You're Being Watched Right Now
In an Era of 'Internet Everywhere' Everyone Is Being Tracked All the Time
European officials are using terms like ubiquitous computing and pervasive or invasive computing. One of them said that ambient intelligence is an even greater challenge to European privacy enforcers than terrorism. Ambient intelligence refers to an environment in
which electronic devices support human beings in their daily activities in a way that conceals the computers' inner workings. This will involve embedding tiny chips inside the body, customizing them to the individual and anticipating needs of the individual.
Michael G. Michael, a theologian and technology historian at the University of Wollongong, in New South Wales, Australia, says that he originated the term uberveillance to describe the new
environment. The stem "uber" means "over" or "super" in German. He thinks the pervasive monitoring will lead to increased cases of insanity and mental distress. "Mental illness will become an increasingly confronting factor as these issues develop," he frowned.
Another threatening term often used in these contexts is nanotechnogy, which refers to a
miniaturization of technology allowing applications originally deemed impossible. Still another term is biobanking, which, in the words of an IBM developer, "aims to empower researchers with unprecedented access to critical molecular and clinical information to accelerate a
more personalized paradigm of medicine." Biobanks--sometimes called biorepositories or tissue banks--are a critical resource for 21st century clinical research and medicine because they naturally generate lots of genomic and phenotypic data. "Combining the wealth of genetic and molecular information now emerging with patient records and other clinical records will help researchers understand disease at the molecular level, ultimately leading to
innovative new personalized therapies and treatments." Even -- especially -- children are already subjects of this pervasive monitoring. Web sites like Neopets.com, Webkinz.com,
Surveysmash.com and Barbie.com manipulate children by offering bonus points for loyalty to products and to the site. Children are coerced into visiting on a regular basis. They are
forced to give care, love and attention to fictional characters and animals. Collecting information on child-oriented Web sites is regulated by American law (even though kids, of course, have little difficulty circumventing the parental consent rules), but manipulating children online is not regulated.
Citation: Robert Ellis Smith and Forbes.com, December 5, 2007, "You're being watched right now", ABCNews: America, http://abcnews.go.com/Business/FunMoney/story?id=3937203&page=1