-sexual but intense friendship between two males''); “textaholic'' (“someone who sends an excessive number of text messages''); and “flashpacker'' (“a backpacker who travels in relative luxury'').

Macquarie Dictionary sages chose the term after its committee mulled over the year’s most important events. 

Publisher Sue Butler said environment and water issues also were examined.

“But the event of 2008 which overshadows all our lives was the GFC, itself a term now added to the lexicon,'' Ms Butler said.

“In this category, 'toxic debt' was thought to be the root cause, the lingering blight on our lives, and in addition it had, as a lexical creation, a visceral impact. It needed no explanation but said it all.''

Also in the “honourable mentions” include guerilla gardener (a person who plants gardens in neglected public areas such as nature strips, roundabouts and council parks); and “lawfare” (the use of international law to attack another country on moral grounds).

And topping various categories include: 

• Audiation (“the process by which one plays over in one's mind music that one has heard, which intrudes itself sometimes to an unpleasant degree.”);
• Baby brain (“the perceived diminished mental capacity, as characterised by forgetfulness, loss of concentration, etc., thought to be a side effect of pregnancy.”);
• Bullycide (“suicide which is a reaction to being bullied.”);
• Car crash TV (“a television program that is simultaneously absorbing and repulsive for the viewer”);
• Celeblog (“a blog written by a celebrity”);
• Celebutard (“a celebrity who is regarded as excessively stupid.”);
• Chess boxing (“a sport which alternates a round of boxing with a round of chess.”);
• Chicken-wing tackle (“an illegal tackle (in Rugby League) in which the arm of the person tackled is pushed up behind his back.”);
• Click-and-mortar (“adjective of or relating to a company which has operations both online and offline”);
• Climate porn (“predictions, thought to be exaggeratedly alarmist, about the progress of global warming and its effects on the world.”);
• Divorce gene (“men with a variant of this gene … may have a lowered motivation towards a social bonding with their partner”)
• Ear gauging an ear piercing procedure that involves the stretching of the pierced hole with a series of objects, each one larger than the previous one

• Ecocentrism (“a philosophy based on the idea that the ecosphere is more central to life than any particular organism”);
• Extreme programming (“the style of programming required for agile development.”);
• Fanta pants (“a person whose hair is naturally red”);
• Film tourism (“tourism occasioned by the wish to visit a well-known location used in a film or television production; set jetting.”);
• Fur child (“a pet animal, as a cat or dog, treated as one would a child.”);
• Generation Z (“the generation born in the early 2000s, following generation Y, characterised as being at ease with computer technology, online and mobile phone communication.”);
• GIS (“a computer system that can capture, store, analyse, and present in various ways data that locates places on the earth's surface.”);
• Granny season (“(in Australia) winter, during which many older members of the population travel north, especially with caravans, campervans, etc.”);
• Guerilla dining (“dining at a restaurant that has been set up temporarily in an unused space such as a car park, beach, rooftop or a private home”)
• Helicopter parenting (“a style of child rearing in which parents are excessively attentive to and involved in the lives of their children;

• Hybrid embryo (“an embryo which has a human cell nucleus inserted into an animal egg; developed to create stem cells to be used in medical treatments.”);
• Lifestreaming (“the online recording of one's daily life, delivered either by means of a webcam, or aggregated from personal blogs, microblogs”);
• Linkbait (“to create points of interest in (a website) so that other sites will link to it and increase traffic”);
• Lolcat (“a photograph of an animal, usually a cat, posed or digitally edited and humorously captioned using elements of baby talk, SMS coding, etc., in the text.”);
• Nomophobia (“a state of anxiety brought on by not having mobile phone contact, as from a low battery, no network coverage, etc.”)
• Pimp cup (“a goblet-shaped glass, usually brightly coloured and highly decorated, often with the owner's name picked out in rhinestones.”);
• Plastic soup (“a floating mass of waste, mainly plastic, which accumulates at the point in the ocean where a gyre is located”);
• Pod person (“someone who unquestioningly accepts authority, taking all ideas, dogmas, policies, etc., without question.”);
• Saviour sibling (“a child selected in embryo for genetic characteristics which can be of benefit to an existing brother or sister with an illness, especially for potentially curative stem cells to be used in medical treatments.”);
• Scene kid (“a person who adopts an unconventional style of dress, such as coloured hair worn high on the head, dramatic eyeliner and straight jeans, and who prefers hip-hop, screamo, punk rock, and other offbeat genres of music);
• Sexting (“the receiving or sending of a sexually explicit photo or video clip on a mobile phone”);
• Shwopping (“the exchange of items of clothing and accessories for a similar item offered by someone else on a website designed to facilitate such an exchange.”)
• Sugging (“attempting to sell under the guise of conducting market research, often with incentives attached to lead the potential customer to a purchase.”)
• Toad buster (“a person engaged in the eradication of the cane toad”);
• Torino scale (“a scale for categorising the impact hazard posed by near-earth objects, such as asteroids and comets.”);
• Transformative justice (“a form of justice which seeks to involve all parties, wrongdoers, victims, families, and friends, in a process of understanding the motivation and the consequences of the crime”); 

• tunneling (“a tactic (in Australian Rules) used by a player to unbalance an opponent going for a mark by knocking their legs sideways while they are in the air.”);
• Twitterverse (“the world of microbloggers.”)
• uberveillance (“an omnipresent electronic surveillance facilitated by technology that makes it possible to embed surveillance devices in the human body.”); and,
• Wii shoulder (“painful inflammation of the shoulder caused by excessive playing of virtual computer games involving movement.”).

Citation: Staff and Wires, February 4, 2009, "Macquarie Dictionary chooses 'toxic debt' as 2008 word of the year", Herald Sun. 

The year of climate porn and fanta pants

Erik Jensen January 8, 2009


LAST year began in excess and ended in disaster, if the words it contributed to the Macquarie Dictionary are any indication. The past year was one of flashpacking and toxic debt, of wellness tourism and the GFC. Those, alongside 91 other words and phrases, were added in 2008 to the Macquarie Dictionary's online edition.

"It says there was incredible smugness and consumption and then something hit it in the vitals and that made it sound silly and selfindulgent," the poet and Macquarie committee member, Les Murray, said of the list. 

"There were two big things that happened in 2008. One you can't use because it's a proper noun, and that's Obama. The second was subprime."

The editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, Susan Butler, said the influence of America was again large on the list of words she selected. But the British fanta pants "from the orange-coloured soft drink … with reference to pubic hair as the indicator of hair colour" was a notable exception.

The big trend for the year was the growth of environmental language: of ecocentrism, referring to the philosophy in which the ecosphere is more important than an organism or human  activity; of plastic soup, referring to a mass of plastic on an ocean gyre; and of climate porn, referring to alarmist predictions about the progress of global warming.

"There's 19 categories rather than 17 because environment had to be split into two," Ms Butler said. "And then it is in politics as well." 

Looking through the list of words, Mr Murray said lifestreaming (the online recording of one's daily life) sounded better than what it meant.

Uberveillance (omnipresent electronic  surveillance through devices embedded in the body) had more future than present.

And water footprint (the amount of fresh water used by a country, business or individual) was his pick for beauty. 

Readers of the Macquarie are encouraged to vote online for their favourite word, from which a people's choice will be announced in February.

The pick from 2007 was password fatigue, referring to the feeling encountered when a vast number of passwords renders a user unable to remember any of them.

This story was found at:

Erik Jensen, January 8, 2009, "The year of climate porn and fanta pants", Sydney Morning Herald

MG Michael's Research on Uberveillance

Dr MG Michael with his new book From Dataveillance to Uberveillance and the Realpolitik of the Transparent Society. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dr MG Michael with his new book From Dataveillance to Uberveillance and the Realpolitik of the Transparent Society. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dr MG Michael, studies the social implications of technology, including the way governments can use it to intrude on the lives of citizens. The term ‘‘uberveillance’’ means an exaggerated surveillance of citizens, an above and beyond omnipresent 24/7 version using tracking technologies which are embedded within the body. Think of it as Big Brother on the inside, looking out.

It is an emerging area of information and communications technology which preoccupies me.

However, if the powers behind some of the intrusive surveillance technologies which I am studying do not pause to consider both the trajectory and consequences of the
new ‘‘machinery’’ they are building, then we are in for a bumpy ride and the effects will potentially be catastrophic.

I am not a naysayer per se, but that’s how I see things as they now stand. This is not to say that technology is not affording us some amazing and groundbreaking possibilities, especially in the areas of biomedics, communications and, of course, business information systems.

I am certainly not a neo-Luddite. But I do not buy into the glossy and predictably misleading publicity of where this ‘‘computer age’’ is supposedly taking us. I genuinely doubt, based on past and present evidence, that we are about to enter the cornucopia of an electric world.

On a more positive note, our work is about promoting discourse among the academic disciplines, the various sectors of the community and the public itself which is a critical and significant stakeholder in this discussion which is shaping both our immediate future and the civilisation to come.

I have been contemplating the social implications of technology from within an apocalyptic framework and narrative for almost 25 years, and have travelled the world during that time listening and speaking to recognised experts in their respective fields.

This group includes both religious persons and those who are firmly fixed to the empirical side of things. It is a truly extraordinary and revealing mix. People might be surprised with some of the points of agreement.

There are several strong connections between the desert and city that we often altogether miss, or choose to ignore.

My research focus extends to:

  • modern interpretations of scripture and the Apocalypse of John;
  • the historical antecedents of modern cryptography;
  • the auto-ID trajectory;
  • uberveillance and Big Brother;
  • data protection, privacy and ethics related issues;
  • biometrics, radio frequency identification and chip implants;
  • national security and government policy;
  • and more broadly the system dynamics between technology and society.

Each one of these subjects intensely fascinates me. There is a noticeable cross-disciplinary indication here; we are finding this more and more in perceived ‘‘monolithic’’ disciplines such as engineering and computer science.

My passion extends to teaching, writing papers, and presenting at conferences. But particularly teaching, above all else. 

I have been invited to present at international conferences and have published a number of papers in the disciplines of IT, bioethics, and biblical studies. More recently we have been given the honour to deliver a paper in the high profile 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners which was held in Canada, alongside such keynotes as Michael Chertoff, Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security.

Dr MG Michael is an honorary fellow at the University of Wollongong’s School of Information Systems and Technology.


Best part of your research?

Sharing my work in class with my students at the University of Wollongong and listening to what they have to say; meeting and exchanging ideas with colleagues both locally and internationally; working closely with my wife, Dr Katina Michael, who is the driving force behind this funded research collaboration; and educating and regularly surprising myself with new bits of information and knowledge.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Lots of things! One of these, the dream to become a policeman, I actually fulfilled for a short period. I also liked to make believe that my bedroom was a spaceship and that I was an astronaut taking off into the heavens, heading for the Moon.

Has your career followed a straight line?

Positively not. I found myself in the IT world through an unbelievable twist of fate. I really am the proverbial ‘‘accidental tourist’’. In previous incarnations I have been a police officer, high-school teacher, soldier, and clergyman. I have moved about a bit and have found that institutional hierarchies and I do not always see eye-to-eye. I have a habit of asking too many questions! But there are other things which I think matter a whole lot more, and those things I have tried to let follow a straight line. However, like most people, I do not always succeed.

What would you change?

Ten years ago I probably would have said quite a few things; and five years prior to that a whole lot more. But I have increasingly come to the realisation that providence really does know best, and that all things do work together for good. We just need to hang in there.

Advice for young researchers:

Passion for your work; endurance in reaching your goals; humility with your successes; and the desire to become ‘‘builders’’. Also to read as many books as you can, to make this a life-long habit. Be predisposed to biographies. And to make sure that you surround yourselves with suitably qualified mentors. 

Next adventure:

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. (Seize the day, trust least to the future).

Citation: MG Michael, "MG Michael's Research on Uberveillance", Illawarra Mercury, November 27, 2007.

Hi-tech versus Privacy

Hi-tech vs privacy



University of Wollongong senior lecturer Katina Michael researches the use of tracking technologies and their human impact. With the threat of terrorism prompting the increased use of technology to keep track of people, and talk of the reintroduction of a national ID card, KATINA MICHAEL, senior  lecturer at the University of Wollongong, researches these options with a view to their social impact.

I research emerging technologies targeted at mass market applications, and the social implications of these technologies on citizens and business. In 1996 I began researching smart cards and then in the following year expanded my interests to the wider automatic identification industry: bar code, magnetic-stripe card, biometrics, radio-frequency identification (RFID). In 2004, I further extended my research agenda to include location technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), wireless local area networks, UHF, cellular triangulation, chip implants and geographic information  systems (GIS). 

My work explores the dynamics between technology and service providers,  customers, endusers (eg citizens) and government agencies in the process of technological innovation. I am particularly interested in the technological trajectory of the identification and location-based services (LBS) industry and use a historical method to analyse changes that have occurred over time. 

My predictive studies are based on the  current state of development and verifiable  cutting-edge research. My unit of analysis is multi-layered - the technology at the first  instance, then the application context, and finally the given product or process innovation.

Together with research students, I have developed the 3Cs and 3Ts classification of  location-based applications - Control, Care, Convenience and Tagging, Tracking, Tracing.
This approach lends itself well to usability contexts, used to analyse applications that are focused on identifying or locating objects, animals or people at varying levels of  location accuracy - from precision to proximity. 

More recently I have become interested in how emerging technologies impact social ethics and legislation. My work is aimed at influencing Australian government policy, and for that reason has broader applicability than just in the information technology sector alone.
Currently, the rekindling of the Australia Card debate, the controversial use of RFID and  Biometrics for ePassports, and the newly defined laws in telecommunications interception and anti-terrorism are important issues as they affect not only suspected terrorists and intercountry travellers but all citizens of Australia. 

Consider the 24x7 tracking of suspected terrorists or the obligatory adoption of card schemes mandated by the Government and enforced by law. The latter example appeals directly to the national security debate, in which I have been an active participant since completing my PhD. However, given the area of study, my research has as much applicability to national security as it does to the emergency management sector, as there are common approaches to aiding communication and collaboration using electronic and mobile business applications in either context. 

Perhaps my single-most passionate research area is looking at the development of the human-computer metaphor. I have been studying the implantation of chips into humans for a variety of applications, including for medical purposes. This topic brings together research from diverse fields including medical, robotics, automatic identification,  ubiquitous computing, technology trends, culture and ethics. 

Katina Michael is a senior lecturer in the School of Information Technology and Computer Science at the University of Wollongong.


Will it save the world?

No. The best most of us can hope for is that our research plays at least a small part in the wider context of a larger research project which is considered useful to society at large. 

Years spent trying:

My first minor research project began in July 1996 and was titled Social Implications of Smart Cards: an Australian Case Study. So I guess that means I have been researching in the field for about 10 years. Are you getting anywhere? Yes. Research however is a lifelong endeavour. 

Best part of your research? 

Without a doubt it is mentoring younger scholars, collaborating with colleagues, ongoing education and helping break new ground. Have you had a true ‘‘Eureka! I’ve found it!’’ experience? Yes - founding the concepts of ‘‘electrophorus’’ and ‘‘homoelectricus’’ with DrM G Michael while collaborating on a paper. I have also had a great number of ‘‘you  beaut’’ moments, particularly while supervising my research students. 

Has it made you rich?

Not in dollar terms, but rich in experience and  perspective. What did you want to be when you were a kid? I never quite knew what I wanted  to be when I was growing up, although I liked studying English, writing poetry and being a part of theatrical productions all through primary and high school. I never set out to be an academic until after I left my previous workplace. It happened quite unexpectedly. 

Has your career followed a straight line?

I do not think I’ve had the normal academic career path, although I did a Bachelor’s degree followed by a PhD in close succession. When I finished my undergraduate studies, I had discounted further research as an option, until my husband encouraged me to work and study at the same time. It was tough but well worth it. I used my annual leave to hack away at my thesis. One of the toughest things I faced was maintaining  focus on the same research question after long periods away from the university campus but I  was passionate about my PhD topic and in the end that is what got me through the very late  nights and long haul. 

Advice for young researchers:

Persistence, hard work, integrity and passion for learning and sharing. Website:

Citation: Katina Michael, "Hi-Tech vs Privacy", Illawarra Mercury, October 31, 2006.