Historically telecommunications companies have measured voice and data traffic for reasons related to service dimensioning and engineering management. Today, personalised devices make it possible to understand not only requirements for the capacity needed in a network environment, but household and individual usage patterns. This has changed the way that companies now market their products and services and sell direct to individual or groups of consumers. Beyond marketing is the intimate knowledge gathered of why people do things, inferred by pattern-of-life data and metadata. This is precise knowledge of customer behaviours, traits, habits and characteristics. Of the most pervasive devices is the smart phone which is carried by most consumers, young and old, everywhere they go. Coupled with additional self-disclosed data in social media, corporations now know a great deal more about people than prior to the mobile Internet revolution. Digital chronicles automatically generated using rich onboard sensors on smartphones gather streams of historical user-based data every single day. The end result is that time-based digital chronicles are now being used to proactively profile individuals and households for more than just telecommunications engineering. The Internet of Things promises even greater connectedness as individual items begin to come alive on a global network each with their respective IP address. Big data will soon be able to reveal patterns and trends that were previously incalculable. Humans in actual fact have become akin to mobile network access nodes, as they move around going about their business, quantified with a variety of measures. We will seek even greater levels of scrutiny in the not-too-distant future heralding in an age of uberveillance. We now know much more about consumers than traditional call holding times and the location of an individual user in a mobile network. Through evidence we know what consumers are thinking, how they are feeling, and even what they will do next with a high degree of accuracy. Embedded surveillance devices will likely replace clunky mobile and wearable handsets and headsets which will introduce an ability to transcend physical boundaries. This paper will define uberveillance and discuss the limits of connectedness when convenience overrides efficiency. What are the social implications to consumers when companies can exploit the intimate knowledge they collect for more than just service availability?
Like most things passed off as new, surveillance itself is not new. Its antecedents are as old as our earliest creation accounts when the gods gazed out onto the cosmos they had created and “saw everything” (Gen 1: 31). It is ironic that surveillance via low earth orbiting satellites is back up in the “heavens” scanning the entirety of the earth in an astonishing 90 minutes. The trajectory of surveillance technologies together with their underlying social, ethical, economic, environmental and religious implications and impacts must be considered. Alarming statistics like those found in Britain indicate there is one camera for every eleven persons. What is the culmination of all this surveillance? Where are we headed? Are we simply to fear cameras mounted on walls and ceilings that watch us from above? Or is there something even more pervasive coming, beyond that device that accompanies most of us everywhere we go- the modern smart phone?
We argue that uberveillance will harness existing brownfield fixed and mobile network infrastructure in an attempt for absolute knowledge of an individuals' state of being and their relationships . It is an alleged transparency of every individual's motivation, intent, sentiment, behaviour and actions. It is that ability to find the consumer, like a needle in a haystack, with precision based on historical movements and current context. The private space is that final frontier that we will inevitably trespass. It is that which Orwell stated was the only thing left that was sacred, that space between our skull where we were once free to roam and think and feel and reflect without scrutiny. New pervasive technologies have the ability to extract thoughts removing all barriers for marketing and consumption .
From Wearables to Bearables
The veillances which incorporate surveillance, dataveillance, sousveillance and uberveillance are all that capture the gaze from above, from below, and from within. From cameras mounted on high on a wall, to cameras mounted on the head of a person, to cameras within the person, the veillances explore the notion of watching from a variety of perspectives. Uberveillance fuses together all the different gazes providing the most pervasive kinds of information by converging the right data through the various lenses. On the one hand is the data that is sourced through shopping mall cameras and social media and gaming platforms, then that which is taken by another wearer (e.g. head mounted display recording device), and finally implantable devices that can report on physiological characteristics of the body. Together this converging melting pot of technologies and infrastructure can provide an end-to-end, holistic view of any person. This is technology driven by notions of machine learning, that know an individual better than they know themselves. The feedback loops we will be providing not only mobile phones, but GPS-enabled step counters and neural bands that denote emotion, may well pave the way for new laws on the act of trespassing (into the mind), and intellectual property laws (ownership of unique and private thoughts). The microchip implant is that lowest common denominator device for subjects that will render the Internet of Things (loT) phenomenon a real potentiality .
Uberveillance is the disturbing technological scenario of converging various types of sensors into an implantable device beneath the skin. In layman terms, uberveillance is a kind of CCTV on the “inside” looking out, rather than on the “outside” looking down. It is an “above and beyond”, an exaggerated 24/7 surveillance embedded inside the human body. It not only records vital physiological signs of an individual, diagnosing and predicting patterns of change in health (e.g. temperature and heart rate), but it has the capacity to trigger outward recording based on nearby sensors (e.g. image sensors). Uberveillance is dehumanizing in that it uses implantable technology to provide unique ID to ascertain true location and tracking in real-time monitoring without any cease, that is, constant and unending. This state of condition not only begs the question of “the death of privacy” and of autonomous action but that of data integrity as well the potential for misinformation, misinterpretation, and information manipulation .
Uberveillance is a compound word, conjoining the German über meaning over or above with the French veillance. The concept is very much linked to Friedrich Nietzsche's vision of the Ubermensch, who is a man with powers beyond those of an ordinary human being, like a super-man with amplified abilities. For example, heart, pulse, and temperature sensor readings emanating from the body in binary bits wirelessly, or even through amplified eyes such as contact “glass” that might provide visual display and access to the Internet or social networking applications.
Überveillance centralizes all the forms of watching (from above, from below, by collectives, by individuals) because the sensor devices carried or embedded in the body are the lowest common denominator in tracking elements- the individual. The network infrastructure underlies the ability to collect data direct from the sensor devices worn by the individual and big data analytics ensures an interpretation of the unique behavioral traits of the individual implying more than just predicted movement, but intent and thought.
Uberveillance has “to do with the fundamental who (ID), where (location), and when (time) questions in an attempt to derive why (motivation), what (result), and even how (method/plan/thought).” Examples of embedded devices range from medical instruments such as heart and brain pacemakers, cochlear implants and prosthetic implants . Examples of non-medical instruments include those used for access control, electronic payment and home automation. In the last 18 months we have witnessed the advent in particular of an explosion of wearable technologies in a variety of form factors, such as smart watches and glasses and electronic tattoos, but equally a number of proof of concepts for digital contact lenses, swallowable pills, and implantable RFID (radiofrequency identification).
A. Uberveillance is Not the Same as Uber Surveillance
After the word coined by M.G. Michael had entered academic discourse, a number of researchers suggested the term “uber surveillance” as a more precise alternative to “uberveillance”. Uber surveillance would have been redundant in a “dictionary” which already included the “synonyms” of mass-surveillance, wholesale surveillance, or total surveillance. At the same time Bentham's famous “all-seeing” panopticon certainly captures the chief elements of our collective efforts to describe newer forms of surveillance. Uber surveillance, then, if we can put it this way, is one of the results of uberveillance. They are not the same thing. A good illustration of this is the translation of uberveillance into supervigilancia by some South American writers. This does not carry over the deeper content and underlying narrative of the word, for instance the Nietzschean, Orwellian and Apocalyptic components of uberveillance, but rather it endeavors to translate “uber surveillance” instead. We do not think that “supervigilancia” entirely expresses the idea of “uber surveillance” either, but it does tease out other significant implications such as supervision and control.
We remain passionate on questions dealing with the applied ethics in relation to surveillance, especially in places where the application of uberveillance would violate the body, that is to say, the “sacred space” or where surveillance in general would impact upon our abilities to act as free agents outside any “visible” or “invisible” coercion. Of interest in the commercialization of this high tech implantable gadgetry has also been multi-national and corporate involvement in the creation of demand, supply, and merchandizing of “spy wear” and the inter-play of these global entities with governments. We need to be highly discerning to what lies behind the electrified glass tubes which flash WYSIATI “what you see is all there is” . It is just not true above all when it comes to embedded surveillance devices (ESDs) and we will suffer the awful consequences if we do not ask for “more information”.
Embedded Sensors and the Internet of Things
A. Pervasive Consumer Electronics
Enter Google Glass, Autographer, Memoto, TrackStick, Fitbit, and other wearable devices that are worn like spectacles, apparel, or tied round the neck. The more pervasive innovations like electronic tattoos, nanopatches, smart pills, and ICT implants seamlessly become a ‘part’ of the body once attached, swallowed, embedded, or injected . These technologies are purported to be lifestyle choices which can provide a myriad of conveniences and productivity gains, as well as improved health and well-being functionality. Wearables are believed to have such benefits as enhancements to self-awareness, communication, memory, sensing, recognition, and logistical skills. Common experiences can be augmented such as when a Disney character knows your child's name because of a wrist strap that acts as an admissions ticket, wallet, and ID .
Gone are the days when there was a stigma around electronic bracelets being used to track those on parole; these devices are now becoming much like a fashion statement and a desirable method for not only safety and security, but also for convenience and enhanced experiences. However, one must consider that an innocuous method for convenience may prove to create “people as sensors” in which information is collected from the environment using unobtrusive measures, but with the wearer - as well as those around the wearer - possibly unaware of the extent of the data collection. In addition to issues around privacy, other questions must be asked such as: what will be done with the data now and well into the future?
B. Ubiquitous Systems for Tracking and Monitoring
Embedded sensors have provided us with a range of benefits and conveniences that many of us take for granted in our everyday life. We now find commonplace the auto- flushing lavatory and the auto-dispensing of soap and water for hand washing. Many of these practices are not only convenient but help to maintain health and hygiene. We even have embedded sensors in lamp-posts that can detect oncoming vehicles and are so energy efficient that they turn on as they detect movement, and then turn off again to conserve resources . However, these fixtures are static; they form basic infrastructure that often have eyes (e.g. an image and/or motion sensor), but do not have legs.
What happens when these sensors- for identification, location, condition monitoring, point-of-view (POV) and more- become embeddable in mobile objects and begin to follow and track us everywhere we go? Our vehicles, tablets, smart phones, and even contactless smart cards are equipped to capture, synthesize, and communicate a plethora of information about our behaviors, traits, likes and dislikes, as we lug them around everywhere we go. Automatic license plate scanners are not only mounted in streetlights or on bridges, but now also on patrol cars. These scanners snap photos of automobiles passing and store such data as plate numbers, times, and locations within massive databases. Store owners are combining the use of static fixtures with mobile devices to better understand the psychographics and demographics of their customers. The combination of these monitoring tools is powerful. Cell phone identifiers are used to track the movements of the customers (even if the customer is not connected to the store's WiFi network), with the surveillance cameras collecting biometric analytics to analyze facial expressions and moods. Along with an augmented capability to customize and personalize marketing efforts, the stores can identify how long one tarries in an aisle, the customer's reaction to a sale item, the age of the shopper, and even who did or did not walk by a certain disolavr .
The human has now become an extension (voluntarily or involuntarily) of these location-based and affect-based technological breakthroughs; we- the end-users- are in fact the end-point of a complex network of networks that are increasingly adaptive in nature . The devices we carry take on a life of their own- sending binary data up and down stream in the name of better connectivity, awareness, and ambient intelligence. “I am here,” the device continuously signals to the nearest access node, handshaking a more accurate location fix, as well as providing key behavioral indicators which can easily become predictors of future behaviors. However, it seems as if we, as a society, are rapidly in demand of more and more communications technology - or so that is the idea we are heing sold.
Claims have been made that our life has become so busy today that we are grasping to gain back seconds in our day. Some ask: why should we waste time and effort by manually entering all these now-necessary passwords when a tattoo or pill could transmit an 18-bit authentication signal for automatic logon from within our bodies? We are led to believe that individuals are demanding uninterrupted connectivity, however, research has shown that some yearn to have the freedom to “live off the grid” even if for only a short span of time .
Uberveillance and Big Data Analytics
A. Continuous Customer Social and Behavioural Tracking
Increasingly, private enterprise and government agencies have sought to gain greater insights into the behaviours and sentiments of their customer base and citizenry by applying predictive analytics and social analytics in response to the need for goods and services to meet societal expectations. New creative industries are emerging around open innovation models, some of which are linked to open government data initiatives which are in part funded by taxpayers. Companies, together with governments and emergency service organisations, now apply a variety of techniques from crowdsourcing to genetic algorithms, from neural networks to sentiment analysis, to study both structured and unstructured forms of data that can aid in product and process discovery, productivity and well-being, and even national policy. This data is collected from a variety of sources including data from users themselves, data that is external to the organisation such as geodemographic data from statistical government agencies, private market databases, and “public” profiles on social networking sites .
While we have conducted data mining ever since the first records were maintained in the modern world, we now can speak of something known as “big data” which brings together not only large amounts of data- both quantitative and qualitative- but also various data types- text, audio, visual- that would never have been previously considered together. Currently we are being challenged to analyse these large amounts of data that require ever increasing processing speeds, and we are also being challenged to store the data economically, and to feed the discoveries back into business process lifecycles in a timely manner.
As an example, big data analytical techniques might be used to draw on continuous customer behavioural trends using numerous sources, either targeted to an individual or in aggregate to a group. Near real-time sensor data from telematics could provide for us detailed behavioural characteristics, and we could analyse these alongside visualisation techniques, like geographical customer “walk- throughs” in a shopping centre, that would grant us insight into the complex decision-making processes of a shopper. The claims of data scientists are that big data can reveal patterns that were previously hidden from view. To carry the analogy further, big data aims to reconstruct the very personal, precisely customised, and hitherto private thought processes of a consumer. Big data can be used to observe and analyse from the moment someone enters a store (either online or offline) to the point of considering to purchase and making the transaction. Then an organization might try to predict the likelihood of a repeat visit, and to generate a detailed expectation of what will happen the next time round. Big data explores details of the relationship between people's intent and actual behaviour and how people interact with objects around them.
B. Digital Footprints Glow in the Dark
Each of us already carries a digital footprint, akin to a digital DNA, that when combined may be able to denote our uniqueness- aspects about the self that would otherwise go unnoticed: how we write a blogpost and use co-located words; our level of language and type of punctuation; the clothes we wear in different contexts; and the places we frequent. Do we spend our Sunday mornings outdoors playing sports, indoors online, shopping, visiting friends, in religious worship, or in a ‘bad’ part of town ? When and how power and energy is used in our homes will reveal many details about us. Big data will draw on aspects of our home life, work life, study life, and social life to make assumptions beyond typical “market segmentations” and delve deep into ontological questions like “who are you?” . This data will have metaphysical implications. It will become common for people to consciously attempt to alter their digital footprint to prevent disclosure, just like a secret note sent by an admirer who has purposefully changed their handwriting to go undetected. The existence of big data will change, in small ways and large ways, how we live. When devices are implantable or embedded, they can especially supply corporations with intimate details about our personhood- when our pulse rate begins to race, when our temperature rises, and even the intonation in our voice can speak volumes if this data is being tracked continuously .
C. Quantified Self and Lifelogging
With each latest release, new media come packed with an even greater number of on-board sensors that can do everything from collecting data about one's physiological characteristics and recording real-time location coordinates, to using embedded cameras to ‘lifelog’ events . These data, knowingly or unknowingly collected and bandwidth permitting, may be wirelessly sent to a private or public cloud and stored, often for public view and under a creative commons license. Of particular interest are the embedded sensors that users wear (and will increasingly bear), which are actively gathering information about the world around them, and their own world .
The consequences of commercialisation of body wearable and bearable devices stem from two aspects that are underappreciated. The first is that a third party somewhere in the cloud usually owns the data gathered by these devices. The second is the outright ownership of the device itself, which is in the hands of the supplier, despite the user having purchased the device for use. For example, the current Google Glass Terms of Service state: “you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty” . As soon as personal information is stored on the Internet for ease of access from anywhere at any time, the possibilities of unauthorized access need to be considered. For example, four typical modes on most wearable sleep monitors indicate when you are (i) awake; (ii) in light sleep; (iii) in deep sleep (i.e. REM); and (iv) the level of efficiency reached between your rest and wake times. Additionally, monitors can tell adults how often they woke up during the night, how long the duration of sleep was, how long they were in bed for, and at what times they awoke. Data on sleeping patterns can denote some very personal details about individuals, such as whether individuals may suffer from insomnia or compulsive obsessive disorder, are sexually active, are workaholics, how they are likely to perform in stressful jobs, among a great many other things.
D. Making Connections
These new body wearables do not merely look inward to the body, but very often outward to the world around them. Yes, they are able to gather an individual's physiological characteristics, but they are also able to reconstruct the world around them by way of location coordinates, current speed travelled and direction, rich high-resolution photographs, and even in some cases audio capture. Not only are the wearers gathering data about themselves but they are also gathering heterogeneous data about fixed and mobile entities, including infrastructure, living (people and animals) and non-living things (vehicles). This is no longer simply derivable information like the “point of interest nearest you is ‘x’ given your position on the Earth's surface” but instead “Johnny is travelling at ‘x’ miles per hour and is a little sluggish today on his bike ride compared to yesterday, and that is as a direct result of the late night he had yesterday and the fact he consumed one glass of wine too many while at the nearby bar.” These devices start to tell us about exceptions to every day patterns of individuals and people around us .
A. People as Sensors
The metaphor of “people as sensors,” also referred to as “Citizens as Sensors” ,  is being espoused, as on-board chipsets allow an individual to look out toward another object or subject (e.g. using an image sensor), or to look inward toward oneself (e.g. measuring physiological characteristics with embedded surveillance devices). As optional prosthetic devices are incorporated into users, devices are recognized by some as becoming an extension of the person's mind and body. New developments in “smart skin” offer even more solutions. The skin can become a function of the user's habits, personality, mood, or behavior. For example, when inserted into a shoe, the smart skin can analyze and improve the technical skill of an athlete, factors associated with body stresses related to activity, or even health issues that may result from the wearer’”s use of high heeled shoes , . Simply put, human beings who function in analog are able to communicate digitally through the devices which they wear or bear. This is quite a different proposition from the typical surveillance camera which is bolted onto a wall overlooking the streetscape or mall and has a pre-defined field of view (FOV).
People as sensors is far more pervasive than dash-cams used in police vehicles, and can be likened to the putting on of body-worn devices by law enforcement to collect real-time data from the field (figure 1). When everyday citizens are wearing and bearing these devices, people form a collective network by contributing individual subjective (and personal) observations of themselves and their surroundings. There are advantages; the community is believed to benefit with relevant, real-time information on such issues as public safety, street damage, weather observations, traffic patterns, and even public health. People, using their everyday devices, can enter information into a data warehouse which could also reduce the cost of intensive physical networks that otherwise need to be deployed. Although murky, there is vulnerability; such as the risk of U-VGI (Un-Volunteered Geographical Information) with the tracking of mass movements in a cell phone network to ascertain traffic distribution . Consider it, a type of warwalking on foot rather than wardriving in a moving vehicle. It appears as if opt-in and opt-out features have not been deemed necessary perhaps due to the perceived anonymity of individual user identifiers. The ability to switch off’, turn off’, unplug, or select the “I do not consent” feature in a practical way, is a question that many have pondered on but with arguably a limited number of pragmatic solutions, if any.
B. The Mind/body Distinction
In the future, corporate marketing may hire professional lifeloggers (or mobile robotic contraptions) to log other people's lives with commercial devices. Unfortunately because of inadequate privacy policies or a lack of harmonized legislation, we, as consumers, may find no laws that would preclude companies from this sort of ‘live to life’ hire if we do not pull the reins on the obsession to auto-photograph and audio record everything in sight . And this needs to happen right now. We have already fallen behind and playing a risky game of catch-up. Ethics is not the overriding issue for technology companies or developers; innovation is their primary focus because, in large part, they have a fiduciary responsibility to turn a profit. We must in turn, as an informed and socially responsive community, forge together to dutifully consider the risks . At what point will we leap from tracking the mundane which is of the body (e.g. locationqqbn? of GPS coordinates), toward the tracking of the mind by bringing all of these separate components together using uber-analytics and an uber-view ? We must ask the hard questions now. We must disclose and discuss the existence of risk, the values at stake and the possibility of harm.
It is significant that as researchers we are once more, at least in some places, speaking on the importance of the Cartesian mind/body distinction and of the catastrophic consequences should they continue to be confused when it comes to etymological implications and ontological categories. The mind and the body are not identical even if we are to argue from Leibniz's Law of Identity that two things can only be identical if they at the same time share exactly the same qualities. Here as well, vigilance is enormously important that we might not disremember the real distinction between machine and human.
Competing narratives and criticisms of the research underpinning uberveillance are more than welcome. This is a complex and controversial field and we need to update and inform each other whether this has to do with new technologies, amendments to legislation, or simple and plain correction. Those of us who are genuinely concerned with the quickening erosion of our right to privacy as a fundamental component of our natural rights on which John Locke  and the social contract thinkers had some momentous things to say, will achieve little if anything- at least in the long term- if we go about it alone or side-line and downgrade colleagues who might approach the debate a little differently or inform it from another perspective.
The question remains, why do researchers who believe that trajectories mapped out by engineers given the principle of exponential growth will invariably be realized in ubiquitous surveillance, continue to spend time and resources on the subject? The answer need not be intricate. It is because a large group of these researchers believe that ultimately whatever the cost individuals will still possess the freedom to decide to what extent they integrate themselves into the electronic grid. Additionally, philosophers who have contemplated on the question of technology and its impact on society such as Martin Heidegger, Ivan Illich, Jacques Ellul, and those from the Frankfurt School, have argued that technology must be vigorously critiqued for the worst of all possible outcomes would be the de-humanization of the individual and the loss of dignity resulting in a “standardized subject of brute self-preservation.” One of the fundamental elements of such literature is the profound comprehension that technology has not only to do with building but that it is also a social process.
Charlie Chaplin's “culturally significant” Modern Times (1936) is an unmatched visual accompaniment, the classic scene of the iconic Little Tramp caught up into the cogs of the giant machine, of the unintended consequences of the efficiencies of modern industrialization. A decade earlier Fritz Lang's futuristic Metropolis (1926) the story of a mechanized underground city set in a dystopian society, would likewise leave its indelible mark. It was a prescient summary of what was to follow, the troubling link between teleology and technology.
It is fitting to conclude with a recent citation from authors Lisa Shay et al.  of the Cyber Research Center of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, which points to the maturation of the term uberveillance and to the realization of its potential consequences: Roger Clarke's concept of dataveillance and M.G. Michael and Katina Michael's more recent uberveillance serve as important milestones in awareness of the growing threat of our instrumented world.
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IEEE Keywords: Surveillance, Sensors, Big data, Cameras, Mobile, Communication, Companies, Biomedical monitoring, smart phones, consumer behaviour, Internet of Things, marketing data processing, service availability, uberveillance, Internet of Things, service dimensioning, engineering management,usage pattern, marketing, pattern-of-life data, meta data, customer behaviour, customer trait,customer habit, customer characteristics, smart phone, mobile Internet revolution, digital chronicles, time-based digital chronicles, mobile network access nodes, embedded surveillance, data analytics
Citation: M.G. Michael, Katina Michael, Christine Perakslis, Uberveillance and the Internet of Things, 2014 International Conference on Contemporary Computing and Informatics (IC3I), 27-29 Nov 2014, DOI: 10.1109/IC3I.2014.7019829, Mysore, India.