National Security Risks Associated with the Strava App

The Strava App story seems to have mesmerised readers worldwide. Understandably so. People as sensors is a concept that has gathered momentum in the fields of location-based services, social media and crowdsourcing applications. In 2003, I recognised the potential of GPS/GIS and ran a study titled Spatial Database National Australian (S-DNA) that was funded by the University of Wollongong. Here are some of the first outcomes of the work, that later grew to be funded by the Australian Research Council as a Discovery Project:

Source: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/australian-military-says-strava-tracking-app-doesnt-breach-security-1806287

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.

Techtopia: what does your phone know about you?

Original source here: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4535025.htm

ELEANOR HALL: Welcome to Techtopia, our segment on the technologies set to disrupt our future and some of the unexpected questions we may need to ask about them.

Today a technology we're all familiar with: our phone. It has gone from staid, home-based handset to wearable message conveyor, music player, direction giver and so much more. 

But how familiar are we with what our smart phones know about us and what are they doing with that information? 

Joining me in Sydney, as he does every week for Techtopia, is entrepreneur and technology author Steve Sammartino.

Also here in our Sydney studio, is Dr Katina Michael, a Professor at the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, who is also on the board of the Australian Privacy Foundation.


FEATURED: 
Steve Sammartino, entrepreneur and technology author
Dr Katina Michael, professor, School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wollongong; board member, Australian Privacy Foundation

L to R: Katina Michael, Eleanor Hall, Steve Sammartino

Citation: Steve Sammartino and Katina Michael with Eleanor Hall, "Techtopia: what does your phone know about you?", ABC World Todayhttp://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4535025.htm

The Spying Landscape in Australia

Key Link

Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Paula TapiolasABC Radio

Abstract

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.

Living In A Smart World

Key Link

Authors

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

Abstract

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.

Glogging Your Every Move

Key Link

Authors

Lisa WachsmuthIllawarra Mercury
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong

Article comments

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/956192/glogging-your-every-move/?src=rss

Abstract

"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."

Cyborgs walk among us

Cyborgs walk among us

Higher education Conference

A university conference is tackling the big issues of technology and features speakers who have devices implanted under their skin, writes BENJAMIN LONG.

Program chair Associate Professor Katina Michael is expecting plenty of robust debate at the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society this week at the University of Wollongong.

The multidisciplinary conference, which closes tomorrow (with a further workshop being held on Thursday), has attracted the world's leading experts in the area of new technology and its social impacts.

"What is fresh about this conference is that it is bringing people from different disciplines to discuss the same subject matter from different angles" says Dr Michael, a senior lecturer in the School of Information Technology and Computer Science at UOW.

"There should be a clash of sorts, because I don't think everyone will agree with what is being put forward.

The conference is looking at issues related to cyborg technology, microchip implants, nanotechnology and social networking

"We've got information and communication technology specialists. We've got applied ethics researchers. We've got political scientists. We've got lawyers talking about regulation and legislation of emerging technology such as nanotechnology.

"We've also got commercial entities that have invested heavily, for example, in GPS innovations. We've even got a theologian talking.

"It's not just engineering focussed or humanities focussed. It's going to create a lot of dialogue between those who conceive, those who implement and those who eventually critique the technology."

More than 100 speakers from 17 different countries will address the conference, and 70 academic papers will be presented.

It is the first time the symposium has been held in Australia, says Dr Michael, who has been working on it since UOW was awarded the hosting rights in 2007.

Speakers are looking at emerging technologies in four broad categories - location-based services, social networking, nanotechnology and automatic identification - and looking in particular at issues of security, privacy and human rights.

A number of the keynote speakers are addressing issues around implantable devices.

Professor Rafael Capurro of the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Information Ethics, Germany, is a leading ethicist in this area. He has been writing about these issues, says Dr Michael, since a time when "most other people were thinking this was the stuff of conspiracy theory".

Prof Capurro writes that while "ICT (information and communication technology) implants may be used to repair deficient bodily capabilities they can also be misused, particularly if these devices are accessible via digital networks. The idea of letting ICT devices get under our skin in order not just to repair but even to enhance human capabilities gives rise to science fiction visions".

Dr Mark Gasson, a senior research fellow in the Cybernetic Intelligence Research Group at the University of Reading, in the United Kingdom, has an engineering background and looks at implants from a different angle.

In particular he is interested in implantable RFID (radio-frequency identification) devices, which have evolved to the point where they can be considered simple computers.

Dr Gasson recently became "the world's first human infected with a computer virus" when he had a chip implanted in his hand and then infected with a computer virus.

Taking a more idiosyncratic approach is another keynote speaker, Amal Graafstra, who is not an academic but rather an RFID implant enthusiast from the United States.

The owner of several technology and mobile communications companies, Graafstra has two RFIDs implanted in his body which do things like allowing him keyless access to his home and car.

Another of the keynote speakers, Dr Roger Clarke, a consultant on eBusiness, information infrastructure, and dataveillance and privacy, and a Visiting Professor at the School of Computer Science at ANU, addresses the subject of cyborg rights.

"The first generation of cyborgs is alive, well, walking among us, and even running," Dr Clarke argues.

"Pacemakers, clumsy mechanical hands, and renal dialysis machines may not match the movie image of cyborgs, but they have been the leading wave."

He points to the case of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, a double leg amputee whose prosthetic legs enable him to run faster than most able-bodied people. Pistorius doesn't want to be known as a Paralympian and would rather race against able-bodied athletes. Should he be allowed to run in the Olympics?

Dr Michael hopes that one of the outcomes of the conference is a greater awareness of how technology is affecting our lives.

"Technology can be used for positive means, but it can also be exploited," Dr Michael says.

"It is a great medium to communicate with other people on, but just be aware that even intelligent and street-savvy people can be fooled, and that harm can come from it.

"For example, one of the issues of location-based social networking is that Facebook now has a function that enables you to have a status update, which is automatic and which identifies your location based on where your mobile phone is.

"People can look at that without your knowing - if you've got 400 friends on your friends list - and see that you are in Figtree or you are in Wollongong.

"That might not mean much to people at the moment, but somebody might be able to use that to say, okay, well you're not at home right now so I can go around there and take everything you have. Or they could use it to stalk you.

"We are talking about technology that is not just in the virtual world, but which has repercussions in the physical world."

Citation: Benjamin Long, June 8, 2010, "Cyborgs walk among us", Illawarra Mercury, pp. 1, 23.