When Cameras can Hear and See: The Implications of Behavioural Biometrics

Ms Jennifer Luu is a student at the University of Technology, Sydney completing a Bachelor of Journalism. She also has begun producing stories at 2SER. I am appreciative that our interview on behavioural biometrics was recorded and transcribed by Jennifer herself. Above an audio download, and the full transcription available here.

Robotics Cleaning Technology at Australian Shopping Centres

Vicinity Centres is considering replacing some of its cleaning contractors with robots in a bid to automate and save costs, according to one of the company's non-executive directors, Wai Tang.

In a roundtable discussion ahead of International Women's Day, Ms Tang said disruption and volatility in the sector had led to many changes.

Vicinty Centres, which manages shopping centres around the country, had recently started trialling whether robots could be used to clean its centres.

But such a move, if it was formally implemented, would "displace many jobs", she said.

More here 

 

The bot in question is Cleanfix. The product is made by Teksbotics that also makes Pepper, iCub, and other small humanoid robots with AI. Cleanfix has 11 sensors on board.

Standard company blurb includes:

The robotic technology being trialled is a hands-free system that incorporates 11 sensors, giving the robot a 360-degree view of its surroundings, and allowing it to operate and clean autonomously. Advanced navigation and sensors detect obstacles as well as people - stopping to let them pass before proceeding.

The award-winning Cleanfix RA 660 Navi is specifically designed for hard floors and is ideal for shopping centres as it scrubs and vacuums independently, reduces the need for chemicals and uses water more efficiently which significantly lowers its impact on the environment.

Other sources:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/

https://www.wired.com/2012/12/ff-robots-will-take-our-jobs/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/5-reasons-a-robot-may-take-your-job-and-5-why-not/

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/19/our-automated-future

https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/laundry-and-cleaning/vacuum-cleaners/buying-guides/robot-vacuum-cleaners

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/where-machines-could-replace-humans-and-where-they-cant-yet

Citation: Katina Michael and Jon Faine, "Robotics Cleaning at Australian Shopping Centres: is it a good idea?" ABC Radio Melbourne: Mornings, http://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/live/ 7 March 2017.

Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’

Hyderabad: The international conference, a first of its kind, on ‘Women in Law Enforcement’, jointly organised by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy(SVPNPA) and the Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia started here on Tuesday with Aruna Bahuguna, director, SVPNPA, urging all women officers to build on breakthroughs achieved by women pioneers. In her inaugural address, she said that “as today’s world has shrunk into a global village and crime and terrorism sweep across continents, it is but logical that women law enforcers join hands to fight crime- be it terrorism, technology or radicalization.” Introducing the conference, Professor Tracey Green of CSU, Australia, emphasized that this was a unique opportunity for networking at every level from global, regional to national scale on many key aspects of policing from organized crime, border security, terrorism and radicalization and counter radicalisation. Chris Elstoft, Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, touched upon the long-standing relationship between Australia and India.

“We have been collaborating and working on a range of transnational issues related to money laundering and counter terrorism to name a few and this conference is yet another milestone that we have achieved coalescing the issue of women policing and gender equality.” Elaborating further, Professor Green stated that “terrorism worldwide demonstrates the need to strengthen global response in the critical areas of investigation. Technology: A Double-edged Sword Speaking on the benefits and harms of National Security Technology, Associate Professor Katina Michael, who has been researching on security technology for over 16 years, of University of Wollongong in Australia said technology’s pervasiveness can be hideous. Speaking about micro-chipping people embracing the technology into one’s body, she touched upon India’s Aadhaar-unique identity cards. According to her, keeping upto the pace of change in technology one forgets the basic needs. “What is the need for collecting biometrics of 1.2 billion people, without a legislation, when the country already has a national registry. Wait till a hacker takes your identity and how you would not be able to reclaim your identity,” she warned of a concept called ‘Identity theft’.

Women as agents of de-radicalisation Gulmina Bilal Ahmad,an independent researcher from Pakistan, speaking about the radicalisation related tendencies in her country, pointed out how women police force could be used in counter-radicalising terrorist activities. According to her, evidences suggest that certain militant organisations use specific messages targeting women groups, youth and children oriented groups. She said a certain militant group in SWAT were recruiting militants through a radio station talking about social justice that resonated with majority population. She reiterated that women police personnel who form less than one per cent of Pakistan police force and remain largely un-utilised should be used as de-radicalisation agents by engaging youngsters in dialogue. Higher ranks & not Numbers matter While pointing out that the representation of female police officers in International Police Force was higher and has reached an all-high of 44 per cent in Interpol, Dr Saskia Hufnagel of Queen Mary University London, said “It is not enough to improve the numbers of women in police force, what we need to do is to ensure that women make it to the higher ranks.”

Citation: Staff, 7 October 2015, ‘Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’, New Indian Express.

Changes to digital privacy laws – but are consumers aware?

Consumers are not aware of new digital privacy laws, says Associate Professor Katina Michael.

pii.jpg

Are consumers really properly protected in this digital era with the introduction of new privacy laws now coming into effect?

According to Associate Professor Katina Michael from UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and Vice Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, many consumers are unaware of changes taking place to privacy. In a recent interview broadcast nationally on ABC and a other interviews with SBS Radio and Ten’s Wake Up, Professor Michael said the majority of Australians were unaware who could access their personal information both in Australia and overseas.

She said when applying for a credit card or a home loan, do people really know that their personal credit history is being tracked and precisely what information is being stored about the products they purchase? 

New privacy laws have now been introduced following amendments being passed by Federal Parliament. The laws as they pertain to repayment history information are retrospective to December 2012. Under the new laws, large organisations and agencies that collect personal data are required to take reasonable steps to notify consumers about the collection of sensitive information, why it is being collected and whether or not it is onsold to third parties. Individuals will also be able to request access to their personal information and expect correction to their data if it is incorrect.

Large organisations that send personal data overseas would also be bound by new principles requiring them to take reasonable steps to ensure the data remain private and secure. The Australian Council of Civil Liberties says the laws needed to be updated to recognise the growth of social media websites over recent years where many users are posting personal information about themselves online. Professor Michael emphasised that consumers who used online dating web sites were particularly vulnerable to identity attacks, given the amount of data collected by the agency to perform “matches’ with prospective candidates that was publicly available.

The new laws also include more comprehensive credit reporting which will allow the reporting of information about an individual's credit history over the previous two years to credit providers. Individuals who make a loan or credit card payments more than five days late, may struggle to obtain credit products in the future as a result of the changes. 

Professor Michael told ABC interviewer Rod Quinn: How many consumers are really aware that if they have been only five days late with a payment this will be listed on their credit history? The same goes if one is more than 60 days late for a utility payment. The Australian Privacy Foundation welcomes some aspects of the new laws which it believes will help to strengthen consumers' rights such as civil penalties for companies who are in breach of the Act, and also new enforcement powers by the Privacy Commissioner.

Professor Michael believes the new laws covering personal data could fail if companies send information to countries with weak privacy laws and regulations, or none at all. If a security breach occurs in an overseas organisation organisation it may remain unknown to Australian consumers. She also thinks that small businesses should not have been exempted from the new privacy laws highlighting the fact that 80 per cent of Australia's businesses are small businesses hiring a quarter of Australia's population. Australia made attempts in the 1980s to centralise people’s information on to one card (combining Medicare and Social Security information for example). However, the Australia Card and the Access Card never got off the ground. 

Professor Michael told ABC listeners that there was a real danger in centralising people’s personal data all on to one card should that information fall into the wrong hands or encourage scope creep. “Having all that information in one place is just too penetrable,” she said.
Professor Michael fielded a range of listener enquiries during her ABC Radio interview.

Privacy Act Amendments: What do they mean for Australian Consumers?

Abstract

Source: Murfett Legal

Source: Murfett Legal

Changes have been announced to the Privacy Laws - will these changes affect you? Why have these changes been brought in; what needs to be done to comply with these laws and what are the penalties for non-compliance. Rod Quinn will discuss with Dr Katina Michael who is Vice-Chair Australian Privacy Foundation. Will these changes give more protection to your data stored on computers?

Keywords: privacy, act, law, Australia, credit reporting, direct marketing, cross border flow, sensitive information, tax file number, Australia Card, Access Card, centralisation, social media, new technologies, cloud storage, big data, disclosure

Citation: Katina Michael and Rod Quinn. March 28, 2014, "Privacy Act Amendments: What do they mean for Australian Consumers?" ABC Overnights (2014), Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/459/

Hi-tech versus Privacy

Hi-tech vs privacy

Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

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.

Q&A

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: www.itacs.uow.edu.au/school/staff/katina/

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