Urban flood modelling using geo-social intelligence

Social media is not only a way to share information among a group of people but also an emerging source of rich primary data that can be crowdsourced for good. The primary function of social media is to allow people to network near real-time, yet the repository of amassed data can also be applied to decision support systems in response to extreme weather events. In this paper, Twitter is used to crowdsource information about several monsoon periods that caused flooding in the megacity of Jakarta, Indonesia. Tweets from two previous monsoons related to flooding were collected and analysed using the hashtag # 'banjir'. By analysing the relationship between the tweets and the flood events, this study aims to create 'trigger metrics' of flooding based on Twitter activity. Such trigger metrics have the advantage of being able to provide a situational overview of flood conditions in near real-time, as opposed to formal government flood maps that are produced on a six to twelve hourly schedule alone. The aim is to provide continuous intelligence, rather than make decisions on outdated data gathered between extended discrete intervals.

Citation: Yang, K., Michael, K., Abbas, R. & du Chemin Holderness, T. (2018). Urban flood modelling using geo-social intelligence. International Symposium on Technology and Society, Proceedings (pp. 1-9). IEEE Xplore: IEEE.

Sociology of the docile body

Abstract

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Penguin Social Sciences): Michel Foucault, Alan Sheridan: 8601404245756: Books

Embedded radio-frequency identification, sensor technologies, biomedical devices and a new breed of nanotechnologies are now being commercialized within a variety of contexts and use cases. As these technologies gather momentum in the marketplace, consumers will need to navigate the changing cybernetic landscape. The trichotomy facing consumers are: (1) to adopt RFID implants as a means of self-expression or to resolve a technological challenge; (2) to adopt RFID implants for diagnostic or prosthetic purposes to aid in restorative health; as well as considerations (3) for enforced adoption stemming from institutional or organizational top-down control that has no direct benefit to the end-user. This paper uses the penal metaphor to explore the potential negative impact of enforced microchipping. The paper concludes with a discussion on the importance of protecting human rights and freedoms and the right to opt-out of sub-dermal devices.

Section I. Introduction

Radiofrequency identification (RFID) implant technology, sensor technology, biomedical devices, and nanotechnology continue to find increasing application in a variety of vertical markets. Significant factors leading to continued innovation include: convergence in devices, miniaturisation, storage capacity, and materials. The most common implantable devices are used in the medical domain, for example, heart pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). In non-medical applications, implantable devices are used for identification, [close-range] location and condition monitoring, care and convenience use cases [1].

RFID implants can be passive or active, and predominantly have a function to broadcast a unique ID when triggered by a reader within a specific read range. Sensors onboard an RFID device can, for instance, provide additional data such as an individual's temperature reading, pulse rate and heart rate. Biomedical devices usually have a specific function, like the provision of an artificial knee or hip, and can contain RFID and other specific sensors. An example cited in Ratner & Ratner that demonstrates the potential for nanotechnology to bring together RFID, sensors, and the biomedical realms is to inject nanobots into a soldier's bloodstream. “The sensors would circulate through the bloodstream and could be monitored at a place where blood vessels are closest to the surface, such as the eye… While quite invasive, so-called in vivo sensors could also have other uses in continually monitoring the health of a soldier” [2], p. 42f.

The next step in the miniaturization path for RFID microchips is nanotechnology, which allows for working at the nanoscale, that is the molecular level [3] p. 90. Humancentric implants are discussed [4], pp. 198-214, in the context of nanotechnology ethical and social implications. Regardless of the breakthroughs to come in these humancentric embedded surveillance devices (ESDs), we will soon be moving the discussion beyond, merely how the technologies are aiding humanity, regardless of whether such technologies are mobilized to aid human health or impair it. The fundamental concerns will rest within human willingness to adopt the technology, and not in what the technology claims to eradicate in and of itself. In order to later contextualize the issues surrounding human rights of refusal, this paper will now present a material view of implantable technologies in their nascent stage. A clear distinction will be made between nanotechnologies that can be used as a mechanism of control versus, for example, bio-medical technologies that are freely chosen and designed for the sole purpose of improving human health with no benefit extending beyond the aid of the individual.

Section II. Previous Work

Although cybernetic technologies have boundless potential to surface under an array of interchangeable names, for the purpose of this paper, RFID implants will be investigated given the degree of global attention they have experienced [5]–[6][7][8]. In Western civilization, RFID is being used for tracking merchandise and similar devices are used in our family pets to locate them should they roam astray [9]. Now the RFID is being considered for 24-7 human location monitoring. In order to offer a pragmatic perspective, which does not deviate from one source of research to the other, Hervé Aubert's 2011 article entitled, “RFID technology for human implant devices” [10] is utilized as the primary source of data given its seminal contribution to the field.

A. Experimental Stages of Cybernetic Innovations

Aubert investigates one type of RFID known as the VeriChip™; which is a device presently engineered to provide a data-bank of important records on the individual [5], in particular on the application of a personal health record for high-risk patients (PHR) [11], [12]. In addition, this implantable RFID that is known for its remote identification of persons or animals is being considered for the purpose of protective human surveillance [13]. RFID devices are not only being considered for identifying and locating humans, but for its potential to “remotely control human biological functions” [10], [14], p. 676. According to Aubert, this nano-technology is not conducive as a ‘spychip’ with current-day technologies, as it cannot successfully be connected to a Global Positioning System (which offers real-time tracking), as the GPS would require an implant that far surpasses the size capacity of what could be realistically embedded in the human body, and would therefore defeat the notion of a submicron global surveillance system for monitoring human activity. However, there is nothing to say that off-body data receivers, powered by wireless supplies, cannot be stationed short-range to monitor passive responders, such as subdermal RFID's [15]–[16][17]. Currently the anticipated range is dependent on the inductive coupling measured in MHz [5].

Aubert concludes his findings by arguing that RFID are not suitable for real-time tracking of humans as its capability to transmit the location of the body is too limited in range, permitting receivers to only read passive implanted devices within a free space range of 10 cm or less. This limitation makes communication with GPS satellites in an attempt to locate bodies impossible. Once again, this is not to refute the claim that interrogators, stationed territorially, can transmit its data to a centralized global positioning system inversely. Regardless, researchers are arguing nanotechnologies “[w]ill not exclusively revolve around the idea of centralization of surveillance and concentration of power, […but its greatest potential for negative impact will be centred around] constant observation at decentralized levels” [18], p. 283. In addition, depending on the context, monitoring does not have to be continuous but discrete to provide particular types of evidence. It may well be enough to read an RFID at a given access node point (either on entry or exit), or to know that a given unique ID is inside a building, or even headed in a given direction [19]. Two or more points of reading also can provide intricate details about distance, speed, and time, as equipment readers have their own GPS and IP location [20], [21]. It will be simple enough to tether an implant to a mobile phone or any other device with an onboard GPS chipset. Nokia, for instance, had an RFID reader in one of its units 2004 handsets [22].

Although such technologies are far from perfected, at least to the degree of synoptic centralization, with the exception of concerns surrounding information privacy, subdermal implants that are being designed for surveillance of humans is being identified as a central ethical challenge [23]. In particular, this is an ethical challenge because subdermal chips may be either injected or external tags worn on the body such as a PayBand [24] or FitBit. This in itself is not what is creating the most obvious challenge but rather that such devices have the potential to be implemented with or without the individual's consent and, therefore, provoking discussion around the need to legislate to keep pace with technological advances [25]. Although the chip is being suggested for use in a number of ways, bioethicists suggest that prior to these new applications of nanotechnologies becoming a present day reality, “[w]e need to examine carefully the very real dangers that RFID implants could pose to our privacy and our freedom” [5], p. 27. Despite this concern, skin-embedded devices are being employed in a multiplicity of ways, more recently by the biohacking communities who are increasingly commercialising their ideas and prototypes [26].

Aubert lists various possible health benefits of embedded RFID chips, such as the following: “[t]o transmit measurements of chemical or biological data inside the body”, as well as “[m]onitor biological activity” while modifying physiological functions and offer various therapeutic means, such as patient monitoring, such as for glucose concentrations of patients with diabetes [10], p. 676. Another possible health benefit is the potential for monitoring brain activity through “[t]ransponders embedded within the skull”, [10], p. 681. Increasingly implants are being used in techniques such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to treat a variety of illnesses [27]. As outlined in Aubert's 2011 article, these transponders communicate with implanted probes, enabling the transmittal of localized microstimulation to be administered in response to neuron signals sent.

At this point, it becomes necessary to distinguish that which is engineered to monitor human organs and is freely adopted as a mechanism to improve one's health to that which is in effect through a top-down implementation, in which the individual is given no choice pertaining to adoption. These two scenarios have been demonstrated in a TEDx talk delivered by Katina Michael in 2012 within the “convenience/care” versus “control” contexts [28].

B. Human Versus Machine

Docile Bodies | Vestoj A Chain Gang in South Carolina, c. 1929 - 1931. Doris Umann. http://vestoj.com/docile-bodies/

There is a needful distinction between human and machine. Deciphering between biomedical technology designed for example, to improve human health, or as a means of self-expression (all of which are freely chosen by the individual), versus those designed for a benefit external to the individual and has the ability to be used as a mechanism of control over the citizen. For example, a heart monitor, created to sustain a human, is designed only with the intention to benefit the patient in a life sustaining way; such a device has no apparatus external from this cause that could be used to invoke power over the individual and therefore it is designed with no additional mandate other than improving or maintaining the individual's health [29]. Generally, the decision for adopting such a biomedical implant device is determined by the patient and in most developed nations using a process of consent. Because such a device currently has no mechanism for top-down control, stakeholders (i.e., hospitals, medical device purchasers, inbound logistics managers or buyers) do not have a hidden agenda for adoption. This type of bio-medical device currently possesses no ability to monitor any type of human activity that could contribute to an imbalance of power for the consumer over the user (in this instance the patient).

More recently, one of the largest suppliers of biomedical devices, Medtronics, has begun to blur the line between devices for care and devices for control. Apart from the hard line that most manufacturers of implants hold on who owns the data emanating from the device [30], companies specialising in biomedical devices are now beginning to engage with other secondary uses of their implants [31]. Just like wearable devices, such as the FitBit, are now being used for evidentiary purposes, it will not be long before biomedical devices originally introduced for prosthetic or diagnostic purposes will be used to set individualised health insurance premiums, and more. As noted by [29], even in care-related implant applications, there is an underlying dimension of control that may propel function creep or scope creep. These are the types of issues that bring science and the arts together. George Grant wrote [32], p. 17:

The thinker who has most deeply pondered our technological destiny has stated that the new copenetrated arts and sciences are now proceeding to the apogee of their determining power around the science of cybernetics; […] the mobilization of the objective arts and sciences at their apogee comes more and more to be unified around the planning and control of human activity.

Section III. Research Approach

Hence, while it is important to understand the trichotomy of skin-embedded technologies-deciphering between technology adoption which can be seen as a post-modern indicator of the autonomous self-exercising human rights [33], to that of acceptable bio-Western technologies with its sole function to improve one's existing health conditions (that is also freely chosen of the individual), versus technology which have potential to be used as mechanisms of organizational control-implanted through imposed order [34]. When disambiguating the way in which technology can be used, it is most essential to understand that this differentiation requires no thorough understanding of the purpose of the biotechnology or its utility as the plumb line rests alone, not on the trichotomy of the technology's utility but within the individual's moral freedom and human rights to accept or refuse. Therefore, the plumb line remains, not concerning the device's distinct utility, but rather with freedom of choice.

Currently, the question is being posed as to whether legislation will keep pace, which suggests that either a higher articulation of our former constitution is required or that new legislation be erected that will explicitly defend the rights of the individual to choose for oneself [35].

The ways in which sub-dermal technology may aid correctional facilities' endeavors will be more thoroughly expounded on in the next section. A historical look at a specific top-down and bottom-up institution will be examined, not as a raw set of material facts but, in order to create an inference between the way in which the incremental process of correctional ideologies are the prevailing influence of today and are promoting the individual's outward gaze to self-censorship [36]. Some researchers are arguing it is highly improbable that laws will be erected to enforce subdermal devices, with the exception of use in criminals [37]. Therefore, this next section is being devoted to an investigation of the penal system.

Section IV. The Penal Metaphor

Because the prisoner is being noted as the central focus as a possible industry enroot to legalizing the implementation of sub-dermal RFID's, it becomes imperative to investigate the penal system from an ideological perspective in order to assess its susceptibility [38], pp. 157-249; [39], p. 35. This paper will conclude that there needs to be a distinction between spatial autonomy and moral autonomy as moral freedom is of the higher good and rights to obtain unto this good supersedes loses that could be incurred as a result of the state invoking disciplinary measures [32].

Generation after generation civilization oscillates over freedom of choice, blurring the distinction between freely adopting governing rules of belief, following an individualized interrogation of the ethical underpinnings, versus conforming to systematic ruling government without understanding its fundamental doctrine. Often such systems strive to maintain order through imposing indoctrinations, in which its people accept the ideologies of the dominant class through a constant infiltration of information not conducive to independent thinking of the autonomous self; it is argued that when this knowledge becomes singular it is a form of soft-despotism [40]. Through various mechanisms of social control, such as through a prevailing slant being propagated through the media, it has led an onslaught of persons embodied in space to a place where the individual is losing ability to see the distinction and whereby choose for oneself. The specific slant contained within the dominant message is directing Western society to a place imbued with an external message with its constancy softly-coercing the viewer or listener in one specific direction [32].

A. A Look at the System as an Apparatus of Control

As the high-tech industry evolves, the media continues to endorse such change and those adopting a consumerist mentality continue to commoditize their own body as a source of consumer capitalism [41] through the latest technological upgrade. It will only stand to logic that human adaptation to body modifying devices will become more and more acceptable as a means to live within society, function in commerce and progress in self-actualization [42]. The authors of this paper argue that when any such movement coerces the people in one specific direction it is a form of soft-despotism whether invoked intentionally or otherwise [40].

It is within this investigation of the governing forces over the masses that the focus is taken away from the history of the penal institution in itself to the state's reliance on cumulative rationale. Theorists argue that it is this over reliance on human rationale that is propelling history in one specific direction and thus becomes the force that is evoking a certain type of social order and governance [43].

In order to elucidate Ann Light's notion of how biotechnology can turn us from outside within, she first turns our attention to the penal system [36]. Theorists argue that the open persecution of punishment found within the penal process has radically shifted to become less detectable and more hidden [44]. This is a far cry from the open persecution experienced by, let us say, Joan of Arc [45], as now, largely due to humanitarianism, the public spectacle of the executioner who leads the persecuted to the stake appears an equivalent act of savagery to the public who witnessos, as is the crime itself [44]. Hence the mechanism becomes more hidden and in this sense is argued to be less pervasive [44]. But is it?

Theorists view the apparatus of the persecutor as moving from control over the body to a much more sophisticated apparatus, which slackens the hold on the tangible physical body in exchange for a far more intricate part of the self. This shifts the focus from the external body to the human mind, which is considered as the seat of the soul and the final battleground [46]. Theorists go on to state that these more sophisticated systems of control will only be confirmed to actually exist as history unfolds [36].

The panoptic, for example is a model that can be deemed as a control mechanism which is less pervasive as it moves away from physical punishment to psychological punishment [44]. Specifically the sanctioned individual who believes the monitoring of one's behavior to be constant, whereby shifting the focus of what is believed to be periodic surveillance to a continual presence. The constancy found in this form of surveillance is argued to imprint permanence on the human cognition [36]. It is what M.G. Michael has termed uberveillance—a type of big brother on the inside looking out [47]. In order that the reader may have a clearer understanding of the Panopticon, below is a description of Bentham's institution:

“The hollow interior of the circular Panopticon has an incongruous resemblance to a dovecote with all the doves behind bars. The prisoners' cells are in the circumference, but are open at all times to inspection from the observation tower in the center of the building. The theory of the Panopticon relies on the fiction that each prisoner, alone in his cell, believes that he is under constant observation: yet it is patently impossible that the contractor and his small staff within the central tower could watch 3, 000 prisoners at once. So that the prisoners may not know whom he is watching, or whether he is present at all, the contractor must at all times be invisible; and Bentham thought much about deceptive lighting systems to preserve the illusion of the contractor's permanent presence, a “dark spot” at the center of the Panopticon. Observation of a single prisoner for several hours, followed by punishment for any misdemeanors, would convince all the rest of this constant vigilance. Although the contraptions such as Venetian blinds, pinholes and speaking tubes which delighted Bentham have lost some technological credibility, the general principle is readily applicable to modern methods of surveillance” [48], pp.4-5.

Upon reviewing the detailed description of the institution designed by Bentham, it is easy to see how the panoptic system supports the shift from the body to the mind, which then turns the imprisoned body's gaze inward [36]. Out of fear of punishnent, the embodied experience is to begin to self-monitor.

Although some argue Bentham's Panopticon never came to fruition, Michael Ignatieff views it as a “[s]ymbolic caricature of the characteristic features of disciplinary thinking [of] his age” [48], p. 5. Crowther argues:

[According to] Bentham, the Panopticon was not an enclosed relationship between the prisoner and the state, removed from the outside world, but a prison constantly open to public scrutiny. The contractor in his watchtower could be joined at any minute not only by magistrates, but by the prisoners' relatives, the curious, or the concerned, “The great open committee of the tribunal of the world.

This invokes two types of control of the incarcerated; according to sociology theorists, a top down approach to surveillance is referred to organizational surveillance, whereas a bottom-up approach in which the common citizen becomes the watch-guard is referred to as inverse [49]. Bentham became aware of the possible negative impact that constant surveillance of the state and the public could produce on the prisoners' sensibilities, and therefore suggested that the prisoner wear a disguise. The mask would conceal the individual's identity while each unique disguise, would represent the crime that was committed. Hence, Bentham did make a frail attempt to resolve the way in which the apparatus' constancy could impair one's well-being [48].

The Panopticon illustrated here is merely representational, as the physical apparatus of control is being reflected upon as a means of the reader relating to the modem-day ideological shift within organizational control that is designed to turn the gaze of the end-user, the prisoner, and such, to self-monitoring. Western civilization that once employed an external gaze that had previously sought a voice in politics, for instance, is being turned from outside within. According to Ann Light [36], digital technology is promoting this shift.

Section V. Discussion

A. The Impact of Bio-Tech Constancy on the Human Psyche

Whether this surveillance transpires every moment of every day [50], or just in the sanctioned individual's mind is of little importance as it is the unknown or fear of what is “ever-lurking” that has the greatest potential to negatively impact the human psyche. When the interrogator is no longer human but the receptor is a machine there is something even more demoralizing that transpires as the removing of human contact can be likened to placing the prisoner in a type of mechanical quarantine [36], [51].

Embedded surveillance devices (although currently only engineered to accommodate short-range, such as within a correctional facility), can be considered as the all-seeing pervasive eye, the interrogator. However, the individual being tracked may lack knowledge about what is on the other side; which is the receptor. This can create a greater monster than real-life as it adds insurmountable pressure due to the unknown and the inability to understand the boundaries and limitations of the surveillance technology. This becomes that much more of an infringement when the device is placed under the individual's skin. Illustratively speaking, rather than seeing it as it is, such as, a mark of servitude, a passive information bank, a personal identifier, or a location monitor, the inductive coupling device has potential to be mistakenly deemed as the predator. In support of this notion, modern-day scholars are referring to the reader as the interrogator.

As earlier stated, in this instance, the external public gaze of the community and the state will shift from the external all-seeing eye, to that which is internalized—regardless of whether the device is passive or active. Over and above Foucault's notion of self-policing, this process could be further accentuated due to the person's inability to comprehend the full purpose or limitations of the surveillance ID system in which they are under. This internalization has potential to create a feeling of “the beast within” rather than the threat being from without. The writers of this paper argue that this form of internalization of the gaze within the body will heighten the negative impact on one's psyche—ultimately negatively impacting one's state of consciousness [52].

In this sense Bentham's panoptic vision was never really defeated but now merely considered at a higher level of sophistication or barbarianism—depending on which way it is looked upon. Rather than institutions embracing practices designed to rehabilitate the prisoner, and bring the individual to an eventual state of freedom, bio-tech adoption could impair in the recovery process—its constancy heightening psychological fears—making it near impossible to ever be disabled within the mind of the end-user. Hence, as Bentham's notion of a free-enterprise is accepted on a much more hidden level, and the self turns to policing one's own actions, this utter enclosure can be argued to lead the human body to a state of utter docility. This is a subject of debate for psychologists, bioethicists and social scientists alike, and in support of the phenomenologist must also include the insider's perspective as well.

Section VI. Conclusion

Imprisonment is transpiring on many levels, and can be argued as being the system that has led Western civilization incrementally to the place it is today, where moral relativism is ruling the people, causing the moral voice of conviction designed for political and public engagement, to be displaced for a turning inward to oneself as a forms of self-expression [34]. This may be seen as the result of top-down governing institutes esteeming systematic rationale over the individuals' voice—inadvertently marginalizing the embodied-self over other forces such as the economy. As the ruling system continues to over extend its control, it ever-so-gently coerces society in one direction only, massaging the spirit of Epicureanism which endorses human passion to have it full reign over one's own body, as the final self-embodied means of conveying a message. Whereas the governing institutions can easily rule over a docile society. In this sense bio-tech with its constancy may be seen as just one more apparatus designed to control the mind—although hidden, it most certainly is invasive. With current considerations for adoption it brings Orwell's claim to the forefront when he wrote in 1984: “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull” [53], p. 27.

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46. F. Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds: An In-Depth View of the Three Arenas of Spiritual Warfare: The Mind the Church and the Heavenly Places, Cedar Rapids: Arrow Publications, Inc., 1989.

47. K. Michael, M. G. Michael, From Dataveillance to Überveillance and the Realpolitik of the Transparent Society (The Social Implications of National Security, Wollongong:, 2007.

48. A. Crowther, "Penal Peepshow: Bentham's Prison that Never Was", Times Literary Supplement, vol. 23, pp. 4-5, February 1996.

49. T. Timan, N. Oudshoorn, "Mobile cameras as new technologies of surveillance? How citizens experience the use of mobile cameras in public nightscapes", Surveillance Society Journal, vol. 10, pp. 167-181, 2012.

50. B. Welsh, "The Entire History of You" in Black Mirror, UK:, 2011.

51. C. Malacrida, J. Low, Sociology of the Body: A Reader, Don Mills, Ontario:Oxford University Press, 2008.

52. K. Michael, J. Pitt et al., "Be Vigilant: There are Limits to Veillance" in The ComputerAfter Me, London:, pp. 189-204, 2014.

53. G. Orwell, London: Signet Classic, 1984.

Keywords: Radio-frequency identification, Implants, Biomedical monitoring, Global Positioning System, Surveillance, Context, social sciences, cybernetics, prosthetics, radiofrequency identification, docile body sociology, penal metaphor, institutional top-down control, organizational top-down control, restorative health, diagnostic purpose, prosthetic purpose, RFID implants, cybernetic landscape, nanotechnology, biomedical device, sensor technology, human rights, freedom of choice, opt-out, penal control, constancy

Citation: S.B. Munn, Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, "Sociology of the docile body", 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS16), 20-22 Oct. 2016, Kerala, India, DOI: 10.1109/ISTAS.2016.7764047

Are microchip implants a more secure technology for identification and access control?

Abstract

This mixed methods study with a sequential explanatory strategy explored qualitatively the statistically significant quantitative findings relative to Indian respondents' perceptions about RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders implanted into the human body. In the first analysis phase of the study, there was a significant chi-square analysis reported (χ2 = 56.64, df = 3, p = .000) relative to the perception of small business owners (N = 453) that implanted chips are a more secure form of identification and/or access control in organizations and the respondents' country of residence. Countries under study included Australia, India, the UK and US. The country contributing most to this significant relationship was India. Additionally, frequency data comparing the relationship of the respondents' generation and perceptions of implants as a more secure technology (yes - no) was examined. The significant chi-square (χ2 = 29.11, df = 2, p = .000) analysis indicated that there was a very significant relationship between the respondents' opinions and such generations as Baby Boomers (those born 1946 - 1965), Generation X (those born 1966-1980) and Generation Y (those born 1981-2000). The second analysis phase of the study explored qualitative data gleaned from open-ended questions asking Indian Millennials (born 1981-2000) about their feelings about being implanted with a chip. Over one third of the world's population is considered part of the Millennial generation. Of India's 1.2 billion people, approximately half are under the age of 25; that is, over 250 million are categorized as Millennials. Based on the quantitative and qualitative findings, researchers in this study concluded that three factors affect perceptions of RFID implants. One key factor is that Indian Millennials appear to describe more feelings of positivity and neutrality when compared with the two prior generations.

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to explore and interpret qualitatively the statistically significant quantitative findings relative to Indian respondents' perceptions about RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders implanted into the human body for identification and access control purposes in organizations. RFID implants are defined as an omnipresent electronic surveillance, which utilize technology that makes it possible to implant devices into the human body to track the who, what, where, when, and how of human life [1]. The tiny RFID chip which can be implanted in the body is smaller than the size of a grain of rice. In the first phase of analysis, there was a very significant chi-square analysis  reported relative to the perception that surgically implanted chips are a more secure form of identification and/or access control and the respondents' country of residence. In the first phase, participants included small business owners  within four countries including the UK , the USA , Australia , and India . The country contributing most to this significant relationship was India. In rank order, the countries contributing to this significant relationship were India, the UK, and the USA; no such differences in opinion were found for respondents from Australia. The second phase of the study explored qualitative data relative to surgically implanted chips reported by a subsection of the aforementioned small business owners; data reported by those Indian small business owners categorized as Millennials  was analyzed, as well as data reported by Indian students  categorized as Millennials (born 1980–2000) and currently enrolled in a college or university.

The methodology of this study took into account an initial analysis of quantitative findings of a survey exploring if small business owners perceived RFID chip implants in humans as a more secure technology for employee identification. The researchers intended to investigate if country of residence and/or generation (i.e. a cohort of individuals who were born in the same date range and share similar cultural experience) may affect perceptions of RFID implants in humans. Quantitative analysis revealed more Indian small business owners than expected perceived chip implants as a more secure technology. Indian participants, therefore, became an increased focus to further investigate why this segment of the participants reported more openness to implants than expected. Additional quantitative analysis exploring perceptions about this emerging technology by generation revealed more Millennials than expected perceived implants as more secure technology and conversely, less than expected Baby Boomers. Millennials, therefore, became a increased focus to further investigate why this segment of the participants reported more openness to implants than expected. Therefore, to bring meaning to the quantitative findings and further explore openness, the researchers then began qualitative exploration of data from the same survey to investigate how Indian participants, and Millennials, in general, answered when asked how he/she “personally feel(s) about being implanted for ease of identification with your own organization” when contrasted against the comments of non-Indian and/or non-Millennials. Then, to further expand upon qualitative findings about openness to implants from the aforementioned survey, the researchers are in the process of conducting subsequent research of Indian Millennials who are enrolled in graduate studies, but not necessarily small business owners. These qualitative themes were taken into account for the conclusions as reported in this paper.

The authors present a brief review of the literature, key findings from the sequential study, and a discussion on possible implications of the findings. Professionals working in the field of emerging technologies could use these findings to better understand how such demographics as country of residence, as well as such psychographics as generational factors, may affect perceptions of chip implants for identification and access control purposes in organizations.

SECTION II. Review of Literature

A. Implants & Social Acceptance

RFID implants, also known as Uberveillance, are defined as an omnipresent electronic surveillance, which utilize technology that makes it possible to implant devices into the human body to track the who, what, where, when, and how of human life [1]. In 2004, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) of the United States approved an implantable chip for use in humans in the U.S. The tiny RFID chip, which can be implanted in the body, is smaller than the size of a grain of rice. The implanted chip is being marketed as a potential method to detect and treat diseases, as well as a potential lifesaving device. If a person was brought to an emergency room unconscious, a scanner in the hospital doorway could read the person's unique ID on the implanted chip. The ID would then be used to unlock the medical records of the patient from a database. Authorized health professionals would then have access to all pertinent medical information of that individual (i.e. medical history, previous surgeries, allergies, heart condition, blood type, diabetes, etc.) to care for the patient aptly.

Recent technological developments are reaching new levels with the integration of silicon and biology; implanted devices can now interact directly with the brain [2]. Implantable devices for medical purposes are often believed highly beneficial to restore functions that were lost. Such current medical implants include cardiovascular pacers, cochlear and brainstem implants for patients with hearing disorders, implantable drug delivery pumps, implantable neurostimulation devices for such patients as those with urinary incontinence, chronic pain, or epilepsy, deep brain stimulation for patients with Parkinson's, and artificial chip-controlled legs [3].

Social concerns plague this technology [4]. In the United States, many states are crafting legislation to balance the potential benefits of RFID technology with the disadvantages associated with privacy and security concerns. California, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are among states in the U.S. which have passed legislation to prohibit forced implantation of RFID in humans [5]. The “Microchip Consent Act of 2010”, which became effective on July 1, 2010 in the state of Georgia, not only stated that no person shall be required to be implanted with a microchip (regardless of a state of emergency), but also that voluntary implantation of any microchip may only be performed by a physician under the authority of the Georgia Composite Medical Board [6].

Through the work of Rodata and Capurro (2005), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission, which examines ethical questions arising from science and new technologies, issued an opinion in 2005, primarily to raise awareness and dialogue concerning the dilemmas created by both medical and non-medical implants in humans which affect the intimate relation between bodily and psychic functions basic to our personal identity. The opinion stated that implants (referred to as ICT implants or Information & Communications Technology implants), should not be used to manipulate mental functions or to change a personal identity. Additionally, the opinion stated that principles of data protection must be applied to protect personal data embedded in implants. The implants were identified in the opinion as a threat to human dignity when used for surveillance purposes, although the opinion stated that this might be justifiable for security and/or safety reasons [7].

Researchers continue to investigate social acceptance of the implantation of this technology into human bodies. In 2006, Perakslis and Wolk reported higher levels of acceptance of the implantation of a chip within their bodies, when college students perceived benefits from this technology [8]. A 2010 survey by BITKOM, a German information technology industry lobby group, reported 23% of 1000 respondents would be prepared to have a chip inserted under their skin for certain benefits; 72% of respondents, however, reported they would not allow implantation of a chip under any circumstances. Sixteen percent (16%) of respondents reported they would accept an implant to allow emergency services to rescue them more quickly in the event of a fire or accident [9].

B. Shifts with Millennials: From Unwillingness toward Neutrality to Implant

Utilizing questions posed by researchers in 2005 to college students attending both private and public institutions of higher education, researchers once again investigated levels of willingness to implant RFID chips to understand if there were shifts in levels of willingness of college students to implant RFID chips for various reasons [8] [10]In both studies, students were asked: “How willing would you be to implant an RFID chip in your body as a method. (to reduce identity theft, as a potential lifesaving device, to increase national security)?” A 5-point Likert-type scale was utilized varying from “Strongly Unwilling” to “Strongly Willing”. Comparisons of the 2005 results of the study to the results of the 2010 research revealed shifts from unwillingness toward either neutrality or willingness to implant a chip in the human body to reduce identity theft, as a potential lifesaving device, and to increase national security. Levels of unwillingness decreased for all aforementioned areas as follows [10].

Between 2005 and 2010, the unwillingness (“Strongly unwilling” and “Somewhat unwilling”) of college students to implant an RFID chip into their bodies decreased by 22.4% (from 55% strongly & somewhat unwilling in 2005 to 32.6% strongly and somewhat unwilling in 2010) when considering RFID implants as method to reduce identity theft, decreased by 19.9% when considering RFID implants as a potential lifesaving device (from 42% strongly & somewhat unwilling in 2005 to 22.1% in 2010), and decreased by 16.3% (from 50% strongly and somewhat unwilling in 2005 to 33.7% in 2010) when considering RFID implants to increase national security [10].

C. Shifts with Millennials: More Willingness to Implant

Between 2005 and 2010, researchers reported that levels of willingness increased for all areas under study. The willingness (“strongly willing” and “somewhat willing”) of college students to implant an RFID chip into their bodies increased by 9.2% when considering RFID implants as method to reduce identity theft, increased 24.4% when considering RFID implants as a potential lifesaving device, and increased 10.1% when considering RFID implants to increase national security. Researchers (Perakslis, 2010) reported the most dramatic shift in willingness with college students appeared to be relative to implanting RFID chips for use as a potential lifesaving device. The willingness of college students in 2010 increased by 24.4%, shifting from less unwillingness (−19.9%), and less neutrality as well (−4.5%) [8] [9].

D. Shifts with Millennials: More Neutral/No Opinion

In the same study (Perakslis, 2010), there was a 13.2% increase of participants categorized as Millennials reporting “neutral/no opinion” about willingness to implant a chip to reduce identity theft, and a 6.2% increase relative to willingness to implant a chip to increase national security. Conversely, when asked about willingness to implant a chip as a potential lifesaving device, 6.2% fewer participants reported “neutral/no opinion” in 2010 when compared to 2005 [8] [10].

E. Millennials

Millennials, are also known as Generation Y, Gen-Yers, Echo Boomers, Generation Next, or the Net Generation [14]. This segment of the population is defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as those born between 1981 and 2000 [11], and they are the cohort following Generation X (born between 1966–1980), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946–1964) [11]. Over one third of the population of the world is categorized as part of the Millennial generation; there are more Millennials in India than the total populations of Germany, Spain, France, and the U.K. combined [12]. This generation is immersed in technology; 74% of Millennials polled, in a multicountry internet study  reported they are skilled to “handle whatever technology encountered” [12]. Technology need not be for utilitarian purposes; these individuals view technology as central to their way of life (32%) and use technology to express themselves creatively (36%). One of the most significant aspect of the life of a Millennial is to be diverse and accepting [12]. Speed and access are keys to engage these individuals; they are accustomed to having gadgets that allow them to be the always-connected generation [13]. Researchers report that 74% of those polled in this generation, reported it is important for them to be perceived as “someone who is accepting of people from other cultures”. Indian Millenials are believed to share similar traits to their counterparts across the world however, when compared with western peers Indian Millennials identify more strongly with their parents, traditions, and culture [12]. Howe and Strauss (2000) purported that this generation can be defined by seven core traits and they are: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. The life mission of this generation is reported to be to build up new institutions rather than tear down old institutions that do not work [14].

F. Shifts in India

Due to heightened security threats, there is a surge in demand for security in India [15] [16]. A progression of mass-casualty assaults that have been carried out by extremist Pakistani nationals against hotels and government buildings in India has brought more awareness to the potential threats against less secure establishments [16]. The government is working to institute security measures at the individual level with a form of national ID cards that will house key biometric data of the individual [17]. In the local and regional settings, technological infrastructure is developing rapidly in metro and non-metro areas because of the increase of MNCs (multi-national corporations) now locating in India. Although the neighborhood chowkiddaaar (human watchman/guard) was previously a more popular security measure for localized security, advances in, and reliability and availability of, security technology is believed to be affecting the adoption of electronic access security as a replacement to the more traditional security measures [15] [16].

SECTION III. Methodology

This study used a mixed-methods design with a sequential explanatory strategy. The initial quantitative phase informed the qualitative phase; qualitative research was used to examine surprising quantitative results in more detail [18]. The first phase included participants who are small business owners  within four countries including the UK, the USA, Australia, and India. Chi-square analysis was conducted in this study to examine if there was a relationship between the perception that surgically implanted chips are a more secure technology, and the respondents' country of residence. Additionally, Chi-square analysis was conducted to examine if there was a significant relationship between the respondents' generations. Generations were defined as Millenials (1981–2000), Generation X (1965–1980) and Baby Boomers (1946–1964).

The second phase included analysis of qualitative data obtained through the aforementioned survey asking participants “How would you personally feel about being implanted for ease of identification with your own organization?” as well as a subsequent survey administered to Indian Millennial students who are enrolled in gradaute school, but not necessarily small business owners. The collection and analysis of data gleaned from the open-ended questions administered electronic surveys explored the perspective of Indians as well as Millennials relative to surgically implantable RFID transponders when compared to those participants who were non-Indian and/or non-Millennials. Participants included both Indian small business owners categorized as Millennials  and purposefully selected Indian students who were also Millennials and currently enrolled in a college or university .

SECTION IV. Findings

In the first phase of the study, the frequency data that compared the relationship of the country in which the respondent lives was examined as shown in Table 1. The country or residence was explored relative to perceptions of surgically implanted transponders beneath the skin of an employee as a more secure technology for employee identification (yes - no). The significant chi-square  indicated that there was a relationship between the respondents' opinions and their country. Using the rule of identifying adjusted residuals greater than 2.0 [19], examination of the adjusted residuals indicated that the relationship was mostly created when more residents from India responded “yes” than expected (46 vs. 19.8; adjusted residual = 7.5). In addition, fewer residents from the UK responded “yes” than expected (9 vs. 19.8), and fewer residents from the USA responded “yes” than expected (11 vs. 20.9). Thus, the researchers concluded that there was a relationship between the perception that surgically implanted chips are a more secure technology for instituting employee identification and the respondents' country. In rank order, the countries contributing to this significant relationship were India, the UK and the USA; no such differences in opinion were found for respondents from Australia.

Table 1

Table 1

Additionally in the first phase of the study, the frequency data that compared the relationship of the generation to which the respondent belongs and support of surgically implanted transponders beneath the skin of an employee as a more secure technology for employee identification (yes - no) was examined as shown in Table 2. The significant chi-square () indicated that there was a relationship between the respondents' opinions and the generation of Baby Boomers, Generation X, or Generation Y, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Using the rule of identifying adjusted residuals greater than 2.0 [19], examination of the adjusted residuals indicated that the relationship was mostly created when fewer participants categorized as Baby Boomers responded “yes” than expected (16 vs. 35; adjusted residual = 4.7). In addition, more participants categorized as Millennials responded “yes” than expected (31 vs. 16.5). Thus, the researchers concluded that there was a relationship between the perception that surgically implanted chips are a more secure technology for instituting employee identification and the respondents' generation. In rank order, the generations contributing to this significant relationship were Baby Boomers, and then the Millennials; no such differences in opinion were found for respondents who are categorized as Generation X.

Table 2

Table 2

In the second phase of the study, data from two surveys were gleaned. Data from the first questionnaire that was administered to small business owners was collected concurrently during the quantitative phase. A second questionnaire with open-ended questions was then subsequently administered to Indian Millennial students enrolled in colleges or universities. These findings allowed the researchers to better understand the meaning attached by Indian Millennials when they considered being chipped personally. Participants were asked “How would you personally feel about being implanted for ease of identification with your own organization?” Data was analyzed and four major themes emerged: 1) positive perceptions of being chipped relative to innovation, 2) positive perceptions of being chipped corresponding to security, 3) ambivalence when considering chip implants; and 4) openness to being chipped.

Compared to qualitative data from other generations, few of the Indian Millennial participants expressed negative comments and those participants who did express unwillingness did so in a mild manner. These comments included, “It will be easy, but I don't prefer (RFID implants)” and “I won't agree to it”.

When considering the theme of positive perceptions relating to innovation, one Indian Millennial participant stated, “It is good to use a new technology” and another stated, “It is a new concept, but I like the concept”. One participant succinctly stated implants are a “good innovation.”

When considering the theme of RFID implants perceived as positive and corresponding to security, participants' comments included, “It is very secure and is very useful in our organization” and “(I would) feel secure”. Some participants attached the feelings of security to specific aspects of an organization with comments such as “…it would make me feel secure about my work and position” and “This creates security regards [sic] to business”.

When considering the theme of ambivalence, Indian Millennial participants expressed a concurrent mix of positive and negative sentiments with such comments as “It is very useful, but at the same time it is also risky” and “It is good, but the need for such high security measures is something unnecessary…” Neutrality was evident when Millennials reported, “I don't know (how I feel about being chipped).” And such comments as: “(I) don't care” or “I do not feel anything (for this technology)…”

When considering the theme of openness of Indian Millennials to personally being chipped, Millennials said, “Not yet, (will) think about it” and “I'm open to the idea of getting an implant.” One respondent wrote, “never opted for the idea, but surely would like to try it.” Additionally, another participant shared “I don't think I have a problem with implantation” and another succinctly noted “Cool”.

SECTION V. Discussion

More than expected, Indian participants overall, perceived implants as a more secure technology for identification/access control in this study. Also, more than expected, participants categorized as part of the Millennial generation (born 1981–2000) overall, perceived implants as a more secure technology for identification/access control; conversely, fewer Baby Boomers than expected perceived implants as a more secure technology for identification/access control. This created the impetus for the researchers to explore how Indian participants who are categorized as Millennials would describe their feelings when considering getting an RFID implant.

When using data from open ended questions to bring meaning to the quantitative findings, Indian Millennials frequently expressed and/or attached positive or neutral meanings when describing how they feel about this emerging technology. This is in line with previous research (Perakslis, 2010) that investigated changes between 2005 and 2010 in levels of willingness to adopt an implant. The longitudinal research showed that in 2010, Millennials reported neutrality of opinion (“no opinion/neutral”) 13.2% more (from 11% of participants reporting neutral opinions in 2005 to 24.2% in 2010) when asked about willingness to implant a chip to reduce identity theft and 6.2% more (from 18% of participants reporting neutral opinions in 2005 to 24.2% in 2010) when asked about willingness to implant a chip to increase national security when compared to findings in 2005. Surprisingly, these participants were the only generation to convey noteworthy expressions of neutrality when compared with participants belonging to Generation X and/or Baby Boomers.

Thus, the researchers conclude three factors may affect perceptions about RFID implants as a more secure technology for identification and access control purposes. These are: 1) one's country of residence may inform perceptions, 2) generational factors may affect one's perception; and 3) participants whose country of residence was India and who are also categorized as Millennials describe more positive feelings generally, less negative feelings overall, and more neutral feelings about this technology when compared with the two prior generations.

SECTION VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, the researchers purport that such demographics as country of residence, as well as such psychographics as generational factors appear to affect perceptions of chip implants for identification and access control purposes in organizations. One limitation to this study could have been the psychographics of the participants; small business owners are often believed to be risk-takers and may exhibit more openness [20]. A second limitation to this study may be related to the timing of the data collection; there was a heightened awareness in India to security threats. A third limitation to this study may be related to religious beliefs; the researchers did not control for religious beliefs of participants in this study.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research for the electronic survey that was deployed to four countries. In addition, we recognize the contributions of Dr. Felice Billups, Dr. Robert Gable, both of Johnson & Wales University, Dr. Michael Michael, formerly of the University of Wollongong, and the late Dr. Robert Wolk, formerly of Bridgewater State University, who was a long-time IEEE_SSIT member and coauthored one of the first published surveys on microchip implants in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine in 2006. This study is done, in large part, to fulfill Dr. Wolk's wishes to continue to investigate the social implications of such emerging technologies.

IEEE Keywords: Implants, Sociology, Radiofrequency identification, Educational institutions, Business, Access control, transponders, authorisation, biomedical electronics, microprocessor chips, organisational aspects,radiofrequency identification, statistical analysis, RFID implants, Indian millennials, microchip implants, secure technology, access control, sequential explanatory strategy, quantitative findings, Indian respondents perceptions, RFID transponders, radio frequency identification transponders, chi-square analysis, small business owners, organizations,frequency data, millennial generation, employee identification, RFID, radio frequency identification, microchips, surgically implanted chips,India, surveillance, access control

Citation: Christine Perakslis, Katina Michael, 2012, "Indian Millennials: Are microchip implants a more secure technology for identification and access control?", 2012 IEEE Conference on Technology and Society in Asia (T&SA), 27-29 Oct. 2012, DOI: 10.1109/TSAsia.2012.6397977

Social-technical issues facing humancentric RFID implantees

Social-technical issues facing the humancentric RFID implantee sub-culture through the eyes of Amal Graafstra

Abstract

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and transponders have traditionally been used to identify domesticated animals so that they can be reunited with their owners in the event that they stray. In the late 1990s, industry started to investigate the benefits of using RFID to identifying non-living things throughout the supply chain toward new efficiencies in business operations. Not long after, people began to consider the possibilities of getting RFID tag or transponder implants for themselves. Mr Amal Graafstra of the United States is one of the first, and probably most well-known ‘do it yourselfer’ (DIY) implantees, who enjoys building customized projects which enable him to interact with his private social living space. Since 2005, hundreds of people have embarked on a mission to interact with their mobile phones, their cars, and their house via a chip implant, providing personalized settings for their own ultimate convenience. This paper presents some of the socio-technical issues facing the RFID implantee sub-culture, namely health and safety, privacy, security, regulation, and societal perceptions. The paper concludes with a list of recommendations related to implantables for hobbyists.

Section 1. Introduction

While some cultures embrace the practice of decorating the human body with tattoos and brands, others still perform the age-old art of scarification [1]. Of greater currency today however is the act of body piercing using a plethora of metallic materials, including titanium. Some have even opted to modify the body in outward appearance by using large subdermal or transdermal implants on their heads and forearms [2]. But beyond the purely cosmetic body modifications that some subcultures engage in [3], there are now techno-hobbyists who are transforming the manner in which they interact with their personal social living space through the use of functional high-tech devices known as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and transponders.

On the 22nd of March 2005, Mr Amal Graafstra was implanted with his first radio-frequency identification tag [4]. Anecdotal evidence from other do-it-yourselfer implantees agree that Graafstra has been a pioneer in this field, doing things “first” and also “better” than most other implantees meddling in the high-tech art. In the Beginning of 2006 Graafstra even published a book about the applications he had built [5]. Other high profile implantees [6], some of whom preceded Graafstra, include: Kevin Warwick (University of Reading academic) [7], Scott Silverman (CEO of VeriChip Corporation) [8], Rafael Macedo de la Concha (Mexico's Attorney General) [9], Dr. John Halamka (Harvard Medical School's CIO) [10], Gary Retherford (employee at CityWatcher.com) [11], Mikey Sklar (a UNIX engineer) [12], Jonathan Oxer (a LINUX guru) [13], and Meghan Trainor (doctoral student and artist) [14]. This paper however is not concerned with professional “research-oriented” RFID implantees, such as Kevin Warwick, nor with consumers/customers who have been implanted with commercially available Veri Chip technology, nor with individuals who have used RFID for their artistic performances, such as Eduardo Kac [15]. Rather, this paper is concerned with understanding do it yourselfer (DIY) implantees who are usually technically-savvy citizens and are predominantly interested in novel convenience-oriented solutions. This paper focuses on the challenging socio-technical issues and questions that DIY implantees are faced with, related to health and safety, privacy, security, regulation and societal perceptions.

Section 2. Literature Review

A number of academic articles and book chapters have been published on the life and works of Amal Graafstra, including his own full-length book titled RFID Toys [5]. Graafstra featured in his own IEEE Spectrum article in 2007 [16] and several other academic works about him have been written between 2008 and 2009 [17], [18]. He has also figured in hundreds of popular stories in all forms of media-print, radio and television that have received worldwide coverage, e.g. [19], [20], [21], [22]. Most recently Fox News wrote about him [23] and the Discovery Channel interviewed him. While anyone in Graafstra's position would have probably commercialized their ideas by now, Graafstra remains content in pursuing things that are ‘fun’ rather than things which ‘make money,’ although he admittedly does have an entrepreneurial streak about him. Despite the attention, Graafstra remains level-headed, and it is clear upon speaking with him, that he is more about innovation than he is about becoming famous.

Section 3. Methodology

This paper takes on a non-traditional ICT methodological form in that it is written in two voices; Part A is written in the first person voice of Amal Graafstra where he describes events as a participant and Part B is written in the third person voice where Michael and Michael are relating events about Graafstra, and Graafstra is relating events about others. In 2007, Michael and Michael embarked on a full-length interview with Graafstra [24]. Some two years after the interview was conducted, the interviewers requested that Graafstra reflect on his own ideas and commentary as stated in the original interview transcript [25], and make amendments as he saw fit. Time is a very important element when one considers new radical technologies and applications, especially those that seem to evoke a great deal of interdisciplinary debate. Take the launch of the ENIAC in 1948 for instance, and the misconceptions that ensued [26], although few could have possibly predicted that such awesome machinery would find its way into humans.

In Part A, Graafstra’ s story is depicted “uncut”, and Michael and Michael do not interrupt the flow or stream of ideas but can be credited with evoking responses to questions that Graafstra is seldom asked. The usual media hype disappointingly focuses on whether Graafstra is the ‘devil’ and falls short of those all important philosophical questions about the future trajectory of technology. K. Michael has a background in information and communication technology (ICT) and law, while M.G. Michael has qualifications in philosophy, history and theology and has written on topics related to bioethics and the misuse of new technologies by society. The rich combination of backgrounds and experiences has brought about an interdisciplinary discussion between the three authors in Part B. It does not mean that the authors agree on all points, but new research should not necessarily bring about agreement, but debate toward further discussion. In some sense, this is what the IEEE ISTASIO Conference is about, respecting diverse opinions and looking at new technologies in an interdisciplinary manner that may help to shed light on future developments and how society is to absorb them.

3.1. Case Study: Amal Graafstra

According to Yin (1984, p. 23) a case study “investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context”. The case study in this paper is of a human subject, Mr Amal Graafstra. Graafstra can be considered a participant-researcher in this study while Michael and Michael act as independent observers of the subject within his real-life context.

3.1.1. Background

Amal Graafstra is the Director of Information Technology for OutBack Power Systems. He is the owner of several technology and mobile communications companies. Amal loves thinking up interesting ways to combine and apply various technologies in his daily life. A self-starter, Amal dropped out of community college and started his first company at the age of seventeen. The company was called The Guild, and it provided dial-up Internet access to customers, while small set-ups were still feasible.

Some years later, Amal started his second company Morpheus, which specialized in web hosting and web development. For some time the company did well, but as cheaper hosting services became available, it became more and more difficult to compete in the market. Amal then decided to rebuild Morpheus by supplying managed computing services to the medical industry. In parallel, Amal did some work for WireCutter, a wireless mobile messaging company that were involved in creating mobile marketing campaigns for various radio stations, sending SMS text messages to mobile phones. Graafstra decided to pour his heart and soul into the company he called txtGroups but this too was unable to make ends meet, and soon Twitter rapidly overtook txtGroups as a social text platform. His most recent employment is as the head of an information technology (IT) department where he enjoys creating novel and innovative solutions that enable the business to grow.

3.2. Interview

The interview conducted in 2007 between Graafstra (the subject) and K. Michael (the interviewer) was semistructured and contained 25 questions. The main themes addressed included:

  • Background (upbringing, schooling, qualifications, employment, age and place of residence)

  • Adoption of technology habits, value proposition for RFID implants, and prospects of commercialising intellectual property around humancentric chip implants

  • Motivations for going with an implantable technology as opposed to wearable or luggable device

  • Self-perceptions, whether he is a hobbyist or entrepreneur and what words, terms or phrases he uses to refer to himself (i.e. cyborg versus electrophorus)

  • Thoughts on implantation, who was to conduct the procedure, any barriers or challenges to overcome, and whether or not he had to ask permission to get the implant

  • Feelings on the actual implant process, how it made him feel, whether it was painful or painless and how he dealt with the aftermath of the implantation

  • Attitudes and perceptions towards the application of microchip implants in humans and ethical issues, discussed in terms of specific scenarios and stakeholders

  • Values on mandatory, voluntary, commercial and noncommercial and government-mandated humancentric applications pertaining to issues of consent, opting in/out

  • Views on the location of implantation, the type of tag that should be used, the durability of the tag, and its potential functionality

  • Experiences with Christians or civil libertarians who oppose his use of RFID and his counter-arguments to such notions as the fulfillment of prophecy/“mark of the beast”

  • Personal philosophical and spiritual perspectives

  • Knowledge on the prospect of RFID implant viruses spreading, relationship impacts, potential health risks and security breaches, and other general concerns.

3.3. Ethnography and Participant Observation

Graafstra was asked by Michael and Michael to write a reflection on the original transcript, in actual fact to take on the role of a participant observer. This reflection was integrated into the original transcript, forming Part A of this paper. The reflection remains ‘untouched’ save for changes in formatting and expression. These are the raw thoughts of Amal Graafstra, captured in an ethnographic style [27]: “[i]t is a distinctive feature of social research that the ‘objects’ studied are in fact ‘subjects’ … unlike physical objects or animals, they produce accounts of themselves and their worlds.” Michael and Michael have added relevant bibliographic sources to Part A, and in Part B the content from the original interview conducted with Graafstra is qualitatively analyzed to draw out anthropological and sociological orientations. It is here where the third person voice is used by the authors but where also, events related to Graafstra himself, are cited through direct quotation.

Part A-Participant Observation

In Part A, Amal Graafstra tells his DIY tagger story as a participant observer. He is both the object and subject of his narrative. Graafstra takes us on a tour of where and how it all began-his early interest in computing, in what he calls fun “projects”, and finally what led him to get an RFID tag implanted into his left hand in 2005. Graafstra then takes us on a journey of how he acquired his implant, and how it makes him feel to be a bearer of beneath-the-skin technology. He dedicates a great deal of space discussing health and safety issues relevant to RFID implants and concludes by emphasizing the importance for DIYers to take personal responsibility for their actions.

Section 4. In the Beginning…

Technology has always been an interest of mine. From a very early age I was doing what lots of other inquisitive toddlers were doing … tearing things apart out of curiosity and not being able to put them back together. I was intrigued with seemingly magical things. Wood blocks can only hold one's interest for so long. But a record player or a telephone, those things just held some kind of mystery that needed exploration.

It was not until third grade however, where two very unlikely set of circumstances occurred which introduced me to the boundless potential the world of computers had to offer. I had the privilege of going to a country school. It was literally nestled in a forest, the trees of which we would build forts in during recess. It was very small with only four rooms, one for each grade. Oddly enough, the third grade classroom had a PET computer in it - the only one in the entire school. It had no disk or cassette tape storage and no operating system, just a PET version of BASIC in read only memory (ROM). For the greater part, it sat unused in the corner, a simple and momentary curiosity for most… but not to me. I turned it on and got a simple flashing cursor. What could it mean? What does it want me to type? The mystery was just too great to resist, but without any book or instruction manual, or anyone who knew anything about it at the entire school, I did not get far at all and started to lose interest.

Luckily, that year the school started a new program called Reading Is Fundamental (R.I.F.), where each student was allowed to pick out and keep a free book twice a year. I loved choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) books, and started picking through the piles to find all the CYOA books available. I noticed there were two books in my stack of potential keepers that said “Computer Programs” on the cover. As I thumbed through those two books I saw there was “programming code” for IBM and Apple II computers, and I wondered if the PET would understand any of it. I picked one out and brought it back to the classroom, and that is when the fun began. If either the IBM or Apple code had worked perfectly “as-is”, it may not have captured my imagination. The fact was, I had to ask for a PET programming book from the teacher, who did manage to track one down. With it, I could cross reference the code in the CYOA book with the PET BASIC book to make the code actually work. By the end of third grade, I was obsessed with the notion I could use a special language to tell the computer exactly what to do and it would do it. I felt like anything was possible! I immediately started begging my parents to buy a computer.

4.1. Technology and Having Fun

There is something special about the latest gadget that comes out or the next release of a fondly regarded software application. It is more than just being able to get a greater number of tasks done; it is also about exploring new possibilities. The creativity one can express through building solutions that work well and people use offers a sense of accomplishment and even pride. That building process might turn out to require creating an entirely new technology of some sort, but for most that process is about extending existing technologies in some way.

Typically, extending a technology is done through standardized channels such as software components, libraries, software development kits (SDKs), and application programming interfaces (APls). In the hardware realm one uses integrated circuits (ICs) with integrated functions, or entire original equipment manufacturer (OEM) hardware modules designed to be integrated into products. What I really love to do however is take an existing product and enhance it, sometimes using methods outside the typical channels. Some people might call that “hacking” but to me it is more about getting into the nuts and bolts of a product and making it do what you want it to do.

For example, I wanted to change out the deadbolt in the front door of my home to work without a key. I purchased an electronic deadbolt that worked with a key or by entering a PIN code by keypad. That was fine for a couple days, but the first time I had a handful of groceries and tried to enter the PIN code, I knew I wanted more. I wanted the deadbolt to unlock faster, without a key and without having to enter a PIN code. I just wanted it to know it was me and let me in, even if I had a handful of groceries. I ended up enhancing that electronic deadbolt to also accept RFID tags as a form of authentication. Later I expanded this idea further to allow a PC to log entries, allow me to set alerts, and even allow me to use other forms of authentication like email and text messages to unlock the door (great for letting neighbors in to check on your pets while you are away). There is no way I would be able to find a residential deadbolt that could do all that, let alone pay less than I did to build it myself.

4.2. Hobbyist or Entrepreneur?

I definitely have an entrepreneurial streak in me. I have started several service-based technology businesses and essentially worked for myself for 15 of the last 17 years or so. When it comes to RFID however, it's mostly just a hobby. I've done some consulting here and there, but when everyday people hear about my implants and the little projects I have built, they tend to ask me if I have any patents and/or plan to market some of these ideas.

The truth is most people have no idea what constitutes a good idea versus a patentable idea versus a marketable idea, or the amount of hard work and risk it takes to bring that little idea all the way to a market successfully. I have not had a good enough idea or met the right people yet with the business experience who could really take these things as far as they would need to go to be successful. Currently my now out-of-print niche market book RFID Toys has been the only commercial venture I have undertaken with regard to RFID, and for the time I have put into it I have basically made around $0.75 USD per hour. Not to mention the whole process was more stressful than it was fun. It seems to be a universal law that states “when you turn a fun hobby into a job, it usually stops being fun”.

So at this point I am much more content with running my little RFID forum, answering people's questions as best I can, helping to solve problems, and putting out some good quality examples others can use to get a basic understanding of hobbyist RFID.

Section 5. Getting the RFID Tag Implant

5.1. The Idea

When I think back to when I first heard about RFID implants, I was very young, perhaps seven or eight years old. I remember my mother telling me how pets were getting these new computer chips and that she did not think it was right. She, and basically everyone I grew up around, thought these things were evil and they would end up controlling humanity via satellite. I remember trodding around in the back yard contemplating the end of civilization as I knew it because of these “horrible devices”. I did not doubt that point of view or those technological misconceptions for quite some time.

The thought of RFID implantation did not resurface until years later when I was faced with the decision of whether or not to implant my own pets with a “tracking chip” (a term still used by vets which does not help dislodge ever-prevalent misconceptions about RFID implantation). By then though I was much more sensible about my approach to technology, and I thoroughly annoyed the veterinarian by asking a ton of technical questions he could not answer. After doing more research (without the aid of a content rich Internet in the early 90s) and really looking into how it worked, I had my pets implanted and I came away with a much better understanding of what the technology could and could not do.

Over a decade later, in March 2005, I found myself moving heavy equipment in and out of my office almost every day. My office door had one of those latches that locked every time it closed, and I really hated having to fish around for my keys all the time. That got me thinking about how archaic the idea of a standard metal key really was. A key is nothing more than a hunk of metal, cut with a certain pattern that identifies me as “authorized”. The typical key and lock system is also lock-centric, meaning the lock is the unique bit and each key that accesses it has to be duplicated from that unique key pattern. Once a unique key pattern is duplicated and distributed, tight control over that lock is essentially lost. I wanted a key-centric solution, meaning each key would be unique and that unique key could be used with various locks. Being unique myself, ideally I wanted that unique key to be me.

I started looking into biometrics, things like face recognition technologies and fingerprint readers. The problem I ran into was the fact that these solutions, when done the right way, were very expensive and resource intensi ve to implement. At the time, there were also serious and valid concerns over the security and reliability of biometric solutions. Also, because I would need to put the camera or fingerprint reader outside, I was also concerned about vandalism. At the time, there were not many reliable biometric options rated for outdoor use that could tell the difference between my real face and a picture of my face, or my fingerprint versus a latex glove fingertip filled with water pressed against the sensor where the remnants of my own fingerprint left on the sensor would betray me. However, I did find a variety of very inexpensive RFID readers, and writing my own software to work with them was a no-brainer. The only down side to RFID was the fact I had to carry around an access card. That got me thinking about pet implants again, and I realized I could get the benefits of RFID without having to carry around anything.

5.2. The RFID Tag Acquisition

The first thing I did was look into getting an actual pet tag implanted, but there were a few issues with pet tags. I discovered there were many different kinds of RFID, and they did not all play well with each other. As it turned out, I could not find any cheap readers that would read the pet tags, and nothing really existed in the OEM hardware space which would have allowed me to easily integrate the pet tag into a custom built access control solution. Another issue was that pet tags have a special porous “anti - migration” coating on them that is designed to allow flesh to grow into and lock the implant in place, making removal or replacement nearly impossible.

There was another option for RFID implantation; the Veri Chip. I had already heard about how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the VeriChip for implantation into humans, but the Veri Chip had the same issues pet tags had. Hardware options were very limited and expensive, and the tags also had anti-migration coating on them. I also found out that you must be registered in the Veri Chip database to receive one of their implants, which I had issues with considering my goals and intended uses were all private in nature.

Left hand with EM4102 implant and USB reader

So, I figured I would just start with a basic keycard system and find some cheap RFID readers that were easy to interface with or were designed as OEM hardware I could easily integrate into my project. I found several reader options that read EM4102 based tags, so I started looking around for RFID tags based on the EM4102 chip. What I found just about made me jump out of my seat. I found a website that sold EM4102 based RFID tags that came in a glass ampoule form factor just like the pet tags! In addition, these did not have any coating on them. I immediately ordered the reader hardware and a few glass tags (figure 1).

 

While I waited for the equipment to arrive, I started calling tag manufacturers to find out what differences there might be between the glass tags I ordered (which were not designed for implantation) and implantable pet and human glass tags. It turns out there were only a few insignificant differences, the first of which was that tags did not have the anti-migration coating on them. Second, the EM 4102 based tags did not use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) animal implant data protocol, which I did not care about either. Finally, they were not manufactured or sold as sterile equipment. After several difficult conversations with various manufacturers, I found out the glass used in the tags I ordered and the animal (pet/livestock/human) implantable tags were the same stuff. That was good enough for me, so as soon as the tags arrived, I was arranging my first implant procedure. At the time I was running a managed computing service designed for medical clinics and had several doctors as clients. Once I confirmed the glass tags worked, I scheduled the implant procedure with one of my clients, a cosmetic surgeon, and started building projects. At the time, I did not tell anyone that I was scheduled for an implant procedure, partly because I was so busy creating my first access control project and partly because at the time I did not consider getting an RFID tag implanted in my left hand to be that novel of an idea. A couple days later after a five minute procedure my left hand was RFID enabled and I had a basic access control system built for my office door.

5.3. A Cyborg or an Electrophorus?

People often ask if I feel any different now, or if I can feel the tags under my skin. Over 5 years later, the answer to both questions is no, not really. I do not feel any different, nor can I feel either implant unless I physically poke one with my finger. In fact, I often forget they are there until I have to use them.

At first it was kind of weird though, and during times of boredom I found myself mindlessly poking at them and feeling the implants under my skin. There was this kind of this cool factor to using them. I would put my hand to the front door and it would unlock, and people would be like “What!? Hold on … what just happened?” and at the time I kind of did feel like a cyborg of sorts.

But over time, the novelty wore off, and now they are just the useful tools I always wanted them to be. Even the interesting conversations I used get into with people regarding safety, security, privacy, religious concerns, and the future of the technology itself now tend to be redundant and repeat themselves constantly. Even my definition of what a cyborg is has changed.

The well-known Professor Kevin Warwick underwent the first human implantation of an RFID tag long before I even thought about doing it. He called that project Cyborg 1.0, which captured both headlines and imaginations. My definition of cyborg is a bit different however. A person with a cochlear implant or even a pace maker, those people are truly mixing technology with biology to become a cybernetic-organism (cyborg). What I have done is simply move an RFID tag from my pants pocket to a skin pocket. There is no biological interaction, and to me that interaction is what defines a cyborg. Michael and Michael [28] distinguish between what is traditionally considered a cybernetic-organism and DIY implantees who are merely “bearers” of technology (i.e. an electrophorus). I think that it is a good idea to have a term that separates us from cyborgs.

So why even bother with implanting a tag in the first place? A lot of people also ask me why “take the risk” putting it under my skin? Why not wear a watch or ring or something with a tag in it? The simple answer is-I won't wear a watch or a ring for very long without losing it. It would be like wearing a backpack everywhere you went; you would just want to take it off all the time due to it being uncomfortable. When I looked at what was possible with glass encased tags and the history these types of RFID implants had with pets, I really did not think twice about getting one implanted. Not to say that I did not do my research first [29], but the actual decision to get a tag implanted was made in a matter of seconds, and I have never regretted it.

Section 6. Is Implanting an Rfid Tag in the Body a “Safe” Practice?

Safety is a big issue, and is still a concern for every do-it-yourselfer (DIY) tagger that is considering or has already undergone an implantation procedure. Given DIY tagging is done through the sheer will of one's own accord, every tagger must take full responsibility for their decisions and actions, their health, safety, and the ultimate outcome of their RFID implantation endeavors.

Table 1. Primary safety concerns for DIY taggers

As the DIY community grows, and more people get non-FDA approved glass tags implanted in non-FDA approved locations, so too the concerns over the safety of RFID implants will grow (Table 1).

6.1. Sterilization

A common method for sterilizing medical equipment is to place it into an autoclave, where heat and pressure destroy any pathogens. The temperature reached inside an autoclave however, is well above acceptable operational and storage specifications for most RFID tags. Due to this, I did not autoclave my glass tags. Both my implants were sterilized by soaking them in a liquid antiseptic for a few minutes before the implantation procedure. As others learnt of what I had done and expressed interest in getting a RFID implant, I suggested they avoid using the autoclave to sterilize their tags as the heat may damage them.

I later performed a test, placing five 2×12mm EM4102 based glass tags in an autoclave for a full one hour cycle. All five tags came out sterile and in working order. On the RFID Toys forum, other users reported similar success with the autoclave and EM4102 tags, leading me to now suggest purchasing at least two tags and putting them through the autoclave prior to implantation. Of course, testing the tags after the sterilization process and before implantation is strongly suggested.

I believe read-only EM4102 tags are able to withstand the high temperatures of the autoclave because the IC chips typically have their unique IDs laser etched into ROM at the factory. Other tag families such as the Philips HITAG with writable memory blocks may not fare as well with such high temperatures, and significant damage to the writable blocks may occur.

6.2. Location

For his Cyborg 1.0 project, Professor Kevin Warwick decided to implant a glass encased tag into the upper inside of his left arm, beneath the inner layer of skin and on top of the muscle [31]. The location seemed to offer a safe haven for the fragile glass casing. Nine days later the tag was removed without complication.

Unlike the typical VeriChip or pet identification applications where a handheld reader is brought in close proximity to the implant, I use my implants in applications where the tag must typically be brought to a fixed reader. Because the normal operational range of small cylindrical glass tags is anywhere from one to four inches, I chose to implant both my tags (one in each hand) into the webbed area between my thumb and index finger, just under the dermis layer. This location allows me to easily position my RFID tags very close to a reader, while still providing an amount of soft tissue to cushion and protect the tags from blunt force impact. Being just under the skin and not in muscle tissue also allows for easy removal or replacement. Most, but not all, DIY taggers have chosen the same location for their implants.

6.3. Migration

Glass encased RFID tags which are designed for implantation in animals or humans typically have an anti-migration coating of some sort affixed to the glass casing. This porous material allows the implantee's flesh to grow into the material which stops the tag from moving around in the body.

The primary purpose of keeping the glass RFID tag located at the selected implantation site has more to do with consistency and ease of use than potential health risks. Veterinarians need to be able to reliably scan the same area on every pet to determine if the animal has a microchip. If tags were able to migrate from their implantation site, vets may fail to successfully scan and identify a tagged pet. In the case of tagging livestock, you do not want to accidentally have a tag migrate into a piece of meat that ends up on the consumer dining table or in scrap pieces of carcass which may be rendered for a variety of food chain-related uses.

Like myself, the DIY tagger community has taken to using glass tags which are not designed for implantation, and as such do not utilize this coating. The lack of coating allows tags to be removed or replaced much more easily than if they had this coating, and after five years neither of my tags have migrated from their implant sites. This may be due to the fact that my tags rest in congruous elastic skin tissue rather than fibrous muscle tissue which is bundled into separate strands that an implant could move between.

6.4. Structural Compromise

The thought of a glass capsule being crushed into small sharp shards while it is still inside one's body does not produce feelings of excitement or enthusiasm. Concern over the structural resilience are warranted, since the cylindrical glass capsules encasing the RFID tag's electrical components (IC, antenna coil, etc.) have very thin walls and are easily crushed using common medical instruments like forceps.

The FDA initially considered the Veri Chip as a class II device which requires special control testing [32]. However this testing did not include any sort of structural integrity test. No crush/penetration tests were performed, and key factors such as lateral stress or compression limits. are unknown. Later, the FDA reclassified the Veri Chip [33], placing it in the type III group of devices which has even fewer controls. The health risks specifically identified in the K033440 reclassification include [34]; adverse tissue reaction, migration of implanted transponder, failure of inserter, failure of electronic scanner, electromagnetic interference, electrical hazards, magnetic resonance imaging incompatibility, and needle stick. No mention of glass casing fracture or structural compromise.

After five years using my own implants and talking to many DIY taggers who have followed suit, I have not heard of anyone having any issue with crushed or compromised tags. Still, the concern is valid, and the choice of implant size, location, orientation, proximity to bone and other inflexible tissues all play a role in avoiding structural compromise.

6.5. Removal and Replacement

At the time of this writing, I have not observed any accounts of DIY taggers getting their implants removed or replaced. However, the implantation of glass tags that do not make use of a polypropylene polymer based anti-migration coating should enable the tags to remain detached and separate from the body, making removal easier.

Rather than implanting tags deep into muscle tissue, which would require invasive surgery to locate and remove, DIY taggers tend to prefer shallow implantation just under the skin. This reduces both the complexity of locating and the size and nature of the incision required to remove the tag. It also means the body is less prone to inflammation and infection-related side effects.

6.6. Cancer Risk

What started off the recent cancer discussion surrounding animal identification RFID implants was a paper published about a French bulldog who received an RFID “pet microchip” implant in September of 2003 at age 9. In April of 2004 he was examined and found to have a “lump” at the implant site [30]:

“[o]n April 2004, Leon, a 9-year-old male French Bulldog, was examined by the referring veterinarian, based in Guelph, Ontario (Canada), for the sudden growth of a subcutaneous 3×3-cm mass located on the dorsal midline of the neck, just cranial to the shoulders. The dog was regularly vaccinated against the most common canine infectious diseases and rabies, and was micro chipped (Indexel, Merial, Lyon, France) in September 2003.”

This news spread quickly, and older studies were dug up revealing similar links in laboratory mice and soon the firestorm was in full swing. I started getting all kinds of concerned emails from DIY taggers, media interview requests, and more hate mail from concerned members of the public. After reading the studies however, it became clear to me that the risks were not as exaggerated as the media and RFID critics made them out to be.

For example, many articles citing the above-mentioned study claimed the French bulldog “had a giant tumor surrounding the implant” and that the dog had died “an untimely death” from that cancer. Upon simply reading the paper I found both those assertions were false [30];

“The microchip was found, not embedded within the tumor, but immediately adjacent to it, surrounded by a very thin fibrous wall (approximately 1 mm thick) and some fresh hemorrhage.”

Reading further I found [30];

“After surgery, the dog was not vaccinated or microchipped again. Up to now, the dog is well, and no recurrence has been observed.”

So basically the dog was doing fine two years later when the study was published in 2006, and the paper calls out various other possible causes such as postinjection fibrosarcoma (a well-known pathologic entity) characterized by inflammatory peritumoral infiltration, multinucleated giant cells, and myofibroblastic cells.

The plainly published facts did not seem to matter though. Both mainstream media and RFID critics alike jumped all over the academic paper and dug up other studies from which to pull completely out of context findings. However, other papers cited within that French bulldog study do point out implants which were embedded in the center of neoplasms. So what is going on here? I started looking into other studies after visiting sites like antichips.com [35] publishing statements like the following:

“[i]n almost all cases, the malignant tumors, typically sarcomas, arose at the site of the implants and grew to surround and fully encase the devices. These fast-growing, malignant tumors often led to the death of the afflicted animals. In many cases, the tumors metastasized or spread to other parts of the animals. The implants were unequivocally identified as the cause of the cancers.”

The bottom line for myself and other DIY taggers was simple: should we be concerned about this? For the most part, what I found after digging into many of these studies was that these laboratory mice were either genetically prone to cancerous growths or subjected to radiation and/or chemical carcinogens in an effort to intentionally stimulate cancerous growth. So now the question becomes, what would cause cancer to grow around an implant? There could only be two things; the glass used to encase the RFID tag or the anti-migration coating used to lock the implant in place in the flesh. In both instances more research is needed, however it is my personal opinion that the porous coating will likely be revealed as the leading factor in stimulating cancerous growth in the area immediately surrounding implantation sites in predisposed specimens.

6.7. Taking Personal Responsibility

While I believe everyone today needs to take a bit more personal responsibility when it comes to the decisions they make, for a DIY tagger this is especially true. A draft DIY tagger code is depicted in Table 2.

Table 2. DIY tagger code

Part B-Socio-Technical Issues

In Part B, Michael and Michael relate events about Graafstra, and Graafstra relates events about others. The whole Part is written in the third person voice. Where direct quotes are used, Graafstra's sentiments and interview responses are captured verbatim. In this part the main socio-technical issues facing RFID implantees is discussed, including security, privacy, data ownership (personal versus commercial), social issues (e.g. religious responses and socio-political concerns), law and policy. Due to space limitations the authors do not go into great detail in each of the socio-technical issues addressed, rather, this remains the aim of a future work-in-progress. Part B concludes by acknowledging the role of all the stakeholders in the feedback mechanism towards social innovation.

Section 7. RFID, Implantees and Security

RFID is a very broad term that encompasses a plethora of technologies that are all designed differently but do one thing; identify something via radio frequency (RF) communication. That includes everything from the World War II identification friend or foe (IFF) systems to implantable tags to RFID enabled credit cards. As recent as 2006, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was debating the use of RFID for humans. In reports [37] and [38], it is clear that while one DHS full committee found that deployment of RFID for human identification should be done with caution, the second report by a subcommittee ruled that the practice was inappropriate [39]. The recommendation by the DHS subcommittee read [38]:

“[t]here appear to be specific, narrowly defined situations in which RFID is appropriate for human identification. Miners or firefighters might be appropriately identified using RFID because speed of identification is at a premium in dangerous situations and the need to verify the connection between a card and bearer is low. But for other applications related to human beings, RFID appears to offer little benefit when compared to the consequences it brings for privacy and data integrity. Instead, it increases risks to personal privacy and security, with no commensurate benefit for performance or national security. Most difficult and troubling is the situation in which RFID is ostensibly used for tracking objects (medicine containers, for example), but can in fact be used for monitoring human behavior “For these reasons, we recommend that RFID be disfavored for identifying and tracking human beings. When DHS does choose to use RFID to identify and track individuals, we recommend the implementation of the specific security and privacy safeguards …”

Many RFID technologies are insecure by design, or employ weak or flawed encryption methods. However, that is not to say that an RFID system using an insecure RFID technology is itself insecure by default. Despite the early 2006 findings of the DHS reports, there are U.S. RFID-based schemes which are now in widespread use. Graafstra points to the “trusted traveler” RFID-enabled NEXUS card as an example [40]. The NEXUS card is a U.S. government issued travel card that has an ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID tag inside, which does not employ any encryption technology. Any Generation 2 (Gen 2) UHF reader can read the unique code stored in the tag. The RF technology used by the NEXUS system is insecure, but the NEXUS system that allows one to travel across various borders is not inherently insecure, so one's identity is theoretically not at risk. Graafstra elaborates: “[t]he Gen 2 ID stored in my card is a unique number, but that number in no way gives up any information about me to an attacker who may be able to read it-it is just a number. The systems that link that ID number to actual important information about me are secured in far superior ways than the systems that store your library card account, or in some states, even your dri ver license information.”

Like NEXUS travel cards, the VeriChip medical implant does not employ encryption in any way. Any passive 134 kHz reader capable of understanding the VeriChip data protocol can read the ID of any VeriChip implant. Even though these IDs are tied to medical records, the ID itself is useless to a random attacker because access to those records also requires both access to a medical network and a health professional's account password. Systems that employ encrypted RFID tags have, in the past, relied heavily on the crypto algorithms in the RFID tags themselves to secure the system in which RFID technology was integrated into.

Graafstra uses the example of ExxonMobil's pay-at-the-pump SpeedPass system and the many vehicle immobilizer systems that make use of the 134 kHz TI DST tag, which secures communication through a challenge/response mechanism. The problem with these systems Graafstra outlines is that because they do not possess any other security mechanisms outside of the RFID tag's encryption, the systems are vulnerable to fraud by cracking the encryption algorithm used by tags to generate proper responses to the challenges issued by commercial readers. Once the DST tag crypto had been cracked [41], ExxonMobil had to redesign their SpeedPass payment system to implement credit card style fraud detection to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. Other tag chipsets that employ encryption mechanisms like MiFare and HIT AG S have also been compromised, leading systems designers to rethink security and start balancing RFID encryption with other security mechanisms.

Graafstra points to the fact that his left hand contains an EM4102 tag, which by design does not utilize any security measures. The tag ID is readable by any 125 kHz reader able to understand EM4102 tags and get close enough to read the tag. He comments, “[e]ven so, I use that tag to unlock my back door when I get home from work. Many would argue that my home is completely insecure because my implanted tag is not secure. I do not disagree, but I also do not believe that I am at any greater risk of home invasion as a result.”

7.1. Security Context

Quite often people think security is a pass/fail scenario. Either something is secure or it is not. In reality, a security policy is a collection of systems, methods, and procedures that protect an asset by removing enough value and/or applying enough deterrence that a potential attacker will not even bother or quit trying. To get to the heart of the matter, you have to start with the premise that nothing is truly secure. If there is enough desire, determination, and resources available to an attacker, they will eventually succeed.

The inherent lack of encryption in many RFID tags impacts DIY taggers building personal use applications differently than it does commercial enterprises like Veri Chip, ExxonMobil, and VISA/MasterCard with their public use applications. Graafstra argues that despite the fact that he uses an insecure RFID tag to unlock the back door of his house, if a random attacker were to get close enough to read the ID of the EM4102 tag implanted in his left hand, they would not have any way to derive his identity (e.g. name), his home location (e.g. where he lives), or his phone number. This is however discounting the simple fact that one can be covertly followed in a public space. Graafstra believes an attacker intent on entering his home would generally use more mundane approaches such as breaking a window, than going to the effort of a technical approach. Graafstra's observations are quite correct, for the time being, until more and more DIY taggers start to rig up their personal living spaces with readers.

7.2. Designing with Security in Mind

7.2.1 RFID Cards in the Corporation

Assuming the encryption algorithms used by “secure tags” today have been or will soon be cracked, system designers need to shift from exclusive reliance on tag encryption and incorporate other features to make their systems more secure. Starting with the RFID tag itself, several businesses integrate RFID access control tags with their employee name badges. These can be constructed with a simple push button membrane or switch that connects the RFID antenna to the tag IC. Graafstra recommends that given the user already has to handle their name badge in order to place it close enough to a reader to get a valid read, why not require a simultaneous press of a switch while doing so? For Graafstra, such a simple design change would eliminate almost every possibility for a non-consensual read by malicious users.

Access control systems can also be designed with more intelligence than they currently possess. Graafstra relates the following scenario with respect to physical access control to a corporation. Assume Dave of XYZ Corp has been the victim of a malicious card scan. The attacker intends to emulate Dave's card ID to gain access to the building by mixing in with the morning rush of people. Dave enters the building first, and then the attacker enters five minutes later. Dave goes to his desk by way of the elevator and a couple of other security doors where his badge is used. The attacker takes a different route to his target, using his emulated Dave badge. The system should be able to recognize the odd access pattern through validation and alert security, possibly offering up an employee photo along side a time stamped video of the various RFID access events. Security personnel could then quickly determine if there was an attempted security breach they needed to address. If so, they could lock down Dave's badge so it no longer functioned, and even set up real-time mobile alerts to tell roving security guards if and where the badge was trying to be used. In theory, Graafstra is correct, system designers for the greater part are not thinking foolproof security blueprints but the reality is that budgeting and security staff resourcing would possibly not allow for such sophisticated security interventions; detection is one thing, acting on an email or mobile alert is another.

7.2.2. RFID Implants and Diy Tagger Protection

Graafstra has spent a great deal of time thinking how DIY taggers could protect themselves from what he terms “casual” security attacks. He has documented his solution as follows. Using the read/write memory blocks that many types of tags have is a good way to increase both the risk and the amount of effort an attacker would have to exert in order to successfully execute an attack. For example, the HIT AG S 2048 tag in his right hand uses 40 bit encryption to protect the contents of its 255 byte read/write memory blocks. The 40 bit encryption will not stop a serious attacker but it will diminish the casual attacker's ability.

Graafstra elaborates in detail: to enhance the security of a system, the memory space can contain a pseudo-random rotating hash which is used in conjunction with the tag's read onl y unique serial number to confirm authorized entry. The hash is generated based on a secret key that only your system knows, coupled with an incrementing counter used to salt the hash. When the hash is read, the system uses much more powerful encryption algorithms to calculate and match the hash stored on the tag than the tag itself is capable of utilizing. The counter value is derived and checked against the system counter to ensure the encrypted hash is correct for the tag IDand to ensure the counter value is moving forward and not staying still or moving backward. Upon successful authentication, the counter is updated and a new hash is written to the memory blocks. If an attacker were able to break the 40 bit encryption to gain access to the memory contents, a successful attack is still orders of magnitude more difficult to pull off than plainly emulating an unencrypted tag. Also, a successful attack would provide a very small window of opportunity as any use of the original card would invalidate the cloned tag's counter/hash combination.

Section 8. RFID Implantees and Privacy

8.1. Misconceptions About RFID Technology

There are a lot of misconceptions in the general community about how various RFID technologies work, prompting unfounded fears of global positioning system (GPS) satellites tracking embedded tags and implants. This is not to say that in the future RFID tags will not be able to interface with a number of different mobile technologies but for now this kind of global tracking is unavailable. And this not because it is not technically feasible to do so, but rather because large-scale agreements have not yet been entered into between a variety of stakeholders.

Active RFID tags can transmit data very long distances, anywhere from a few feet to 10 miles or more, but they use battery power to do so and are bigger and bulkier than passive RFID tags. Inversely, passive tags like those used in retail inventory applications and glass encased implants are typically smaller. They do not have internal power sources, and can generally communicate with readers from only a few inches to a few feet away depending on chipset, size, and frequency used. Certain experiments have shown, under ideal conditions, that passive UHF tags can be read from several hundred feet, but those are special test cases not practical real-world scenarios. Even so, the prevalent fear amongst every day consumers is that, somehow, carrying an RFID tag of any kind will allow “them” (e.g. government agencies) to track your every move.

Today, people's activities are logged constantly. From every non-cash purchase you make to every RFID “fast pay” toll booth archway driven under to every phone call made, something somewhere is logging that activity. Graafstra points out the potential for data mining through a variety of sources, emphasizing that “[n]obody is upset about this type of information gathering as they are about RFID technology … [and that] the backlash from specific segments of the public seems to center on embedded tags, whether they are embedded in clothes, in driver license cards, or people's bodies.” For Graafstra, the stated concerns indicate people believe RFID is capable of more than it really is, and that those perceived capabilities culminate as fear of massive privacy invasion on an unprecedented scale.

8.2. Some Consumer Concerns Warranted

Although Graafstra does acknowledge that some consumer concerns with respect to RFID are valid, he believes the concern is misdirected at the technology itself rather than on human factor issues, e.g. consent. He emphasizes that unobtrusive reads amount to privacy problems, and that to some extent history has already proven that this is a valid concern. Clothing manufacturer Benetton, for example, was found to be embedding RFID tags into women's garments in an effort to quickly identify past customers as they walked into their storefronts [42]. Graafstra also singles out the idea of function creep, inferring that consent given for one use may be extended at a later date as the application grows. People who have to travel over toll roads and bridges may opt to use an RFID tag permanently affixed to their windscreen for automatic payment may find that the terms and conditions they originally signed up for have changed, and in some instances without warning. For example, some state governments collect data from RFID tollway tags to monitor traffic patterns on their roadways without notifying users. Furthermore, logs of which tags passed what checkpoint at what time are kept for undisclosed periods of time and log data could potentially be shared with an unknown number of requestors. Graafstra questions whether the next step will indeed be to issue speeding fines based on how fast people have traveled from checkpoint A to B.

8.3. RFID Tags: Personal Versus Commercial Use

Now let us take a hypothetical look at RFID privacy in a hostile environment, and the differences between personal use and commercial use contexts. When you sign up for a commercial service that utilizes RFID in some way, you surrender your personal information which is tied to that unique tag ID. Assuming the company does not share your tag ID or your information with any other person or company, your information is still associated with that tag ID and could be used to violate your privacy through nonconsensual reading of the tag. The problem gets worse if that company sells or shares that data with other companies or people.

In a personal use context, you never surrender your personal information to anyone, and your tag ID is in no way associated with you. The best any snoopy corporation or government could do would be to aggregate non-identifiable data together to determine patterns of anonymous tag IDs. Of course, there is always the concern that associations could be made through other means. For example, suppose a checkpoint was set up that could read a large cross-section of tags from RFID enabled credit cards, access cards, various tag types in UHF, high frequency (HF), and low frequency (LF) frequency ranges, etc. A properly read and decrypted RFID credit card will reveal the cardholder's name, and if other tag IDs always showed up in logs when “Dave's” unprotected RFID-enabled credit card did, then one could assume that all those RFID tags resided in Dave's wallet with his credit card. While this fact may be disconcerting, Dave can still take measures to protect himself, by choosing to shield his tags and cards [43], or even leave them at home. But what about implanted RFID tags? Leaving those at home is not possible and shielding them could be socially awkward (always explaining why you're wearing tin foil gloves), even though increasingly sentinel jackets are coming onto the market.

Implantable tags like VeriChip which are sold to the public for use within commercial systems do present different privacy challenges than the glass tags implanted by DIY taggers. A commercial system means uniformity when it comes to things like implant location, type of chip, data protocol, and frequency. Since the implant location is common to all users (e.g. in the case of the VeriChip it is the triceps muscle of the right arm), Graafstra believes that a simple reader can be set up at typical arm height in a doorway to casually capture tag IDs from passers-by. With enough people using a common system and enough readers placed in enough doorways, unique traffic profiles could be created for each tag ID much more easily.

Section 9. RFID Implantees and Society

9.1. PET and Animal Identification Systems

Whether people like to admit to it or not, society today is full of RFID tag and transponder technologies embedded in buildings, in vehicles, in packages, in clothing, in animals, and in people's wallets. This diffusion will continue to grow annually with predictions that 26.1 billion units will be sold in 2011 alone [44]. Passive RFID tags designed to be implanted into animals have been around since the early 1980s. After being widely tested by several companies in the early 1990s (such as Destron's LifeChip [45]), the number of pets with implanted RFID tags has skyrocketed as local councils and state governments move to make the chipping of domesticated animals compulsory [46]. To date this practice, above all else, has done more to raise public awareness of the positive applications of implantables than any other use of implantable RFID tags.

Today RFID tags, both passive and active, are used to keep tabs on everything from pets to livestock to wild animals on land, in the air, and in the sea. Graafstra notes, that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses “microchipping” in its research of wild bison, black-footed ferrets, grizzly bears, elk, white-tailed deer, giant land tortoises and armadillos. New developments in sensors, RF, and power harvesting technologies are also leading the way to “implantable” RF enabled sensors embedded into trees (e.g. orchards). These “tree tags” relay information about the health of the tree, the surrounding forest environment, and raise an alarm in the event of a forest fire [47].

9.2. Is it Hip to Get the Chip?

Since Michael and Michael began their research into non-medical ICT implantables in the mid-1990s, they were preoccupied by the question of diffusion, and predominantly the notion of who influenced whom within the context of an actor network. For example, who was the first DIY tagger implantee? What inspired them to get an implant? How did they come to know of other implantees? When Graafstra received his first implant, he knew he was not the first. Professor Kevin Warwick had long since completed his Cyborg 1.0 project, and VeriChip had received FDA approval and was already implanting customers. Graafstra believes what he embarked on in early 2005 created such a media interest because he got the implant on his own accord, and he self-reported it all using photographs and video via the web. He also was comprehensive in his documentation of what he planned to do with his implant, and quickly demonstrated its functionality. Finally, he also believes implanting a RFID device in the hand, and not in the upper arm, sparked more intrigue and inquiry.

Since that time Veri Chip (now PositivelD [48]) have been marketing their products, and to date allegedly have between 1000 and 2000 people registered in their medical implant database, although some estimates are much lower and some much higher. The size of the DIY community is, by its very nature, unknown. Yet shortly after news of Graafstra's implant became public, he was contacted by lots of members from the general community who wanted to know how to obtain an implant themselves. Graafstra is frank, when he states: “today, anyone can buy glass encased RFID tags and watch self-implantation procedures online, and then go to their local piercing shop to get it done”. One is left pondering, however, whether DIYers are engaged in the act of blueprint copying or idea diffusion, and the repercussions that this might have on how RFID implants are utilized in the future. Jared Diamond describes blueprint copying as the act of copying or modifying an available detailed blueprint. At the opposite end of the spectrum lies idea diffusion, which is when one receives little more than the basic idea and has to reinvent the fine details [49].

Graafstra estimates there could be roughly 200 or 300 DIY taggers around the world who have opted to get a non-commercial RFID implant. Graafstra is reflective, that while he does not know the exact number of DIYers, he does know (or at least understands) the inner motivations of some DIYers to get an implant is less than technical. He said:

“I've been contacted by 16 year old kids who have had to wait until they are 18 to get this done due to - what I think are - valid parental concerns. On my RFID forum, I have repeatedly suggested that it is not worth taking even a minor health risk to get this done if you do not really know why you want it and what your goals are once you have it. Even so, when I asked a couple of these kids why they wanted to get an implant and what they were going to do with it, in both cases their responses were something along the lines of “because it's cool” and “I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it”. I have also been contacted by body-madders who, after getting their fifteenth cosmetic subcutaneous silicone implant, wanted something different … something that was actually functional in some way, even if they did not have any plans to actually use it.”

However most DIY taggers tend to view their implant as a utilitarian tool to be used in daily life with projects they have built themselves. In this loose-knit community [50] of practical DIY taggers, one could argue it is actually “hip to get the chip,” even though the best place for it is unanimously the hand!

9.3. RFID Implants for Families: Peace of Mind?

When considering the applications that Applied Digital Solutions were marketing in 2003, and those that were subsequently marketed by the VeriChip Corporation, Graafstra circumspectly calls the “brochureware” confusing from a marketing perspective at least. For Graafstra, any sort of communication that misleads the public about pinpoint location positioning via the RFID chip is widely fantastical and utterly disappointing. He does not understand, how on the basis of a commercial vision, the Mexican Attorney General allowed himself and some of his staff to be Veri Chipped with an “anti-kidnapping chip”. Parents, like that of Jeffrey and Leslie Jacobs were also lead to believe, probably through mainstream public misconceptions about the function of RFID, that getting a Veri Chip implant would provide their whole family with security and “piece of mind” [51].

The fact is, no RFID implant can provide that kind of security and “traceability” that certain members of society are looking for or are afraid of. The best an RFID implant can do today, is identify the person sitting two inches away from the scanner. That may help identify a corpse, but it will not help find missing persons. This is not to say that in the not-to-distant future, technological convergence might enable very sophisticated applications to be built. The idea of implanting prisoners, persons on parole or persons on extended supervision orders (ESOs), or military service-people with digital implantable dog tags has been considered but has yet to take place. Again, Graafstra points to public polls where consumers believe that implanting prisoners or parolees would make society “safer” because it would make implantees easier to track down and keep in confined zones if required, but he is adamant that these kinds of solutions are not yet possible using implanted RFID tags. The permanency of FDA approved implantables is especially disconcerting as they possibly do not give one-time offenders, or once military service personnel, an opportunity to rehabilitate or move onto other professions [52]. For Graafstra this is a violation of service terms, since imposed subcutaneous FDA approved commercial implants are long lasting physical remnant of requirements that have long since expired, and no longer valid.

9.4. RFID Implants for Employees and the Law

To date, no employer has required an employee or potential employee to obtain an RFID implant in order to become or remain employed. Critics jumped on inaccurate media reports that CityWatcher.com, a now defunct municipal surveillance company, had required employees to get implants to access sensitive datacenters. The fact is three employees did receive VeriChip implants and the company paid for their procedures [53]. However, five employees opted to simply carry around an access card to access those same areas. Implantation was optional, not compulsory. There was a similar optional implantation of employees at the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain but this was not really publicized.

As a preemptive measure several states in the U.S.A passed laws that banned enforced implantation by employers [54]. For Graafstra the problem has more to do with laws and regulations which target a technology than the very ‘act’ of surveillance. Graafstra notes the law passed in California (Senate Bill 362) that banned employers from mandating that employees or potential employees must get an identifying implant in order to perform their work [55]. The law is written with a heavy slant toward a “radio frequency device”, but an argument could be made that this law also covers biometric technologies and other location based mobile technologies. Intentional or not, the definitions section states;

“Identification device” means any item, application, or product that is passively or actively capable of transmitting personal information, including, but not limited to, devices using radio frequency technology.

“Subcutaneous” means existing, performed, or introduced under or on the skin.

For Graafstra such laws do not do anything for employee workplace rights as a plethora of other technologies exist to determine the whereabouts of workers within campus-based facilities like manufacturing plants. For Graafstra, it has less to do with implantables, and more to do with employee privacy.

9.5. Is Getting an RFID Implant Evil?

Many people believe that RFID implants will harm society and/or humanity in some way. The two most vocal groups are people expressing their religious views, and people expressing their socio-political fears [56]‥

9.5.1. Religious Concerns-“Mark of the Beast”

The interpretation of the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, by some Christians has caused Graafstra to be the target of backlash by some members of the believing community. Graafstra points to the following verses that RFID critics with a religious orientation invariably point to (Revelation 13: 16–18):

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

From the correspondence that Graafstra has received, he has deduced that some Christians believe that “the devil” will require all of humanity to receive a mark of some kind in order to be able to participate in day-to-day societal transactions. And that furthermore, wise people will recognize that mark and attempt to refuse it. Those who are most vocal about such beliefs have gone so far as to insult and threaten Graafstra, and other DIY taggers about their involvement in ICT implants. Graafstra has spent some time reviewing the passages himself countering:

“[s]ince so many people seem to take the Bible so very literally, in my opinion there are a few things they are either ignoring or do not realize. In verse 16, it says “he causeth all” which means everyone will receive “the mark” regardless of whether they want it or not. In verse 17 it says “no man might buy or sell [without the mark]”, meaning absolutely nobody will be able to do this, even if you are living in an igloo on the North Pole trying to do it illegally. In verse 18 it says nothing about wise people refusing the mark or even being able to, it only discusses how to recognize it.”

There are, however, a number of places in Revelation (16:2, 19:20, 20:10) where it seems evident enough that people will indeed have to make a choice, viz., “the mark”. This was certainly the interpretation of all the early church exegetes who dealt with the prophecy [57]. For Graafstra, however, the mark and the beast are potent warnings about willing subscription to oppressive systems, and how using the tools of those systems will only strengthen such systems. It is very important to distinguish between oppressive systems that use technologies to subjugate a people, and technologies that liberate them, or those being used in a private, personal context.

9.5.2. Socio-Political Fears

Some people believe that RFID implants may one day be mandated on the general populace, instituted by totalitarian governments and other authoritarian regimes [58]. Such persons, firmly believe that RFID technology, particularly implant technology, will in some way enslave humanity and cause a major digital divide. These groups generally point to the involvement of large-scale corporations in the conception, development and implementation of RFID implant technology, and to some extent generate conspiracy theory-like scenarios about the future.

Graafstra also notes that he has been threatened both directly and indirectly by some people harboring sociopolitical fears. He elaborates:

“I have been accused of aiding the government and private corporations in their efforts to deploy RFID implants on a wide scale. I very strongly feel it is a priority to attempt to engage these accusers in civil discussion and attempt, however futile, to impart a bit of knowledge so they might understand how these implants function and ultimately the difference between and separation of DIY taggers from commercial solutions by corporations like VeriChip.”

Simply put, some advocacy groups are not helping the debate and whatever valuable insights they might have is lost in a host of “background noise”. The practice of

‘attracting’ hate mail is common among implantees (both in academia and DIYers), and as Graafstra emphasizes, it often does not encourage a healthy exchange of ideas, although it does alert developers to the social realities that may be stifling adoption and potential ethical liabilities development make need to address.

Section 10. RFID Versus Other Technologies

In Graafstra's opinion it is not so much that consumers should be wary of what RFID can do, but of the widespread diffusion of powerful biometrics and pinpoint positioning technologies. Despite that biometric identification is used extensively all over the world to identify and log all kinds of things, Graafstra notes that it does not receive the same amount of attention that RFID does from advocacy groups. Graafstra sums it up very well when he reflects:

“I think the reason for this is that RFID requires a tangible object carried by or implanted in the object to be identified. Biometric identification does not require this because the identifier is your own body. As biometric monitoring devices get more and more unobtrusive and fade further into the urban landscape, I fear lack of motivation will continue to get worse until a series of very serious civil rights violations occur, but by then we might have a social environment so riddled with circumstances where privacy and basic rights have been traded away for the illusion of security that the general public may actually be afraid to turn off and live without these systems.”

Today's biometric technology can identify you by your full body [59], face, voice, fingerprints, chemical scent, gait mechanics, emotional expressions, your DNA, and even your own shadow [60]. Video cameras are very cheap and easy to deploy, and developments in video processing enable face recognition systems to accurately identify entire crowds of people much faster and more accurately than ever before. If your face is not visible, gait analysis systems can still tell it is “you”, based on the way you walk or your body language. The U.S. military, among others, have been working with satellite imaging to successfully identify key targets based on the shadow they cast on the ground [61].

But beyond biometrics, there is now a plethora of positioning technologies entering the market at different levels of precision [62], [63]. Even the mobile phone (whether 3G-enabled or not) has become a potential privacy-invasive tool. In the U.S., President Barrack Obama recently suggested that U.S. citizens have “no expectation of privacy” with respect to their mobile phones, even when not making a call [64]. Graafstra is not alone in his belief that the idea that anyone from local police to government agencies should be allowed to request-without a warrant-your phone's location at any time (even if it is sitting idle in your home) “is a very scary step that moves the U.S. further toward a surveillance state”. The question as Graafstra has rightly put it is why are these issues not receiving the same attention as RFID tags and implantables? There is an obvious mismatch between perceived encroachments in privacy and actual encroachments in privacy. Advocacy groups might be lobbying for “no RFID implants” but what is here “now” is far worse.

10.1. Opting Out of Commercial ID Systems

If one wishes to opt out of an RFID-based system, users can issue requests to any third parties they enrolled with to have their account information destroyed. While this process and its full compliance is entirely in the hands of those third parties, destruction of the RFID tag is within the control of the users themselves. Tags can be returned to vendors, left at home, thrown out, physically destroyed, or in the case of implants physically removed from the body. However, removal of some RFID implants is more difficult than others. According to the company's product documentation, the FDA approved VeriChip is designed for permanent human implantation. Its Bio-Bond® anti-migration coating and the implantation procedure which seats the tag very deep into muscle tissue create a painful and expensive removal experience. The lack of anti-migration coating on the glass tags used by DIY taggers and their typically shallow implant locations allow easy removal that, in an emergency, could even be done with a sharp knife by the taggers themselves. With biometric systems however, the process of opting out is entirely handled by the third parties whose systems you have been enrolled in. Identifying all of these parties can be impossible if you have passively been enrolled in one or more systems without your knowledge. Furthermore, changing or destroying your biological identifiers can be extremely difficult, expensive, painful, or just plain impossible with today's technology.

Section 11. Conclusion

There is some truth in the belief that technology can be used for well intentioned purposes and not-so-well intentioned purposes alike; see for example the differences between two opposing schools of thought-technological determinism and the social shaping of technology. Graafstra believes that most, if not all technologies are neutral: “[i]t is the people who implement and use a particular technology that determine its effect on humanity.” In that regard, Graafstra is one of the first to acknowledge why some people might have a fear of the potential for wide-scale use of RFID implants, especially when claims are made by persons with limited knowledge of what the technology is capable of, or in other circumstances persons who are completely ignorant of technological capabilities.

In reality, people who rise up so fervently to speak out against RFID do provide valuable feedback to the social innovation process. Graafstra knows too well that there will always be people who can and will build and/or use technology in a way that may be or become oppressive to end-users. The role of the critic is to help in the provision of a balanced view and to ask the very questions that may have been ignored during the development process. Perhaps, in the end, it is even quite irrelevant that some of these opponents understand the technology's true capabilities or limitations. The challenge rather to technologists is to usefully harness the criticism, the feedback, in order to build into their products and solutions design safeguards that mean that identified “potential” threats or harms are minimized or eradicated. Religious advocates against RFID, or those that have socio-political fears about the potential uses of RFID, should attempt to enter into intelligent dialogue rather than burn energy in campaigning against global computer giants or writing disrespectful messages to individual persons who are said to be aiding in the fulfillment of prophecy. The same can be said for law and policymakers, who must be open to discussion and who must arrive at intelligent legislation and industry regulation that targets behavior and the misconduct a technology might enable, not the technology itself. For example, some anti-chipping laws in the U.S. only refer to “injectable” RFID implants but we already have swallowable sensor technologies being patented, and what of the future of nanotechnology for healthcare? Policy that singles out technology as the problem, only limits the scope and effectiveness of the policy per se, while not addressing the real issues lurking beneath the surface.

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Keywords

Radiofrequency identification, Eyes, RFID tags, Transponders, Implants, Radio frequency, Animals,Supply chains, Mobile handsets, Health and safety, social sciences, radiofrequency identification, chip implant, sociotechnical issues, humancentric RFID implantee subculture, Amal Graafstra,radiofrequency identification tags

Citation: Amal Graafstra, Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, 2010, "Social-technical issues facing the humancentric RFID implantee sub-culture through the eyes of Amal Graafstra", International Symposium on Technology and Society, 7-10 June, 2010, pp. 498 - 516 , Wollongong, Australia.

Using social informatics to study effects of location-based social networking

Using a social informatics framework to study the effects of location-based social networking on relationships between people: A review of literature

Abstract

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This paper is predominantly a review of literature on the emerging mobile application area known as location-based social networking. The study applies the social informatics framework to the exploratory question of what effect location based social networking may have on relationships between people. The classification model used in the paper relates previous research on location based services and online social networking together. Specifically the wider study is concerned with literature which identifies the impact of technology on trust with respect to friendship. This paper attempts to draw out the motivations behind using location based social networking applications and the implications this may have on individual privacy and more broadly one's social life. It relies heavily on the domain of social informatics with a view to setting a theoretical underpinning to the shaping between context and information and communication technology design.

Section 1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the relevant literature of the effects of location-based social networking (LBSN) on relationships between people. There are three main areas of literature reviewed. The first area is literature related to the domain of social informatics. The purpose of reviewing this literature is to guide the conduct of the wider research study. The second area of literature reviewed is the social informatics based studies on online social networking (OSN), location based services (LBS), and location based social networking (LBSN). The purpose of reviewing the literature on online social networking and location based services is because these technologies precede location based social networking. LBSN is the composite of LBS and OSN and therefore the literature on each of these technologies provides insight into core concepts related to location based social networking. The intersection between LBS, ONS and LBSN also uncovers an area which has been under researched predominantly due to its newness in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The third area of literature reviewed by this research is the literature on trust and friendship. The purpose of briefly reviewing this literature is to provide an outline of the social theory that forms the background of the wider study. Prior to reviewing the literature a classification model is presented which summarizes the literature in the domain, in addition to providing a roadmap for this paper.

Section 2. Background

Location Based Social Networking (LBSN) applications such as Google Latitude, Loopt and BrightKite enhance our ability to perform social surveillance. These applications enable users to view and share real time location information with their “friends”. LBSN applications offer users the ability to look up the location of another “friend” remotely using a smart phone, desktop or other device, anytime and anywhere. Users invite their friends to participate in LBSN and there is a process of consent that follows. Friends have the ability to alter their privacy settings to allow their location to be monitored by another at differing levels of accuracy (e.g. suburb, pinpoint at the street address level, or manual location entry). Individuals can invite friends they have met in the physical space, friends they have met virtually in an online social network, their parents, their siblings, their extended family, partners, even strangers to join them in an LBSN setting.

With the emergence of this technology it is crucial to consider that “technology alone, even good technology alone is not sufficient to create social or economic value” [1]. Further to not contributing “sufficient” economic or social value, Kling and other scholars have identified that technologies can have negative impacts on society [2]. Consider the case of persons who have befriended each other in the virtual space, only to meet in the physical space and to encounter unforeseen consequences by doing so [3]. As location based social networking technologies are used between what is loosely termed “friends,” they have the potential to impact friendships, which are integral not only to the operation of society but also to the individual's well being [4].

Section 3. Classification Model

The classification model of the literature review expressed in Figure 1 summarizes the current social informatics based scholarship on location based services, online social networking and location based social networking applications. The arrows indicate the researchers view that location based social networking applications are novel in that they have been designed to provide additional functionality for social networking. The classification model also summarizes the scholarship on trust and technology and introduces the social theory of trust and friendship. The purpose of reviewing this literature is first to identify studies relating trust to LBS and OSN, and then to understand how technology has the potential to impact upon human trust. Although it must be stated upfront that the number of studies relating to this particular research question are scarce, given that the first popular LBSN application was launched in the beginning of 2009 [5], with only beta applications existing in August of 2008. Secondly, the purpose of reviewing the literature on trust and friendship is to develop a social theory to inform the research.

Figure 1. Classification Model

In order to logically understand the literature it is organized in a top-down approach. First the paper addresses enquiries in the domain of social informatics. Second the literature on online social networking and location based services is reviewed, providing a background to the types of issues pertinent to location based social networking. The review of the literature specifically on LBSN then follows. Once the gap in current research is presented, previous works on ‘trust and technology’, and ‘trust and friendship’ are presented.

Section 4. Socio-Technical Network Influences

The social implications of technologies have been explored under several different theoretical frameworks, including technological determinism, social shaping of technology, critical information theory and social informatics. This research adopts the approach of social informatics. Thus the overall aim of the research is to engage in a holistic and empirical study of the ‘consequences’ of location based social networking applications. This section provides a definition and outline of social informatics, how and why it has developed and how it can be used as a framework for further research. This section concludes with a justification for the adoption of this particular approach against a backdrop of other possible theories.

4.1. Definition of Social Informatics

Social informatics research focuses upon the relationships between information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the larger social context they exist within [6]. The definition of social informatics provided by the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciencedefines Social Informatics as [7]:

“the systematic, interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts. Thus, it is the study of the social aspects of computers, telecommunications, and related technologies, and examines issues such as the ways that IT shape organizational and social relations, or the ways in which social forces influence the use and design of IT… Social Informatics research strategies are usually based on empirical data… [and] use data to analyze the present and recent past to better understand which social changes are possible, which are plausible and which are most likely in the future.”

One of the key concepts underlying the approach of social informatics is that information and communication technology are not designed in social isolation, that a social context does exist, and it does influence the manner in which ICT is developed, used and ultimately has a social impact [7].

4.2. The Development of Social Informatics

Social informatics research was born from the dissatisfaction with previous information systems research methods that were focused on either exploring the deterministic effects of technology upon society, or society upon technology. These theories are respectively referred to as technological determinism and social shaping of technology.

Technological deterministic research studies focus on the impact of technology upon society. The research approach aims to answer questions such as:

“What would be the impact of computers on organizational behavior if we did X? What would be the changes in social life if we did X? Will computer systems improve or degrade the quality of work?… ‘What will happen, X or Y?’ The answer was, sometimes X, and sometimes Y. There was no simple, direct effect” [8].

Technological determinism has failed to produce satisfactory prediction and this has lead to the formation of social informatics research [9]. Technological determinism was also seen by the proponents of the social shaping of technology, as being only a partial truth, and “oversimplistic” [10].

The social shaping of technology approach proposes that technology is not an autonomous entity as it is shaped by social forces. This is in direct opposition to technological determinism which depicts technology as an “autonomous entity, which develops according to an internal logic and in a direction of its own, and then has determinate impacts on society” [11]. Social shaping of technology studies aim to show that technology is in fact a social product, it does not mold society, but rather society molds it, and this can be seen by investigating the social forces at play in the creation and use of technology [12]. Examples of approaches in the social shaping of technology include the social construction of technology and the actor network theory. These theories focused on the role of either knowledge or actors upon the development of technology. Technological determinism focuses on the impacts of technology, while the social shaping of technology focuses on the context. Social informatics on the other hand “investigates how the influences and nodes in a sociotechnical network shape each other” [13].

Social informatics does not ask deterministic questions ‘What will happen X or Y?’, instead social informatics researchers asks the question 'When will X happen? And Under what Conditions?’ providing a nuanced conceptual understanding of the operation of technology in social life [9]. In contrast to technologic determinism and social shaping of technology theories, the social informatics framework highlights the mutual shaping of technology and society, both molding each other at the same time.

4.3. Examples of Social Informatics Research

Figure 2. Bidirectional Shaping between Context and ICT Design

Social informatics takes a nuanced approach to investigating technologies and explores the bidirectional shaping between context and ICT design, implementation and use [13] (figure 2). This approach, which combines the social aspects and the technical aspects of technology, has been found to be useful for understanding the social shaping and ‘consequences’ of information communication technologies [9]. Examples of social informatics research include the vitality of electronic journals [14], the adoption and use of Lotus Notes within organizations [15], public access to information via the internet [16], and many other studies. Social informatics research also investigates new social phenomenon that materialize when people use technology, for example, the unintended effects of behavioral control in virtual teams [17]. Research falling in this area is perceived as the future direction for social informatics research [9].

4.4. Social Informatics as a Framework

Social informatics is not described as a theory, but as a “large and growing federation of scholars focused on common problems”, with no single theory or theoretical notion being pursued [13]. What social informatics does provide is a framework for conducting research. What follows is a description of the framework, its key elements and distinguishing features.

4.4.1. Key Features of Social Informatics Research

Social informatics research is problem orientated, empirical, theory based and interdisciplinary with a focus on informatics (table 1). In addition there are several key distinguishing features of the framework. First, social informatics does not prescribe a specific methodology although the majority of methods employed by researchers in this field are qualitative methods. Second, social informatics is inclusive of normative, analytical or critical approaches to research. Third, this type of research “investigate[s] how influences and nodes at different levels in the network shape each other” [13], engaging in analysis of the interconnected levels of the social context. Fourth, research in this field can be seen to fall within three broad themes:

  1. ICT uses lead to multiple and sometimes paradoxical effects,

  2. ICT uses shape thought and action in ways that benefit some groups more than others and these differential effects often have moral and ethical consequences and;

  3. a reciprocal relationship exists between ICT design, implementation, use and the context in which these occur [13].

When adopting the framework of social informatics, the main focus of social informatics should not be overshadowed. The research should be focused upon the idea that “ICT are inherently socio-technical, situated and social shaped” [18] and that in order to understand their impacts we need to explore, explain and theorize about their socio-technical contexts [13].

Table 1. Key Features of Social Informatics Research (adapted from [13])

4.5. Justification for Using the Social Informatics Framework

There are two primary justifications for adopting a social informatics approach. First, the goals and achievements of social informatics accords to the researchers' goal and motivation. Second, the holistic method of enquiry adopted by social informatics research provides meaningful data. Social Informatics researchers aim to develop: “reliable knowledge about information technology and social change based on systematic empirical research, in order to inform both public policy issues and professional practice” [8]. This is in accordance with the researchers' goal to identify the credible threats that LBSN pose to friends and society with a view to preventing or minimizing their effect. Social informatics research has also developed an “increased understanding of the design, use, configuration and/or consequences of ICTs so that they are actually workable for people and can fulfill their intended functions” [9]. In essence, this is the primary motivation behind this study: to increase our understanding of location based social networking so that it can be workable and fulfill its intended function in society without causing individuals harm.

The method of enquiry adopted by social informatics researchers is usually based on conducting a holistic and interdisciplinary investigation into the bidirectional relationship between context and ICT design, use and implementation. This study takes into account the social theory surrounding trust and relationships; thus providing meaningful data on the implications of location based social networking upon trust. For Kling, it was the fact that information and communication technologies were increasingly becoming enmeshed in the lives of more and more people, that there was a pressing need to explore the ultimate social consequences of the ensuing changes [8]. Kling considered that studying new and emerging applications early in the process of diffusion granted significant opportunities to shape the forms and uses of new technologies.

4.6. Alternative Theories and Approaches to the Study of the Social Implications of Technology

Two alternative approaches to social informatics were discussed in section 4.2, i.e., technological determinism and the social shaping of technology. A third possible theory that was considered was critical social theory (founded by Jürgen Habermas). Critical social theory has four distinct attributes: (1) it is sensitive to lifeworlds of the organizational actors and is oriented to interpreting and mapping the meanings of their actions from their perspectives, (2) adopts pluralistic methods, (3) does not separate the subjects of inquiry from their context and (4) recognizes that the context is not only important to meaning construction, but to social activity as well [19]. Thus, we can say, that critical social theory is similar to social informatics in three main ways: (1) both approaches are sensitive to the context surrounding the subject of enquiry, (2) both focus on the inter-relationship between context and subject, and (3) both approaches employ pluralistic methods. However, the main focus of the two approaches is markedly different.

Critical information theory focuses on “questioning the conventional wisdom of prevailing schools of thought and institutional practices with a primary focus on issues related to justice and power” [20]. In applying this kind of approach to ICT we would be aiming to “discover and expose attempts to design and (mis)use IS to deceive, manipulate, exploit, dominate and disempower people” [21]. This is not the aim of the research problem presented here- while admittedly location based social networking can cause harm if misused (e.g. stalking by x-partners), it can also act to be incredibly beneficial (e.g. in a family travel holiday in a foreign country). Thus, the aim of the research is to understand the positive and negative implications of the use of location based social networking in society, not just to look at issues of justice and power.

The following section provides an overview of the key literature on the use, design, implementation, context and implications of online social networking, location based services, and location based social networking.

Section 5. Online Social Networking Sites

Current studies on online social networking sites use varied methods involving case studies, surveys, interviews and observations to investigate the use, implications, design and context of the emerging application. The literature on OSN falls into three broad areas of study: (1) purpose, motivation and patterns of use, (2) effect on interpersonal relationships, and (3) threats to privacy, trust and security.

5.1. Purpose, Motivation and Patterns of Use

These studies on online social networking outline the purpose for which OSN is used, the motivation behind an individual's use of OSN, and how users go about the adoption of OSN applications.

5.1.1. Purpose of Online Social Networking

The purpose of OSN has been identified as the public articulation of individual social connections [22], the creation of an information ground [23] or a means of satisfying “our human tendencies towards togetherness” [24]. Boyd's study on Friendster users, revealed that OSN “reshaped how groups of people verbally identify relationships and solidified the importance of creative play in social interactions” [22]. Boyd identified the value of networks, how users presented themselves on Friendster, who users connected with from exiting friends to “hook-ups” to “familiar strangers,” and it highlighted the dilemma caused by fakesters in the network.

Counts and Fisher's study explored OSN exposing the “types and usefulness of information shared in everyday life, the way the system fits into participants communication and social “ecosystem” and the ways in which the system functions as an information ground” [23]. Other than just a source of information, OSN also functions to provide “a logical extension of our human tendencies towards togetherness” [24]. Weaver and Morrison perform case studies on four social networking sites (mySpace, Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube) to explore the range of socialization that can occur revealing the core purpose of connecting to people.

5.1.2. Motivation Behind the Use of Online Social Networking

Lampe, Ellison and Steinfield have conducted two major survey studies on the use of OSN. The first study was in 2006, and the second was in 2008. The purpose of the first study was to answer the question - “Are Facebook members using the site to make new online connections, or to support already existing offline connections?” The results revealed that Facebook users are primarily interested in increasing “their awareness of those in their offline community” [25]. The second study incorporated three surveys and interviews in order to explore whether the use, perception of audience and attitudes of users of Facebook changed over time with the introduction of new features to Facebook. The results again revealed that the primary use of Facebook was to maintain existing offline connections, in order to: keep in touch with friends, learn more about existing classmates and people that users have met socially offline [26]. Both studies were conducted upon undergraduate university populations.

Joinson [27] performed a use and motivation study on a random sample of Facebook users, not limited to campus-based populations, which supported the conclusions of both Lampe, Ellison and Steinfield studies. Furthermore the study by Joinson probed further identifying seven unique uses and gratifications of online social networks, including social connection, shared identities, content, social investigation, social network surfing and status updating, and identifying that different uses and gratifications relate differentially to patterns of usage [27].

5.1.3. Patterns of Use of Online Social Networking

Other studies of use of online social networking have looked at how the information provided by social networking sites can be used to understand patterns of use. Hancock, Toma and Fenner [28]explore how people use information available on social networking sites to initiate relationships. They asked participants to befriend partners via an instant messaging conversation by using profile information readily available on Facebook. This use of asymmetric information revealed that the information helped in linking persons together, but only in 2 out of 133 scenarios did the users realize that information had been gained from their Facebook profile, instead of the real-time instant messaging conversation(s) they had had with the friend. This study highlighted the rich source of information about the self which is available online, as well as the unintended consequences of others strategically plotting to use that information for their own relational goals.

Online social networking researchers have also explored patterns of use among different groups of people and communities. Ahn and Han [29] investigated the typological characteristics of online networking services. Chapman and Lahav [30] conducted an ethnographic interview studying the cross-cultural differences in usage patterns of OSN in multiple cultures. Results from the interviews identified three dimensions of cultural difference for typical social networking behaviors: users' goals, typical pattern of self expression and common interaction behaviors. The study was limited to the interviews with participants from the United States, France, China and South Korea, and therefore requires future work to evaluate the presented results.

Other studies have explored the usage among different age groups. Arjan, Pfeil and Zaphiris [31]explored users MySpace friend networks with webcrawlers to compare teenage (13–19) networks with those of older people (60+). The findings of the study showed that teenage users had larger networks with more users of the same age than older users. Furthermore when representing themselves online teenagers use more self referencing, negative emotions and cognitive works than older people. The limitation of this study is the small sample size and limited frame of reference – that is the differences between teenagers and older people without reference to other intermediate age groups. A third study by Schrammel, Köffel and Tscheligi [32] surveyed users of various online communities to explore the different information disclosure behavior in the different types of online communities. They identified that users disclose more information in business and social contexts, with students being more freehanded with information than employed people, and females being more cautious than males. Studies relating to the use of OSN have also explored its potential application to other contexts including the workplace [33][34]; student learning [35], citizen involvement [36] and connecting women in information technology [37].

5.2. The Effect of Online Social Networking on Interpersonal Relationships

Online social networking is used in the context of being social, creating connections with users and expanding networks [38]. The implication of using OSN to create or maintain relationships has been explored by several researchers highlighting the nature of intimate online relationships and social interactions as well as the benefits and detriments of the use of OSN upon relationships. Boyd's study concentrated on intimacy and trust within the OSN site Friendster. He highlighted that intimate computing hinges upon issues surrounding trust, trust in the technology, and ultimately trust in the other users to operate by the same set or rules [39]. Dwyer [40] has presented a preliminary framework modeling how attitudes towards privacy and impression management translate into social interactions within MySpace. Other issues that have been explored in the literature include whether interaction between users, flow from the declaration of friends and whether users interact evenly or lopsidedly with friends. These questions were explored by Chun et al, in a quantitative case study of the OSN site Cyworld, reporting that there was a high degree of reciprocity among users [41].

The benefits and detriments of OSN upon interpersonal relationships have not been extensively explored. A survey of undergraduate university students conducted by Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe [42] identified that using Facebook benefits the maintenance and growth of social capital among “friends” and also improves psychological well being. However, although OSN sites reinforce peer communication, Subrahmanyam and Greenfield [43] point out that this may be at the expense of communication within the family, expressing the need for further research into the affects of OSN upon real world communications and relationships.

5.3. Implications of Use- Privacy, Trust and Security

5.3.1. Privacy

Privacy in online social networking sites has received significant attention, with researchers exploring patterns of information revelation and implications upon privacy [44], the use of OSN policies to ensure privacy [45], differences in perceptions of privacy across different OSN [46], the privacy risks presented by OSN [47], mechanisms to enhance privacy on OSN [48], user strategies to manage privacy [49], and the notion of privacy and privacy risk in OSN [50].

The work of Levin and others at Ryerson University (the Ryerson Study) provides the largest survey on usage, attitudes and perceptions of risk of online social networking sites [50]. The design of the survey incorporated quantitative questions, scenarios and short answer questions to understand the level of risk and responsibility one feels when revealing information online. This study identified that young Canadians have a unique perception of network privacy “according to which personal information is considered private as long as it is limited to their social network” [50]. A further contribution of this study, along with other privacy studies [44][46] is the implication of the use of online social networking sites upon trust.

5.3.2. Trust

There are very few studies that explore the concept of trust in online social networking. The majority of studies which do look at trust are focused upon algorithms [51] or frameworks [52] that provide users of OSN with trust ratings. Other scant studies have mentioned or examined online social networking sites in terms of their impact upon trust in relationships. Gross and Acquisti [44]have mentioned that: “trust in and within online social networks may be assigned differently and have a different meaning than in their offline counterparts…[and that] trust may decrease within an online social network”. However they did not investigate this aspect of OSN further. There are three studies which have investigated the impact of OSN upon trust. The first by Dwyer, Hiltz and Passerini [46], compares perceptions of trust and privacy between different OSN applications. The second study, conducted by Ryerson University, identifies the potential for OSN to impact upon trust, and the third study, by Gambi and Reader, is currently ongoing and aims to determine whether trust is important in online friendships and how it is developed.

Dwyer, Hiltz and Passerini [46] compared perceptions of trust and privacy concern between MySpace and Facebook. Trust was measured with the following two quantitative questions; “I feel that my personal information is protected by [social networking sites]” and “I believe most of the profiles I view on [social networking sites] are exaggerated to make the person look more appealing”. The outcome of the study was focused upon trust in the users and online social network itself, but it did not shed light upon the effect of OSN upon trust in relationships.

The Ryerson study provides some exploration into the impact of online social networking sites upon trust in relationships, by presenting scenarios where users had experienced a loss of trust with other members of the site. The participants were then asked whether they had experienced or know of someone who had experienced such a scenario. The first scenario presented a user who went out partying and photographs were taken of the occasion and displayed on Facebook, resulting in the loss of trust by the family. Sixty-four percent of respondents either experienced this scenario directly or indirectly or heard of it happening to someone else. The second scenario that focused on trust involved a comment being posted upon a user's wall, indicating that that individual had been involved in shoplifting, and that no matter what the user claimed everyone still believed that he/she was a shoplifter. In this scenario, seventy-six percent of respondents reported that they had not heard of this occurring. The Ryerson study therefore presented a glimpse into the potential effect of use of online social networking sites upon trust. Another snapshot is provided by Gambi and Reader [53] who performed an online questionnaire with online social networking users to determine whether trust was important in online friendships, and how trust is developed online. Despite the low number of studies in the area of trust and OSN, it is clear from the currency of the three studies that this is an emerging area of research.

5.3.3. Security

Studies in online social networking have explored the impact of OSN on the security of user information and identity. A recent study by Bilge, Strufe, Balzarotti and Kirda [54] identifies the ease with which a potential attacker could perform identity theft attacks upon OSN and suggests improvements in OSN security.

Section 6. Location Based Services

The focus of the literature on location based services, as with social networking, does not surround the technological aspects of design but the use and implications from a social informatics perspective. In this vein the literature reviewed identified the different contexts of use of LBS, the implications of use including trust, control, privacy and security.

6.1. Context of Use of Location Based Services

The literature identifies both current and future applications of LBS to track and monitor human subjects. These applications include employee monitoring [55], government surveillance [56], law enforcement [57], source of evidence [58], patient monitoring [59], locating family members for safety [60][61][62], locating students at school [63], identifying kidnapped victims [60], and socializing with friends [64][65]. The following section details the literature conducted on humancentric LBS in terms of their social implications.

6.2. Implications of Using Location Based Services

Michael, Fusco and Michael's research note on the ethics of LBS provides a concise summary of the literature on the socio-ethical implications of LBS available prior to 2008. The research note identifies trust, control, security and privacy [66] as the four implications of LBS. The literature pertaining to each of these implications will now be described.

6.2.1. Trust

The literature on trust and location based services has predominantly used scenarios [67], theory based discussion of workplace practices [68], and addressed consumer trust with respect to LBS [69]. To the researcher's knowledge, the investigation of trust and LBS is limited to these works.

6.2.2. Control

Dobson and Fisher provide an account of the concept of “geoslavery”, which is defined as “the practice in which one entity, the master, coercively or surreptitiously monitors and exerts control over the physical location of another individual, the slave” [70]. While Dobson and Fisher provide a theoretical account of the potential for “geoslavery” and the human rights issues which accompany it, Troshynski, Lee and Dourish examine the application of “geoslavery” upon paroled sex offenders who have been tracked using a LBS device [57].

Troshynski, Lee and Dourish's work draws upon two focus groups of parole sex offenders to explore the ways that LBS frame people's everyday experience of space. The findings from the focus groups draw out the notion of accountabilities of presence. Troshynski et al define accountabilities of presence as the notion that “[l]ocations are not merely disclosed, rather users are held accountable for their presence and absence at certain time and places” [57]. This presence need not be their actual physical location but the location that is disclosed to the observer. For instance, the parole sex offenders were “primarily concerned with understanding how their movement appear to their parole officers” [57]. This concept of being held to account is a mechanism of enforcing control.

A handful of studies have made mention of the parallel between LBS and Michel Foucault's Panopticon design for prisons [71][57][72]. The Panopticon prison was designed to be round so that the guards could observe the prisoners from the centre without the prisoners knowing whether they were being observed or not. Foucault argued “that the omni-present threat of surveillance renders the actual exercise of power (or violence) unnecessary; the mechanisms of pervasive surveillance induce discipline and docility in those who are surveilled” [57]. LBS represent a modern form of the Panopticon prison, exerting implicit control through the ability to observe.

6.2.3. Security

LBS can be used to provide security, such as law enforcement in order to make “police more efficient in the war against crime” [73] and also for border security [63]. However they can also present a threat to security [74].

6.2.4. Privacy

LBS pose a threat to privacy in the way that information is collected, stored, used and disclosed [75][74][76]. The threat to privacy is further exacerbated by the aggregation and centralization of personal information enabling location information to be combined with other personal information [77]. However while privacy is important, a hypothetical study requiring users to “imagine” the existence of a LBS, provided evidence to show that users were “not overly concerned about their privacy” [78]. Two other studies showed that in situations of emergency, individuals are more willing to forgo some of their privacy [60][79].

Section 7. Location Based Social Networking

The current literature on location based social networking explores users' willingness and motivations for disclosing location information and presents several user studies, which draw out different findings on the implications of using LBSN.

7.1. Disclosure of Location Information

Grandhi, Jones and Karam [80] conducted a survey to gauge attitudes towards disclosure of location information, and use of LBSN applications. The findings from the short survey indicated that there was a general interest in LBSN services. The majority of respondents stated that they would disclose their personal location data, that demographics and geotemporal routines did matter, and finally that social relationships are important in predicting when or with whom individuals want to share personal location data.

7.2. LBSN User Studies

7.2.1. LBSN Studies Based on Perceptions and Closed Environments

Several user studies have been conducted on location based social networking [81]. One of the earliest studies to be conducted involved a two phased study comparing perceived privacy concerns with actual privacy concerns within a closed LBS environment [82]. Barkhuus found that although users were concerned about their location privacy in general, when confronted with a closed environment the concern diminished. Another user study observed the configuration of privacy settings on a work-related location based service [83]. The study found that grouping permissions provided a convenient balance between privacy and control. Moving away solely from the concept of privacy, Consolvo and Smith [84] conducted a three phased study. First they explored whether social networking users would use location-enhanced computing, second they recorded the response of users to in-situ hypothetical requests for information, and thirdly requested participants to reflect upon phase one and two. Some of the captured results included: what participants were willing to disclose, the relationship between participant and requestor, the effect of where participants were located, the activity or mode, privacy classifications, what people want to know about another's location, and privacy and security concerns. The limitation of the research, and prior research on LBSN technologies was the hypothetical nature of the research, or that the research took place within a controlled environment. The following studies employed the use of actual or tailored LBSN.

7.2.2. Semi-Automated and Customizable LBSN Studies

Brown and Taylor [61] implemented the Whereabouts Clock, a location based service which displayed the location of family members on a clock face with four values. At any given point of time, an individual had the status of being at home, at work, at school, or elsewhere. This study revealed that LBSN within the family context could help co-ordination and communication and provide reassurance and connectedness, although it also caused some unnecessary anxiety. Privacy was found not to be an issue among family members using the Whereabouts Clock. The LBSN technology used in this study was more sophisticated than prior studies but it was rather limited in geographic granularity.

Humphreys performed a year long qualitative field study on the mobile social network known as Dodgeball which allowed users to ‘check in’ at a location and then that location was broadcasted to people on their given network. The outcomes of this study revealed patterns of use of LBSN, the creation of a “third space” by LBSN, and the resultant social molecularization caused by Dodgeball use [85]. The limitation of this study is again in the technology employed, the location information was not automated or real-time as Dodgeball required the user to consciously provide manual location updates.

Barkhuus and Brown [86] conducted a trial using Connecto, in order to investigate the emergent practices around LBSN. Connecto allowed users to tag physical locations and then the phone would automatically change the users displayed location to represent the tagged location. This provided a closer simulation of real-time automated LBSN. The outcomes of this study demonstrated that users could use Connecto to establish a repartee and were self-conscious about the location they disclosed. By publishing their location, the users were found to engage in ongoing story-telling with their friends, via a process of mutual monitoring. This act was seen as a “part of friendship relations” and added to an “ongoing relationship state.” There was also the additional expectation that users had to “have seen each others' location or else risk falling ‘out of touch’ with the group” [86].

7.2.3. Real-time LBSN Studies

Brown LBSN studies published after the 2008 calendar year use methods that take advantage of sophisticated real-time automated LBSN applications. Tsai and Kelley [87] developed the Locyoution Facebook application which was used to automatically locate user laptops using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) access points leveraging the SkyHook technology. The aim of the study was to investigate how important feedback is for managing personal privacy in ubiquitous systems. Participants were divided into two groups; one group received no information about who had requested their location while the other group was able to view their location disclosure history. The four major findings of the study were that (1) providing feedback to users makes them more comfortable about sharing location (2) feedback is a desired feature and makes users more willing to share location information, (3) time and group based rules are effective for managing privacy, and (4) peers and technical savviness have a significant impact upon use.

Vihavaninen and Oulasvirta [88] performed three field trials of Jaiku, a mobile microblogging service that automates disclosure and diffusion of location information. The focus of the field trials was on investigating the use, user response and user understanding of automation. The results of this study revealed that automation caused issues related to control, understanding, emergent practices and privacy. This study is significant as it is one of the first studies to investigate the implication of automated location disclosure upon user perceptions. The study however does not investigate the implications of the use of automated LBSN upon social relationships.

An ethnographic study by Page and Kobsa explored people's attitudes towards and adoption of Google Latitude, a real-time and automated LBSN. The focus of this study was upon “how participants perceive[d] Latitude to be conceptually situated within the ecology of social networking and communication technologies” [65], based upon technology adoption, social norms, audience management, information filtering and benefits. This study while innovative, presented preliminary results based upon 12 interviews of users and non-users of Latitude.

The user studies conducted upon LBSN have matured over time, with more recent studies employing sophisticated LBSN which provide automated real-time location disclosure. These studies provide insight into user perceptions and use of LBSN however issues of control, security or trust have been neglected, although they are becoming increasingly pertinent to both location based services and online social networking technologies. Furthermore there has been no more than a cursory investigation into the implications of using LBSN upon social relationships.

Section 8. Towards a Study Investigating the Social Implications of LBSN on Relationships

Location based social networking is an emerging and evolving technology with current applications still very much in their infancy. Previous works reflect the state of the technology in late 2008, utilizing hypothetical scenario methods or unsophisticated non-real time incarnations of LSBN. While new research has begun to utilize more sophisticated mobile software applications such as Google Latitude, a sober full-length study is absent from the literature. The need for such a study however is escalating as more and more LBSN applications proliferate, with more and more mobile Internet users being aware of the existence of LBSN and/or adopting the technology. What remains to be explored in the area of LBSN are the concepts of control, security and trust, and the effect of these emerging technologies upon social relationships.

In the months between February and May 2010, the number of fully-fledged LBSN applications more than doubled from fifty to over one hundred [89]. This is a substantial increase when one considers that in late 2009 there were about 30 functional LBSN applications, but only about 8 that people would generally say were usable, reliable, or worth using. Today, innovative developers are simply piggybacking on top of the Google platform and offering niche LBSN applications targeted at dating services, adventure sports, hobbyists, expertise and qualifications, and other demographic profiling categories. Table 2 shows a list of over 100 LBSN applications. Although this is not an exhaustive list, one can only imagine the potential for such services, and the unforeseen consequences (positive and negative) that may ensue from their widespread adoption.

TABLE 2. A List of LBSN Applications [89]

8.1. Trust and Technology

Many studies concerning trust and technology focus upon trust in technology. Trust is an important aspect of human interaction, including human interaction with technology, however that interaction is a two way event, and only minimal research has been undertaken to observe the impact of technology upon trust. Two studies have been found which focus upon the effect of technology upon trust.

Vasalou, Hopfensiz and Pitt [90] examined how trust can break down in online interactions. The ways trust can break down can occur from intentional acts but also from unintentional acts or exceptional acts. The paper titled: “In praise of forgiveness: ways for repairing trust breakdowns in one-off online interactions” also proposes methods for fairly assessing the kind of offender to determine whether the offender committed an intentional act that resulted in the trust breakdown or whether the act was unintentional or exceptional.

The second study that looked at the effect of technology on trust was conducted by Piccoli and Ives [17], and explored trust and the unintended effects of behavior control in virtual teams. This study was based upon observations of the conduct of virtual teams. The findings showed that behavior control mechanisms increase vigilance and make instances when individuals perceive team members to have failed to uphold their obligations salient [17].

8.2. Social Theory

Social informatics studies incorporate a social theory into the study of the technology. This research will incorporate the theory of trust and its importance within friendships.

8.2.1. Trust

Trust is defined as the willingness for an individual to be vulnerable where there is the presence of risk and dependence or reliance between the parities [91]. There are two important things to note about this definition of trust. First that trust is not a behavior or choice but a state of mind where the individual is willing to make themselves vulnerable. Second, that trust is not a control mechanism but a substitute for control [92], although the relationship between trust and control is more complex than this [93]. In order to understand trust more fully it is important to understand the bases upon which trust is formed and the dynamic nature of trust.

Trust is formed upon three bases (1) cognitive, (2) emotional or relational and (3) behavioral [94]. The cognitive basis of trust refers to the “evidence of trustworthiness” or “good reason” to trust. It is not that evidence or knowledge amounts to trust but that “when social actors no longer need or want any further evidence or rational reasons for their confidence in the objects' of trust” and are then able to make the cognitive “leap” into trust [94]. The emotional basis of trust refers to the emotional bond between parties which provides the interpersonal platform for trust. Finally, behavioral trust is the behavioral enactment of trust. To illustrate behavioral trust consider two individuals A and B and A trusts B with task X. If B performs task X then the trust that A has in B will be confirmed, therefore there is the behavioral enactment of trust. In the same way acting incongruently can reduce the trust. The behavioral basis of trust feeds also into the fact that trust is a dynamic concept: “ a trustor takes a risk in a trustee that leads to a positive outcome, the trustor's perceptions of the trustee are enhanced. Likewise, perceptions of the trustee will decline when trust leads to unfavorable conclusions” [92].

8.2.2. Trust and Friendship

Trust is a vitally important element of friendship. Trust secures the “stability of social relationships” [4]. Friendships are described as being “based on trust, reciprocity and equality… which is an important source of solidarity and self-esteem” [4]. And trust is described as a timelessly essential factor of friendships: “the importance of mutual commitment, loyalty and trust between friends will increase and may become an essential element of modern friendship regardless of other changes, which may be expected as the nature of social communication and contracts is transformed” [4].

Section 9. Conclusion

Online social networking technologies have already transformed the way in which people interact in the virtual space. Generally, younger people are more inclined to interact via features on online social networks than with traditional forms of online communications such as electronic mail. The ability to look up a “friends” location using a location based social network, now grants individuals even greater freedom to interact with one another in an almost omniscient manner. Not only do we now know the ‘who’ (identity) of a person, but we also know the ‘whereabouts’ (location) of a person, and from the profile data available on the online social network we also know something more about one's ‘context.’ If used appropriately these new applications have the potential to strengthen individual relationships and provide an unforeseen level of convenience between “friends”, including partners, siblings, parent-child, employer-employee relationships. However, there is also the danger that these technologies can be misused and threaten fundamental threads that society is built upon, such as trust. This literature review has attempted to establish what previous research has already been conducted in the area of LBSN, and what has yet to be done. Our future work will focus on participant realtime automated LBSN fieldwork, with a view to understanding the impact of LBSN on trust between people, and the broader social implications of this emerging technology upon society.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the funding support of the Australian Research Council (Discovery grant DP0881191): “Toward the Regulation of the Location-Based Services Industry: Influencing Australian Government Telecommunications Policy”.

Keywords

Informatics, Social network services, Space technology, Privacy, Communications technology, Information systems, Social implications of technology, Context, Surveillance, Smart phones, social networking (online), data privacy, mobile computing, social aspects of automation, information and communication technology design, social informatics, location-based social networking, mobile application, classification model, location based service, online social networking, trust, friendship, privacy, social life

Citation:  Sarah Jean Fusco, Katina Michael and M. G. Michael, "Using a social informatics framework to study the effects of location-based social networking on relationships between people: A review of literature",  2010 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), 7-9 June 2010, Wollongong, Australia, DOI: 10.1109/ISTAS.2010.5514641

 

 

The legal, social and ethical controversy of DNA samples in forensic science

The legal, social and ethical controversy of the collection and storage of fingerprint profiles and DNA samples in forensic science

Abstract

The collection and storage of fingerprint profiles and DNA samples in the field of forensic science for nonviolent crimes is highly controversial. While biometric techniques such as fingerprinting have been used in law enforcement since the early 1900s, DNA presents a more invasive and contentious technique as most sampling is of an intimate nature (e.g. buccal swab). A fingerprint is a pattern residing on the surface of the skin while a DNA sample needs to be extracted in the vast majority of cases (e.g. at times extraction even implying the breaking of the skin). This paper aims to balance the need to collect DNA samples where direct evidence is lacking in violent crimes, versus the systematic collection of DNA from citizens who have committed acts such as petty crimes. The legal, ethical and social issues surrounding the proliferation of DNA collection and storage are explored, with a view to outlining the threats that such a regime may pose to citizens in the not-to-distant future, especially persons belonging to ethnic minority groups.

SECTION 1. Introduction

The aim of this paper is to apply the science, technology and society (STS) studies approach which combines history, social study and philosophy of science to the legal history of DNA sampling and profiling in the United Kingdom since the first forensic use of DNA in a criminal court case in 1988. The paper begins by defining the application of biometrics to the field of criminal law, in particular the use of fingerprint and DNA identification techniques. It then presents the differences between fingerprints and DNA evidence and focuses on distinguishing between DNA profiles and samples, and DNA databanks and databases. Finally the paper presents the legal, ethical and social concerns of the proliferation of DNA collection and storage in particular jurisdictions prior to 2010 (e.g. United Kingdom). The paper points to the pressing need for the review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and to the procedures for DNA collection and storage in the U.K.'s National DNA Database (NDNAD) which was established in 1995. Some examples are provided of the state of play in the United States as well.

SECTION 2. Conceptual Framework

It is of no surprise that in recent years there has been a convergence between science and technology studies (STS) and law and society (L&S) studies. Some commentators, like this author believe that there is a need to define a new theoretical framework that amalgamates these increasingly converging areas. Lynch et al. [6], [p.14] write: “[w]hen law turns to science or science turns to law, we have the opportunity to examine how these two powerful systems work out their differences.” This convergence has its roots planted in legal disputes in the fields of health, safety and environmental regulation. For instance, advances in technology have challenged ones right to live or die. New innovations have the capacity to draw out traditional distinctions of regulations or they can challenge and even evade them.

In this paper we study the “DNA controversy” using the conceptual framework that can be found in Figure 1 which depicts the role of major stakeholders in the debate. In the early 1990s the “DNA Wars” [6] focused on two major problems with respect to the techno-legal accountability of DNA evidence in a court of law. The first had to do with the potential for error in the forensic laboratory, and the second had to do with the combination of genetic and statistical datasets. And it did not just have to do with legal and administrative matters, but issues that were both technical and scientific in nature. The key players included expert lawyers, scientists who actively participated in legal challenges and public policy debates, and the media who investigated and reported the controversy [6]. To put an end to the controversy would require the coming together of law, science and the public in a head-on confrontation. And that is indeed what occurred. By the late 1990s DNA had become an acceptable method of suspect identification and a great number of onlookers prematurely rushed to declare a closure to the controversy although as commentators have stated there was no moment of truth or definitive judgment that put an end to the controversy. What many did not recognize at the time however, is that the DNA controversy would return, in places like the United Kingdom, bigger and with more intensity than ever before.

Figure 1. The core set diagram: studying the DNA controversy

It is with great interest to read that closure in the DNA controversy was really visible when the NDNAD and some of the legislation and policy surrounding it facilitated talks between nations in Europe with respect to harmonization. According to Lynch et al. [6], [p.229]:

“[e]fforts were made to “harmonize” DNA profile and database standards in Europe, and other international efforts were made to coordinate forensic methods in order to track suspected “mobile” criminals and terrorists across national borders. These international efforts to implement and standardize DNA profiling contributed to closure in particular localities by demonstrating that the technique was widely used and had become a fixture of many criminal justice systems.”

While closure it may have signified to those working within an STS and L&S approach, harmonization was certainly not reached. Far from it, the U.K. who had been responsible for initial harmonization efforts, later, lost its way. What made onlookers believe that closure had fully occurred were the technical, legal and administrative fixes that had taken place. But closure in this instance did not mean the complete end to the controversy-no-what was coming was much greater disquiet in the U. K, and this period was named ‘post-closure’ by the STS and L&S commentators. Postclosure signals a period of time after closure is established, when the possibilities for issues that were once closed are reopened. In the case of the NDNAD in the U.K. it was not old issues that were reopened during postclosure, but new issues that were introduced due to so-called legal fixes. These legal fixes had social implications, so it was not until the public and the media and non-government organizations alongside self-interest groups were satisfied that change would be imminent, that postclosure seemed a real possibility. The threat to the post-closure of the DNA controversy however, is the burgeoning demand for DNA samples in fields such as epidemiology research and the recent commercialization of DNA sample collection and storage for every day citizens (e.g. DNA home kits selling for less than $100US dollars). DNA is no longer seen as just useful for forensic science or health, and this is placing incredible pressure on the advanced identification technique which is increasingly becoming commoditized.

SECTION 3. Background: What is Biometrics?

As defined by the Association for Biometrics (AFB) a biometric is “ … a measurable, unique physical characteristic or personal trait to recognize the identity, or verify the claimed identity, of an enrollee.” The physical characteristics that can be used for identification include: facial features, full face and profile, fingerprints, palmprints, footprints, hand geometry, ear (pinna) shape, retinal blood vessels, striation of the iris, surface blood vessels (e.g., in the wrist), and electrocardiac waveforms [1]. Other examples of biometric types include DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), odor, skin reflectance, thermogram, gait, keystroke, and lip motion. Biometrics have seven characteristics: they are universal in that every person should possess that given characteristic; they are unique in that no two persons should have the same pattern; they are permanent in that they do not change over time; they are collectable and quantifiable; there is performance in that the measure is accurate, it is acceptable to users; and circumventing, meaning that the system of identification theoretically cannot be duped [2]. The two most popular methods of identification today in criminal law, when direct evidence is lacking such as a first hand eyewitness account, are fingerprinting and DNA.

SECTION 4. What is Fingerprinting?

Fingerprints are classified upon a number of fingerprint characteristics or unique pattern types, which include arches, loops and whorls [3], [p.228]. If one inspects the epidermis layer of the fingertips closely, one can see that it is made up of ridge and valley structures forming a unique geometric pattern. The ridge endings are given a special name called minutiae. Identifying an individual using the relative position of minutiae and the number of ridges between minutiae is the traditional algorithm used to compare pattern matches. As fingerprints do not change from birth until death unless they are accidentally or deliberately deformed, it is argued that they can provide an absolute proof of identity. The science of fingerprint identification is called dactyloscopy [4], [p.4].

4.1. Fingerprinting as Applied to Criminal Law

Fingerprints left behind at the scene of a crime (SOC) can be used to collect physical evidence for the purposes of human identification. They have the capacity to link a person (e.g. a suspect) to a particular location at a given time. This can happen in one of two ways: (i) the suspect's fingerprints are taken and cross-matched with those fingerprints found at the scene of a crime; or (ii) a successful match is found using computer technology to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of a crime with a database of previous offenders. It should be noted that fingerprinting in criminal law is not new. Manual standards, for instance, existed since the 1920s when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the U.S. started processing fingerprint cards. These standards ensured completeness, quality and permanency.

By the early 1970s due to progress in computer processing power and storage, and the rise of new more sophisticated software applications, law enforcement began to use automatic machines to classify, store, and retrieve fingerprint data. The FBI led the way by introducing the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (IAFIS) that could scan a fingerprint image and convert the minutiae to digital information and compare it to thousands of other fingerprints [5], [p.4ll]. Today, very large computer databases containing millions of fingerprints of persons who have been arrested are used to make comparisons with prints obtained from new crime scenes. These comparisons can literally take seconds or minutes depending on the depth of the search required. Sometimes successful matches can be made, other times the fingerprints cannot be matched. When fingerprints cannot be matched it is inferred that a new offender has committed a crime. These ‘new’ prints are still stored on the database as a means to trace back crimes committed by a person committing a second offence and who is apprehended by direct evidence, thus creating a trail of criminal events linked back to the same individual with the potential to solve multiple crimes. Commonly a list of prints that come closest to matching that print found at the scene of a crime are returned for further examination by an expert who then deems which single print is the closest match. In recent years background checks are even conducted on individuals using fingerprints, as a means to gain employment such as in early childhood [4], [p.5], or during the process of adoption or other security clearance requirements.

SECTION 5. What is DNA?

DNA fingerprinting, DNA (geno)typing, DNA profiling, identity testing and identification analysis, all denote the ability to characterize one or more rare features of an individual's genome, that is, their hereditary makeup. DNA contains the blueprints that are responsible for our cells, tissues, organs, and body [4], [p.8]. In short it can be likened to “God's signature” [6], [p.259]. Every single human has a unique composition, save for identical twins who share the same genotype but have subtly different phenotypes. When DNA samples are taken from blood cells, saliva or hair bulb specimens of the same person, the structure of the DNA remains the same. Thus only one sample is required as the basis for DNA profiling, and it can come from any tissue of the body [7], [P.L]. DNA fingerprinting was discovered in 1985 by English geneticist Dr Alec Jeffreys. He found that certain regions of DNA contained sequences that repeated themselves over and over again, one after the other and that different individuals had a different number of repeated sections. He developed a technique to examine the length variation of these DNA repeat sequences, thus creating the ability to perform identification tests [8], pp.2FJ.

The smallest building block of DNA is known as the nucleotide. Each nucleotide contains a deoxyribose, a phosphate group and a base. When we are analyzing DNA structures it is the sequence of bases that is important for the purposes of identification [9], [p.ll]. There are four bases through which a genetic code is described. These are: Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C). When trying to understand DNA sequences as they might appear in written form, consider that ‘A’ only binds with ‘T’, and ‘G’ only binds with ‘C’ (see figure 2 comparing row one and two). These base pairs are repeated millions of times in every cell and it is their order of sequence that determines the characteristics of each person. It is repetitive DNA sequences that are utilized in DNA profiling [10], [p.2].

Figure 2.  A typical DNA sequence

Figure 2. A typical DNA sequence

For example, in Figure 2 the base sequences of the two strands, known as the double helix, is written for a fictitious DNA sample. While the labels “5” and “3” have been included for illustrative purposes a sequence is written plainly as CTTAGCCATAGCCTA. From this sequence we can deduce the second strand given the rules for binding described above. Furthermore, in specific applications of DNA testing various polymorphisms may be considered which denote the type of repeat for a given stretch of DNA. For instance the tetranucleotide repeat is merely a stretch of DNA where a specific four nucleotide motif is repeated [9], [P.L 0].

DNA profiling can be applied to a broad range of applications including diagnostic medicine, famil y relationship analysis (proof of paternity and inheritance cases), and animal and plant sciences [7], [p.31]. The most high profile use of DNA however is in the area of forensic science, popularized by modern day television series such as CSI Miami and Cold Case. Episodes from the series, such as “Death Pool” [11] and “Dead Air,” [12] allow members of the public to visualize how DNA might be used to gather evidence towards prosecution in a court of law. Although Hollywood is well known for its farcical and inaccurate representations, these episodes still do demonstrate the potential for DNA. DNA profiling illustrates the power to eliminate a suspect with a discrimination power so high that it can be considered a major identification mechanism [13], [P.L]. It is with no doubt that forensic DNA analysis has made a huge impact on criminal justice and the law since its inception in U.K. Courts with the 1988 investigation into the deaths of schoolgirls Lynda Mann in 1983 and Dawn Ashworth in 1986 [14]. Since that time, DNA has been used successfully in criminal law to help prove guilt or innocence [15], in family law to prove parentage, and in immigration law to prove blood relations for cases related to citizenship [4], [p.xiii].

5.1. DNA as Applied to Criminal Law

In forensic DNA analysis today, mitochondrial DNA is used for identification, as nuclear DNA does not possess the right properties toward individual identification [9], [p.5]. According to Koblinsky et al. it is the moderately repetitious DNA that is of interest to forensic analysts [4], [pp.17f]:

“It has been shown that 99.9% of human DNA is the same in every individual. In fact, every individual's DNA has a relatively small number of variations from others. It is that variation of 1 in every 1000 bases that allows us to distinguish one individual from another through forensic genetic testing.”

Similarly in the case of dactyloscopy, an individual's DNA can be left behind at a scene of a crime or on a victim. When natural fibers are transferred through human contact, for example, from a perpetrator to a victim, or natural fibers sometimes microscopic in nature are left behind at a scene of a crime, they can be used for evidentiary purposes. The DNA found in hair for example, can be compared to hair specimens taken from a crime suspect or the DNA profile stored in an existing DNA databank. Synthetic fibers not containing DNA, such as threads from a piece of clothing worn by a perpetrator, can also be used to link a suspect to a crime. When fibers are transferred from one person to another upon physical contact it is known as the Locard exchange principle [4], [p.3].

It is important to note that all physical evidence like DNA should only ever be considered circumstantial evidence. It is evidence that provides only a basis for inference about the claim being made, and can be used in logical reasoning to prove or disprove an assertion. In a criminal case, DNA alone cannot be used to prove someone's guilt or innocence. Rather DNA may be able to point investigators to ‘what happened’, ‘the order of events that took place’, ‘who was involved’, ‘where an event took place’ and ‘how it might have taken place,’ and in that manner the forensic scientist is conducting a reconstruction by means of association (table 1) [16], [P.L]. Thus the job of an investigator is to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and to gather as much information as possible and from as many available sources of evidence including eyewitness accounts, physical evidence and archival records [4], [P.L].

Table 1. A theoretical framework for the discipline of criminalistics [16], [p.2]

As more sophisticated techniques have emerged to analyze DNA samples taken at the scene of a crime, the lesser the mass of DNA that is needed for a correct reading. How much DNA do you need? Well, it all depends on the richness of the sample. For instance, a 2002 US State Police handbook noted that a clump of pulled hair contained enough material for successful RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) typing. A single hair root provided enough nuclear DNA for PCR STR (polymerase chain reaction short tandem repeat) typing, but not enough for RFLP. And a hair shaft contained sufficient mitochondria for successful mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) typing, but was inadequate for PCR STR or RFLP typing [16], [p.61]. A blood, saliva, urine, bone, teeth, skin or semen sample could be considered a richer sample than a hair root for extraction purposes, but DNA analysis is all very much dependent on the level of degradation the sample has been exposed to.

Environmental factors can be harmful to DNA that has been collected from a scene of a crime and can lead to issues relating to deterioration, destruction, or contamination of evidence which are all contestable issues a lawyer may have to deal with in a court of law [4], [p.xiii]. For instance, heat, moisture, bacteria, ultraviolet (UV) rays and common chemicals can contribute to the degradation process [9], [p.61]. When a sample undergoes some level of degradation, it is said to have had infringed upon the chain of custody. To get around such problems, experts have proposed bringing the laboratory closer to policing practice. The concept of “lab in a van” or “lab on a chip” (LOC) proposes the use of a mobile laboratory where analysis and interpretation of evidence is even possible at the scene of a crime [6], [p.153]. The advancements in mobile technologies continue to allow for even very tiny biological substances to undergo DNA testing resulting in accurate identification. Even a cigarette butt which has saliva on it containing epithelial cells can be screened for DNA evidence [4], [p.6].

SECTION 6. Comparing DNA and Fingerprinting

To begin with, traditional fingerprinting classification techniques have been around a lot longer than DNA identification, although both fingerprinting and DNA have been part of the human body since the start of time. In its manual form, the Galton-Henry system of fingerprint classification first made its impact on the practices of Scotland Yard in 1901. So whereas fingerprint recognition can happen using manual methods, DNA testing can only happen using laboratory systems, even if analysis now takes the form of a mobile lab on a chip. DNA is also a pervasive and invasive biometric technique. That is DNA is owned by everyone, and DNA actually belongs to the internals of what makes up the body. For a DNA reading, a hair shaft has been detached from the scalp, teeth and skin and bones have to be ‘dismembered’ from the body, blood and urine and saliva is extracted from the body [17], [p.374].

In most states, the police can take non-intimate samples if a person has been arrested for a serious recordable offence, and in other states DNA can be taken for offences such as begging, being drunk and disorderly, and taking part in an illegal demonstration. In the U.K. for instance, DNA does not have to be directly relevant to investigating the offence for which a person is being arrested and they do not have to be charged before the sample is taken. The police are not allowed to take more than one successful sample from the same body part during the course of an investigation. The police can take an intimate sample only with a person's written consent even if they have been arrested. However, there is a burgeoning debate at present about what actually constitutes consent during such a process-is it true consent, or merely compliance or acknowledgment of required police procedures by the individual under arrest.

Fingerprints are different in that while belonging to the body, they are a feature on the surface of the body, and they do not constitute mass. Fingerprints are patterns that appear on the skin, but they are not the fiber we know as skin. Fingerprints also exclude a small portion of the population-those who do not have particular fingers, or hands, or arms, or may have fingers that have been severely deformed due to accidental or deliberate damage. Despite these differences, the claim is made by scientists that forensic DNA testing has emerged as an accurate measure of someone's identification with reliability equal to that of fingerprint recognition [4], [p.5].

6.1. Intimate and Non-Intimate Measures: Other Biometrics Versus DNA Sampling

6.1.1. The United States and Other Biometrics

The notion of “intimacy” is very much linked to literature on DNA, and not of biometrics in general. Although historically there has been some contention that a fingerprint sample is both “intimate” and “private”, the proliferation of fingerprint, handprint, and facial recognition systems now used for government and commercial applications, has rendered this debate somewhat redundant. This is not to say that the storage of personal attributes is not without its own commensurate risks but large-scale applications enforced by such acts as the United States Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 mean that fingerprint, hand and facial recognition systems have now become commonplace. In fact, this trend promises to continue through multimodal biometrics, the adoption of several biometrics toward individual authentication. Few travelers, at the time of transit, directly challenge the right of authorities to be taking such personal details, and to be storing them on large databases in the name of national security. However sentiment, at least in North America, was different prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers [18].

In 1997 biometrics were touted a type of personal data which was wholly owned by the individual bearer with statutory implications depending on the governing jurisdiction [19]. It followed that a mandatory requirement by a government agency to collect and store fingerprint data may have been in breach of an individual's legitimate right to privacy. In the U.S., court cases on this issue have found consistently that certain biometrics do not violate federal laws like the Fourth Amendment. It seems that the [20]:

“ … real test for constitutionality of biometrics … appears to be based on the degree of physical intrusiveness of the biometric procedure. Those that do not break the skin are probably not searches, while those that do are”.

In the context of DNA we can almost certainly claim that there is “physical intrusiveness” of a different nature to the collection of surface-level fingerprints (figure 2). In the collection of blood samples we must “break” or “pierce” the skin, in the collection of saliva samples we enter the mouth and touch the inner lining of the mouth with buccal swabs, in the removal of a hair or clump of hair we are “pulling” the hair out of a shaft etc. And it is here, in these examples, where consent and policing powers and authority become of greatest relevance and significance.

Figure 2. Left: finger “prints” on the surface of the skin. right: DNA blood “sample” taken by pricking the skin

6.1.2. Britain and DNA

In the world of DNA, there is a simple classification, followed by most law enforcement agencies that denote samples as either being of an “intimate” nature or “non-intimate” nature. In the British provisions of the original Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 (PACE), section 65 defines intimate samples as: “a sample of blood, semen or any other tissue fluid, urine, saliva or pubic hair, or a swab taken from a person's body orifice” and non-intimate samples as “hair other than pubic hair; a sample taken from a nail or from under a nail; a swab taken from any part of a person's body other than a body orifice” [21], [p.80]. Generally, it must be noted that at times police can take a sample by force but on other occasions they require consent. In Britain, prior to 2001, intimate samples from a person in custody were once only obtainable through the express authority of a police officer at the rank of superintendent and only with the written permission of the person who had been detained (section 62) [21]. Non-intimate samples could be taken from an individual without consent but with permission from a police officer of superintendent rank (section 63). In both instances, there had to be reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person from whom the sample would be taken had been involved in a serious offence [21]. And above reasonable grounds, there had to be, theoreticall y at least, the potential to confirm or disprove the suspect's involvement through obtaining a DNA sample [22], [p.29]. Over time Acts such as the PACE have been watered down leading to controversial strategic choices in law enforcement practices, such as the trend towards growing national DNA databases at a rapid rate.

6.2. Continuity of Evidence

Table 2. Ways to mitigate the effect of DNA evidence

Policing and forensic investigative work, are no different to any other “system” of practice; they require to maintain sophisticated audit trails, even beyond those of corporate organizations, to ensure that a miscarriage of justice does not take place. However, fingerprints are much easier attributes to prove a continuity of evidence than DNA which is much more complex. A fingerprint found at a crime scene, does not undergo the same type of degradation as a DNA sample. Thus it is much easier to claim a fingerprint match in a court of law, than a DNA closeness match. Providing physical evidence in the form of a DNA sample or profile requires the litigator to prove that the sample was handled with the utmost of care throughout the whole chain of custody and followed a particular set of standard procedures for the collection, transportation, and handling of the material. The proof that these procedures were followed can be found in a series of paper trails which track the movements of samples [6], [p.114].

Beyond the actual location of the evidence, a continuity of evidence has to do with how a DNA sample is stored and handled, information related to temperature of the place where the sample was found and the temperature at the place of storage, whether surrounding samples to that being analyzed were contaminated, how samples are identified and qualified using techniques such as barcode labels or tags, how samples were tested and under what conditions, and how frequently samples were accessed and by whom and for what purposes [4], [p.43]. When DNA forensic testing was in its infancy, knowledgeable lawyers would contest the DNA evidence in court by pointing to micro-level practices of particular laboratories that had been tasked with the analytical process. The first time that attention had been focused on the need to standardize procedures and to develop accreditation processes for laboratories and for personnel was in the 1989 case People v Castro 545 N.Y.S.2d 985 (Sup. Ct. 1989). When DNA testing began it was a very unregulated field, with one commentator famously noting that: “clinical laboratories [were required to] meet higher standards to be allowed to diagnose strep throat than forensic labs [were required to] meet to put a defendant on death row” [9], [p.55]. But it must be said, given the advancement in quality procedures, attacks on DNA evidence, rarely focus on the actual standards, and more so focus on whether or not standards were followed appropriately [9], [p.61].

In the event that a defense lawyer attempts to lodge an attack on the DNA evidence being presented in a court of law, they will almost always claim human error with respect to the procedures not being followed in accordance to industry standards. Human error cannot be eradicated from any system, and no matter how small a chance, there is always the possibility that a sample has been wrongly labeled or contaminated with other external agents [9]. Worse still is the potential for a forensic expert to provide erroneous or misleading results, whether by a lack of experience, a miscalculation on statistical probabilities or deliberate perjury. The latter is complex to prove in court. Some have explained away these human errors toward wrongful conviction as a result of undue political pressure placed on lab directors and subsequently analysts for a timely response to a violent crime [16], [p.157]. As Michaelis et al. note [9], [p.69]:

“[i]n far too many cases, the directors of government agencies such as forensic testing laboratories are subjected to pressure from politicians and government officials to produce results that are politically expedient, sometimes at the expense of quality assurance … Laboratory directors are too often pressured to produce results quickly, or to produce results that will lead to a conviction, rather than allowed to take the time required to ensure quality results.”

Thus attacks on DNA evidence can be made by attacking the chain of custody among other strategies shown in Table 2.

SECTION 7. The Difference Between Databases and Databanks

7.1. Of Profiles and Samples

In almost any biometric system, there are four steps that are required towards matching one biometric with another. First, data is acquired from the subject, usually in the form of an image (e.g. fingerprint or iris). Second, the transmission channel which acts as the link between the primary components will transfer the data to the signal processor. Third, the processor takes the raw biometric image and begins the process of coding the biometric by segmentation which results in a feature extraction and a quality score. The matching algorithm attempts to find a record that is identical resulting in a match score. Finally, a decision is made based on the resultant scores, and an acceptance or rejection is determined [23]. At the computer level, a biometric image is translated into a string of bits, that is, a series of one's and zero's. Thus a fingerprint is coded into a numeric value, and these values are compared in the matching algorithm against other existing values. So simply put, the input value is the actual fingerprint image, and the output value is a coded value. This coded value is unique in that it can determine an individual profile.

With respect to the extraction of a DNA sample the process is much more complex, as is its evaluation and interpretation. A DNA sample differs from a fingerprint image. A sample is a piece of the body or something coming forth or out from the body, while in the case of fingerprints, an image is an outward bodily aspect. When a DNA sample undergoes processing, it is also coded into a unique value of As, Ts, Gs and Cs. This value is referred to as a DNA profile. Storing DNA profiles in a computer software program is considered a different practice to storing the actual feature rich DNA sample in a DNA store. Some members of the community have volunteered DNA samples using commercial DNA test kits such as “DNA Exam” by the BioSynthesis Corporation [24]. For example, the DNA Diagnostics Center [25] states that one may:

“ … elect to take advantage of [the] DNA banking service without any additional charge if [one] orders a DNA profile [and that the company] will store a sample of the tested individual's DNA in a safe, secure facility for 15 years-in case the DNA sample is ever needed for additional testing”.

The controversy over storing “samples” by force in the crime arena has to do with the potential for DNA to generate information such as a person's predisposition to disease or other characteristics that a person might consider confidential. It is the application of new algorithms or extraction/evaluation/ interpretation techniques to an existing sample that is of greatest concern to civil liberties advocates. Profiles are usually unique combinations of 16 markers [26], they can only be used to match, and cannot be used toward further fact finding discoveries although some believe that you might be able to draw conclusions from profiles in the future. In a given population, there are several different alleles for any single marker and some of these may appear more frequently than others. The best markers are those with the greatest number of different alleles and an even distribution of allele frequencies [9], [p.19].

7.2. Of Databases and Databanks

Although textbooks would have us believe that there is a clear-cut distinction about what constitutes a database as opposed to a databank, in actual fact the terms are used interchangeably in most generalist computing literature. Most dictionaries for example will define the term database without an entry for databank. A database is a file of information assembled in an orderly manner by a program designed to record and manipulate data and that can be queried using specific criteria. Commercial enterprise grade database products include Oracle and Microsoft Access. The International Standards Organization however, does define a databank as being “a set of data related to a given subject and organized in such a way that it can be consulted by users” [27]. This distinction is still quite subtle but we can extrapolate from these definitions that databases are generic information stores, while databanks are specific to a subject [28].

In the study of DNA with respect to criminal law, the distinction between databases and databanks is a lot more crystallized, although readers are still bound to be confused by some contradictory statements made by some authors. Still, in most cases, a databank is used to investigate crimes and to identify suspects, and a database is used to estimate the rarity of a particular DNA profile in the larger population [9], [p.99]. Databanks contain richer personal information related to samples, even if the identity of the person is unknown. For example, the databank can contain unique profiles of suspects and convicted criminals and content about physical crime stains and records of DNA profiles generated by specific probes at specific loci [10], [p.40]. Databases are much more generic than databanks containing information that is representative of the whole populace or a segment of the populace. For example, a database can contain statistical information relating to the population frequencies of various DNA markers generated from random samples for particular ethnic groups or for the whole population at large. Databanks may contain rich personal data about offenders and cases [16], [pp.157f] but databases only contain minimal information such as the DNA profile, ethnic background and gender of the corresponding individuals.

Table 3. The NDNAD database attributes [30]

The premise of the DNA databank is that DNA profile data of known offenders can be searched in an attempt to solve crimes, known as ‘cold cases’. They are valuable in that they can help investigators string a series of crimes together that would otherwise go unrelated, allowing for the investigator to go across space and time after all other avenues have been exhausted [9, p.99]. With respect to violent crimes, we know that offenders are highly prone to re-offending and we also know that violent crimes often provide rich DNA sample sources such as bones, blood, or semen. Thus DNA left at the scene of a crime can be used to search against a DNA databank in the hope of a “close” match [16], [p.157]. The probative value of the DNA evidence is greater the rarer the DNA profile in the larger population set [9], [p.19].

Different jurisdictions have different standards on the criteria for inclusion into DNA databanks and what attribute information is stored in individual records and who has access. In the United States for instance, different states have different rules, some allowing for DNA databanks to be accessed by law enforcement agencies alone, and others allowing for public officials to have access for purposes outside law enforcement [9], [p.100]. In the U.S. the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) system was launched in 1998–99 by the FBI. It contains two searchable databases, one with previous offenders and another with DNA profiles gathered from evidence at crime scenes [9], [p.16]. In the case of the U.K., the National DNA Database (NDNAD) of Britain, Wales and Northern Ireland, contains very detailed information for each criminal justice (CJ) record (see table 3) and profiles are searched against each other on a daily basis with close hit results forwarded on to the appropriate police personnel. It is quite ironic that the 1995 NDNAD is a databank but is so large that it is considered a database by most, as is also evident by the fact that the word “database” also appears in the NDNAD acronym [29], [p.2].

SECTION 8. Legal, Ethical and Social Concerns

The collection, storage, and use of DNA samples, profiles and fingerprints raise a number of legal, ethical and social concerns. While some of the concerns for the collection and storage of an individual's fingerprints by the State have dissipated over the last decade, the debate over the storage of DNA samples and profiles rages more than ever before. It was around the turn of the century when a number of social, ethical and legal issues were raised with respect to DNA sampling but councils and institutes through lack of knowledge or expertise could hardly offer anything in terms of a possible solution or way forward to the DNA controversy [31], [p.34]. At the heart of the techno-legal “controversy” is a clash of ideals coming from a collision of disciplines. For many medical practitioners working on topics related to consent or confidentiality, the legal position on DNA is one which acts as a barrier to important medical research. While few would dispute the importance of data protection laws and the ethical reasons behind balancing the right to privacy against other rights and interests, some in the medical field believe that the law has not been able to deal with exceptions where the use of DNA data could be considered proportionate, for instance, in the area of epidemiology. There are those like Iverson who argue that consent requirements could be relaxed for the sake of the common good.

“We are not arguing that epidemiological research should always proceed without consent. But it should be allowed to do so when the privacy interference is proportionate. Regulators and researchers need to improve their ability to recognize these situations. Our data indicate a propensity to over-predict participants' distress and under-predict the problems of using proxies in place of researchers. Rectifying these points would be a big step in the right direction” [32], [p.169].

Thinking in this utilitarian way, the use of DNA evidence for criminal cases, especially violent crimes, is something that most people would agree is a legitimate use of technology and within the confines of the law. The application of DNA to assist in civil cases, again, would seem appropriate where family and state-to-citizen disputes can only be settled by the provision of genetic evidence. Volunteering DNA samples to appropriate organizations and institutions is also something that an individual has the freedom to do, despite the fact that a large portion of the population would not participate in a systematic collection of such personal details. Voluntary donation of a DNA sample usually happens for one of three reasons: (i) to assist practitioners in the field of medical research; (ii) to assist in DNA cross-matching exercises with respect to criminal cases; and (iii) to aid an individual in the potential need they may have of requiring to use their own DNA in future uses with any number of potential possibilities. For as Carole McCartney reminds us:

“[f]orensic DNA technology has multiple uses in the fight against crime, and ongoing research looks to expand its usefulness further in the future. While the typical application of DNA technology in criminal investigations is most often unproblematic, there needs to be continued vigilance over the direction and implications of research and future uses” [33], [p.189].

Table 4. Legal, ethical and social issues related to use of DNA in criminal law

It is in this parallel development that we can see an evolution of sorts occurring with the collection of highly intimate personal information. On the one hand we have the law, on the other hand we have medical discovery, both on parallel trajectories that will have overflow impact effects on one other. For many, the appropriate use of DNA in the medical research field and criminal law field can only have positive benefits for the community at large. There is no denying this to be the case. However, the real risks cannot be overlooked. Supplementary industries can see the application of DNA in a plethora of programs, including the medical insurance of ‘at risk’ claimants to an unforeseen level of precision, measuring an individual's predisposition to a particular behavioral characteristic for employment purposes [34], [p.897], and the ability to tinker with the genes of unborn children to ensure the “right” type of citizens are born into the world. All of these might sound like the stuff of science fiction but they are all areas under current exploration.

For now, we have the ability to identify issues that have quickly escalated in importance in the DNA debate. For this we have several high profile cases in Europe to thank but especially the latest case which was heard in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the 4 December 2008, that being S and Marper v. the United Kingdom [35]. This landmark case, against all odds, acted to make the U.K. (and to some extent the rest of the world) stop and think about the course it had taken. For the U.K. this meant a re-evaluation of its path forward via a community consultation process regarding the decade old initiatives of the NDNAD. The main issues that the case brought to the fore, and those of its predecessor cases, can be found in summary in Table 4. The table should be read from left to right, one row at a time. The left column indicates what most authors studying the socio-ethical issues regard as an acceptable use of DNA, and the right column indicates what most authors regard as either debatable or unacceptable use of DNA.

Of greatest concern to most civil libertarians is the issue of proportionality and the potential for a disproportionate number of profiles to be gathered relative to other state practices towards a blanket coverage databank. Blanket coverage databanks can be achieved by sampling a populace, a census approach is not required. Maintaining DNA profiles for some 15–20% of the total population, means you could conduct familial searching on the rest to make associations between persons with a high degree of accuracy [4], [p.274], something that would be possible in the U.K. by 2018 if it maintained the same level of sampling due process. This is not without its dangers, as it promotes adventitious searching and close matches that might not categorically infer someone's guilt or Innocence.

Table 5. Social, ethical and legal issues pertaining to DNA databanks identified by national institute of justice in the united states in 2000 [31, pp. 35f].

In addition, the large databanks are not without their bias. Already police records are filled with the presence of minority groups of particular ethnic origin for instance, which can have an impact on the probability of a close match despite someone's innocence. Being on the database means that there is a chance a result might list you as a suspect based on having a similar DNA profile to someone else. And ultimately, the fact that innocent people would have their profiles stored on the NDNAD would do little in the way of preventing crime, and would lead before too long, to a de facto sampling of all state citizens.

The driving force behind such a campaign could only be achieved by obtaining DNA samples from persons (including innocent people or ‘innocents’), either via some event triggering contact between an individual and the police or via an avenue at birth [10], [p.40]. Police powers have increased since world wide terrorist attacks post 2000 especially, and this has led to a tradeoff with an individual's right to privacy [36], [p.14]. Notions of consenting to provide a DNA sample to law enforcement personnel have been challenged whereby the use of force has been applied. And not consenting to a sample being taken, even if you are innocent has its own implications and can be equally incriminating. So legislative changes have encroached on individual rights; whereby a warrant was once required to take a DNA sample from a suspect's body based on reasonable grounds, today it is questionable if this caveat actually exists.

Beyond the obvious downsides of retaining the DNA profile or sample of innocent people who are in actual fact law abiding citizens, there is the potential for persons to feel aggravated because they have not been let alone to go about their private business. Innocent persons who are treated like criminals may end up losing their trust in law enforcement agencies. This problem is not too small of a social issue, given that there are about 1 million innocent people on the NDNAD in the U.K. And in this context, it is not difficult to see how some individuals or groups of individuals might grow to possess an anti-police or antigovernment sentiment, feeling in some way that they have been wronged or singled out. In some of these ‘mistaken identity’ situations, surely it would have been better to prove someone’ s innocence by using other available evidence such as closed circuit television (CCTV), without the need to take an intimate DNA sample first. Despite these problems, it seems anyone coming under police suspicion in the U.K. will have their DNA taken anyway [33], [p.175].Of a most sensitive nature is the collection of DNA samples for an indefinite period of time [4], [p. 7]. In most countries, samples are taken and DNA profiles are determined and stored in computer databases, and subsequently samples are destroyed. The long-term storage of DNA samples for those who have committed petty crimes and not violent crimes raises the question of motivation for such storage by government authorities [4]. There are critics who believe that the retention of samples is “an unjustifiable infringement on an individual's privacy” [33], [p.189].

There is much that has changed with respect to social, ethical and legal issues since 2000, both in the United States and the United Kingdom since its publication. But the table still provides a historical insight into the growing list of issues that were identified at the turn of the century.

Equally alarming is the storage of samples of innocents and also of those who are minors. Even more disturbing is the storage of samples with which no personal details have been associated. DNA databanks are not different to other databanks kept by the state-they can be lost, they can be accessed by unauthorized persons, and results can be misrepresented either accidentally or deliberately [33], [p.188]. The stakes however are much higher in the case of DNA than in fingerprinting or other application areas because the information contained in a DNA sample or profile is much richer in potential use. All of this raises issues pertaining to how changes in the law affect society, and how ethics might be understood within a human rights context.

SECTION 9. Conclusion

The legal, social and ethical issues surrounding the collection, use and storage of DNA profiles and samples is probably more evident today than at any other time in history. On the one hand we have the necessity to advance technology and to use it in situations in which it is advantageous to the whole community, on the other hand this same technology can impinge on the rights of individuals (if we let it), through sweeping changes to legislation. Whether we are discussing the need for DNA evidence in criminal law, civil law, epidemiological research or other general use, consent should be the core focus of any and every collection instance. Unlimited retention of DNA samples collected from those arrested but not charged is another issue where legislative reforms need to be taken in a number of European jurisdictions, although this trend seems to be gathering momentum now more so outside Europe. Another issue is the redefinition of what constitutes an intimate or non-intimate sample, and here, especially most clearly we have a problem in a plethora of jurisdictions with regards to the watering down of what DNA procedures are considered invasive as opposed to non-invasive with respect to the human body. The bottom line is that we can still convict criminals who have committed serious recordable offences, without needing to take the DNA sample of persons committing petty crimes, despite that statistics allege links between those persons committing serious and petty offences. So long as a profile is in a database, it can be searched, and the problem with this is that so-called ‘matches’ (adventitious in nature) can be as much ‘incorrect’ as they are ‘correct’. And this possibility alone has serious implications for human rights. The time to debate and discuss these matters is now, before the potential for widespread usage of DNA becomes commonplace for general societal applications.

SECTION 10. Afterword

Although members of society should not expect to learn of a black market for DNA profiles just yet, it is merely a matter of time before the proliferation and use of such profiles means they become more attracti ve to members of illicit networks. There is now overwhelming evidence to show that identity theft worldwide is on the rise (although estimates vary depending on the study and state). The systematic manipulation of identification numbers, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and even driver's license numbers for misuse is now well documented. Victims of identity theft know too well the pains of having to prove who they are to government agencies and financial institutions, and providing adequate evidence that they should not be held liable for information and monetary transactions they did not commit. Today's type of identity theft has its limitations however-stealing a number is unlike stealing somebody's godly signature. While credit card numbers can be replaced, one's DNA or fingerprints cannot. This resonates with the well-known response of Sir Thomas More to Norfolk in A Man for All Seasons: “you might as well advise a man to change the color of his eyes [another type of biometric]”, knowing all too well that this was impossible. While some have proclaimed the end of the DNA controversy, at least from a quality assurance and scientific standpoint, the real controversy is perhaps just beginning.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author would like to acknowledge Associate Professor Clive Harfield of the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention in the Faculty of Law at the University of Wollongong for his mentorship in the areas of U.K. law and policing in 2009. The author also wishes to extend her sincere thanks to Mr Peter Mahy, Partner at Howells LLC and the lawyer who represented S & Marper in front of the Grand Chamber at the European Court of Human Rights, for his willingness to share his knowledge on the NDNAD controversy via a primary interview.

References

1. J. R. Parks, P. L. Hawkes, "Automated personal identification methods for use with smart cards" in Integrated Circuit Cards Tags and Tokens: new technology and applications, Oxford: BSP Professional Books, pp. 92-135, 1990.

2. A. K. Jain, L. Hong, S. Pankati, R. Bolle, "An identity-authentication system using fingerprints", Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 85, pp. 1365-1387, 1997.

3. J. Cohen, Automatic Identification and Data Collection Systems, London:McGraw-Hill Book Company, pp. 228, 1994.

4. L. Koblinsky, T. F. Liotti, J. Oeser-Sweat, "DNA: Forensic and Legal Applications" in , New Jersey:Wiley, 2005.

5. P. T. Higgins, "Standards for the electronic submission of fingerprint cards to the FBI", Journal of Forensic Identification, vol. 45, pp. 409-418, 1995.

6. M. Lynch, S. A. Cole, R. McNally, K. Jordan, Truth Machine: the Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting, Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

7. L. T. Kirby, DNA Fingerprinting: An Introduction, New York:Stockton Press, 1990.

8. J. M. Butler, Forensic DNA Typing: Biology Technology and Genetic of STR Markers, Amsterdam:Elsevier Academic Press, pp. 2, 2005.

9. R. C. Michaelis, R. G. Flanders, P. H. Wulff, A Litigator's Guide to DNA: from the Laboratory to the Courtroom, Amsterdam:Elsevier, 2008.

10. C. A. Price, DNA Evidence: How Reliable Is It? An Analysis of Issues Which May Affect the Validity and Reliability of DNA Evidence, Legal Research Foundation, vol. 38, 1994.

11. A. Donahue, E. Devine, S. Hill, "Death Pool (Season 5 Episode 3)", CSI Miami, 2006.

12. J. Haynes, S. Hill, "Dead Air (Season 4 Episode 21)", CSI Miami, 2006.

13. B. Selinger, J. Vernon, B. Selinger, "The Scientific Basis of DNA Technology" in DNA and Criminal Justice, Canberra:, vol. 2, 1989.

14Man jailed in first DNA case wins murder appeal, May 2009, [online] Available: http://uk.reuters.comlarticle/idUKTRE54D3cc20090514?pageNumber=1&virtuaIBrandChannel=O.

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17. A. Roberts, N. Taylor, "Privacy and the DNA Database", European Human Rights Law Review, vol. 4, pp. 374, 2005.

18. K. Michael, M. G. Michael, Automatic Identification and Location Based Services: from Bar Codes to Chip Implants:, 2009.

19. R. Van Kralingen, C. Prins, J. Grijpink, Using your body as a key; legal aspects of biometrics, 1997, [online] Available: http://cwis.kub.nll~frw/people/kraling/contentlbiomet.htm.

20. S. O'Connor, "Collected tagged and archived: legal issues in the burgeoning use of biometrics for personal identification", Stanford Technology Law Review, 1998, [online] Available: http://www.jus.unitn.it/USERS/pascuzzi/privcomp99-00/topics/6/firma/connor.txt.

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36. J. Kearney, P. Gunn, "Meet the Experts-Part III DNA Profiling", pp. 14, 1991.

Keywords

Law, Legal factors, Fingerprint recognition, DNA, Forensics, Biometrics, Sampling methods, Skin, Sociotechnical systems, History, Controlled Indexing
social sciences, criminal law, ethical aspects, fingerprint identification, forensic science, social issue, fingerprint profile collection, fingerprint profile storage, DNA sample, forensic science, nonviolent crime, biometric technique, buccal swab, legal issue, ethical issue

Citation: Katina Michael, "The legal, social and ethical controversy of the collection and storage of fingerprint profiles and DNA samples in forensic science", 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), 7-9 June 2010, Wollongong, Australia

Legal Ramifications of Microchipping People in the United States of America

Abstract

The ability to microchip people for unique positive identification, and for tracking and monitoring applications is becoming increasingly scrutinized by the legal profession, civil libertarians, politicians in positions of power, human rights advocates, and last but not least, citizens across jurisdictions. The United States is among the few nations internationally, that have moved to enact state-level legislation, regarding the microchipping of people in a variety of contexts. This paper provides an overview of nine state laws/bills in the United States of America that have either enacted anti-chipping legislation or have recently proposed bills regarding the enforced chipping of persons. The aim of the paper is to highlight excerpts of legislation, to identify relevant stakeholders the legislation is directed toward and to briefly describe how it may affect their chipping practices. As a final outcome, the paper seeks to broadly compare state legislation, identifying differences in penalties and fines, and to show the complexity of this kind of approach to protecting the rights of citizens against unscrupulous uses of advanced information technologies.

Section 1.

Introduction

The capability to implant people with microchips has its roots in the field of medicine as far back as the innovation of pacemakers in the late 1950s [1][2]. Embedded chip-on-a-card technology, that could identify the cardholder, commonly known as smart cards or integrated circuit cards, was patented and prototyped for the first time in France by Roland Moreno in 1974 [3]. But it was not until 1998, that official reports of the first demonstrated microchip implantation in a human for identification and tracking purposes was achieved by Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading in the Cyborg 1.0 experiment [4]. While United States patents date back to the 1970s, regarding apparatus allowing subcutaneous implants, such as guns for dispensing “pellets” comprising a case with a hollow needle attached to it [5], it was not until later that patents pertaining to medical devices stipulated a unique identification mechanism allowing for the collection of individual patient diagnostic data.

In 1987, beyond unique ID, a location tracking device was patented by a plastic surgeon Dr Daniel Man [6], residing in Florida in the United States. The abstract description of the patent reads: “[a] new apparatus for location and monitoring of humans has been developed. The device employs a unique programmable signal generator and detection system to locate and monitor the movement of individuals. It additionally utilizes a physiological monitoring system to signal a warning for the necessity for immediate help. The device is small enough to be implanted in young children as well as adults. The power supply and signal generator are designed to function at a low duty cycle for prolonged periods before recharging” [7].

Section 2.

Advancements in Implantable Technology and the Law

The challenges brought about by implantable technology, outside the biomedical arena, were for the greater part ignored until the mid-1990s. Few could debate against the obvious benefits brought about by the advancement of medical-related technologies to patients suffering from curable diseases or illnesses, and the lifestyle enhancements they promised and delivered, especially in the area of prosthesis. Even today, few could argue that implants for genuine therapeutic purposes pose any real danger to society at large if applied correctly; in fact they act to prolong life and aid sufferers to go about living as normal life as possible.

We can point to medical breakthroughs, such as those by Alfred Mann, that are likely to help hundreds of thousands of people in the future, to better cope with the treatments of diabetes, cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases via automated drug delivery technologies [8]. Implantable technologies have already helped the deaf hear, and are likely to help the blind see, and to correct functional neural deficits using electrostimulation techniques and much more. The promise of nanotechnology, has brought with it the prospect of implantable treatments for Parkinson's Disease, epilepsy, Tourette's syndrome (which is now beyond the experimental stage), and even obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Responsible, well-tested, and regulated applications of nanotechnology within the biomedical domain can only have positive impacts on the individual who is a recipient of an implant [9]. But in today's commercial context, even biomedical technologies can serve dual purposes, opening up a number of critical moral questions [10] regarding who is actually in control [11] and at what cost [12]. For as Mark N. Gasson writes regarding information and communication technology (ICT) implantable devices, “[a] number of wider moral, ethical and legal issues stem from enhancement applications and it is difficult to foresee the social consequences, the fundamental changes on our very conception of self and the impact on our identity of adoption long term. As a result, it is necessary to acknowledge the possibilities and is timely to have debate to address the wider implications these possibilities may bring” [13].

It is the “legal issues” pertaining to ICT implants which have been addressed only by a few researchers and their respective groups. As there are now several commercial organizations marketing a variety of applications using ICT implants for IDentification and location tracking purposes, some states in the USA have acted as ‘first movers’ to quell citizen concerns over the potential for enforced chipping, and to safeguard the individual's human rights. Of course, this is all set against a backdrop at a national level concerned about national security, and consecutive governments that have introduced widespread radio-frequency identification (RFID) and tracking and monitoring capabilities in passports, driver's licenses, toll-ways etc.

Section 3.

Seminal Works

Of the scant research that has been written addressing legal dilemmas of ICT implants, two can be considered landmark and representative of the literature. Elaine M. Ramesh, from the Franklin Pierce Law School wrote in anticipation of human microchip implants and offered initial insights on the legal implications even before Warwick's Cyborg 1.0 experiment [14]. Almost a decade later, a second paper by William A. Herbert, member of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, wrote a paper addressing the legal issues related to advanced technologies like Global Positioning Systems (GPS), biometrics, and RFID implants [15]. To date, this article serves to be the most complete on the topic at large.

Ramesh uses a qualitative approach and discusses the rights that may be infringed by humancentric microchip implants in the areas of common law, constitutional rights, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and property rights. The scenarios and results with cases relating to the above laws provided by Ramesh were limited to the point that commercial diffusion of RFID implants only occurred in 2003, with pre-registration beginning in 2002 [16]. Ramesh explains that the human body is not generally accepted as “property” which is her rationale behind the gap in the legal system. If property ownership of one's body could be confirmed, (that is we can claim ownership of one's body and do what we will with it) then property law would apply as protection giving an individual the right to refuse of implantation of the microchip without any consequences as the individuals body is his or her ‘owned property’ (Ramesh, 1997). However this same legislation would bring with it a mine-field of other problems to do with ownership and the rights associated with “selling” one's body or individual body parts.

After the events of September 11, 2001 and the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, Herbert [15] analyzed current State and Federal laws within the context of employer practices across the United States. Herbert describes the laws and relevant cases in his paper, along with potential solutions. Herbert justifies his research by addressing the concern over American Labor Laws granting employers greater powers over most employee privacy expectations. Herbert's findings indicate that, “[t]he scope and nature of current legal principles regarding individual privacy are not sufficient to respond to the rapid development and use of human tracking technology” [15]. It is this very disproportionate “power” relationship that could be further propagated and exploited by ICT implants, that Michael and Michael have termed “uberveillance” [17].

Since Herbert's seminal paper, a number of states have enacted what has come to be known in the popular sense as anti-chipping legislation. The rest of this paper is dedicated to providing excerpts of laws and bills for nine U.S. states related to ICT implants for humans [18]. Seven state laws/bills were collected during the main study period in 2007, with two additional laws/bills found in 2009. It must be underscored that this list of states should not be considered an exhaustive list of legislation.

For the states investigated during the main study period in 2007, a legislative excerpt is presented, stakeholders pertaining to the law are identified, and a brief description of how chipping practices in that state may be affected is provided. For the two additional acts/bills found in 2009, only an excerpt is presented with no further analysis. As a final outcome, the paper seeks to broadly compare seven state acts/bills, identifying differences in penalties and fines, and to show the complexity of this kind of approach to protecting the rights of citizens against unscrupulous uses of advanced information technologies. The main contribution of this paper is bringing the state laws together to make identifying similarities and differences easier, and to allow for future research opportunities between United States federal and state legislative comparisons towards harmonization and conflict.

Section 4.

State of California

4.1 SB 362, Identification Devices: Subcutaneous Implanting

SECTION 1. Section 52.7 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

Except as provided in subdivision  person shall not require, coerce, or compel any other individual to undergo the subcutaneous implanting of an identification device.
(1) Any person who violates subdivision  may be assessed an initial civil penalty of no more than ten thousand dollars (1,000) for each day the violation continues until the deficiency is corrected.
This section shall not in any way modify existing statutory or case law regarding the rights of parents or guardians, the rights of children or minors, or the rights of dependent adult.

4.2 Definition

The language used to define the implant; “subcutaneous implanting of an identification device” (2007 California SB 362) provides longevity for the legislation as it can be used for any device that can be implanted and used for identification rather than specifically stating a microchip, RFID tag, or commercial product name [19].

4.3 Who it affects?

“Except as provided in subdivision (g), a person shall not require” (2007 California SB 362) prevents an individual to force the implantation of the device on another, however it does allow the Government of California and the Government of the United States to use the technology as they see fit.

4.4 Exceptions

Section G as stated in the above extract of bill 362 refers to the “existing statutory or case law regarding the rights of parents or guardians” (2007 California SB 362). Because of this clause, a parent and/or a legal guardian may sign the written consent form for any child under the age of 15 under California Family Law to receive an implant.

‘A minor may only consent to the minor's medical care or dental care if all of the following conditions are satisfied: (1) The minor is 15 years of age or older. (2) The minor is living separate and apart from the minor's parents or guardian, whether with or without the consent of a parent or guardian and regardless of the duration of the separate residence. (3) The minor is managing the minor's own financial affairs, regardless of the source of the minor's income.” (California Family Code §6922(a)) If these clauses are not satisfied then the parent or guardian has the right over the child and the right to implant the child.

A minor may sign his/her own consent for the use of a implantable microchip if used for the sole purpose of aiding in the treatment of a psychological disability under California Family Code §6924.

“A minor who is 12 years of age or older may consent to mental health treatment … if both of the following requirements are satisfied: (1) The minor, in the opinion of the attending professional person, is mature enough to participate intelligently in the outpatient services or residential shelter services. (2) The minor  would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self or to others without the mental health treatment or counseling or residential shelter services, or  is the alleged victim of incest or child abuse” (California Family Code §6924).

Section 5.

State of Colorado

5.1 HB 07–1082, a Bill for an Act Concerning a Prohibition On Requiring an Individual To Be Implanted with a Microchip

A person may not require an individual to be implanted with a microchip.
A violation of this section is a Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable as provided in section 18–1.3–501. Each day in which a person violates this section shall constitute a separate offence.

5.2 Definition

The term “microchip” is used to describe the device however no formal definition is provided therefore any device containing a microchip or device of similar or advanced capabilities is included within the definition of a ‘microchip’ and therefore must adhere to this Bill.

The crime of forcing the implantation of a microchip is defined as a “Class 3 Misdemeanor” (2007 Colorado HB 1082) which according to Colorado Revised Statutes results in a minimum sentence of 750 fine per offence [20].

5.3 Who it affects?

“A person may not require an individual” (2007 Colorado HB 1082) prevents all individuals within the state of Colorado, however does not protect against United States federal legislation.

5.4 Exceptions

The bill does not outline any clause by where the legislation is void and therefore no loop holes exist. However this then allows the judicial branch to make decisions with each individual based on their specific circumstances, and they have the power to put previous legislation, statute or constitution above HB 1082 deeming it null and void for the case in question. The judicial branch is defined as the branch of the courts whereby the court determines the application of which law is applicable for each specific case and enforces it and determines the sentence/punishment based upon the law written by the legislative branch [21]. The same exception is applied to the majority of the states presented below.

Section 6.

State of Florida

6.1 SB 2220, an Act Relating To Implanted Microchips; Prohibiting the Implanting Of a Microchip or Similar Monitoring Device

It is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in . 775.082, . 775.083, or . 775.084, Florida Statutes, to knowingly implant, for tracking or identification purposes a microchip or similar monitoring device into a person without providing full disclosure to that person regarding the use of the device and obtaining the person's informed written consent.

6.2 Definition

The implantable microchip in Florida SB 2220 is defined as “a microchip or similar monitoring device” (2007 Florida SB 2220) which therefore validates the legislation (if enacted) for any technology used for the purpose of monitoring, tracking, tracing and identification.

The crime of forcing the implantation of a microchip is defined as a “felony of the third degree” (2007 Florida SB 2220) which according to Florida Criminal Code §775.082 (penalties) and §775.083 (fines) “For a felony of the third degree, by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years” (Florida Criminal Code §775.082) and a fine of “$5,000, when the conviction is of a felony of the third degree” (Florida Criminal Code §775.083).

6.3 Who it affects?

“Into a person without providing full disclosure to that person regarding the use of the device and obtaining the person's informed written consent” (2007 Florida SB 2220) prevents all individuals within the state of Florida, however does not protect against United States federal legislation. The use of the device must also be outlined to the individual and recognition of the individuals understanding of the implants use must be received prior to the implantation and operation of the device.

Section 7.

State of North Dakota

7.1 SB 2415, an Act Relating To Implanted Microchips in Individuals; and To Provide a Penalty

SECTION 1. A new section to chapter 12.1–15 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows: Implanting microchips prohibited. A person may not require that an individual have inserted into that individual's body a microchip containing a radio frequency identification device. A violation of this section is a class A misdemeanor.

7.2 Definition

The implantable microchip in North Dakota SB 2415 is defined as a “microchip containing a radio frequency identification device” (2007 North Dakota SB 2415). This legislation is therefore limited by its definition and allows the use of devices by which their main technology to achieve its purpose is not radio frequency. Therefore utilization of innovations such as microwaves and barcodes may be argued as immune to the legislation.

The crime of forcing the implantation of a microchip is defined as a “class A misdemeanor” (2007 North Dakota SB 2415). Which according to North Dakota Century Code §12.1–32 “Class A misdemeanor: up to one year in prison, $2000 fine or both” (North Dakota Century Code §12.1–32).

7.3 Who it affects?

“A person may not require that an individual have inserted into that individual's body” (2007 North Dakota SB 2415). Therefore any individual does not have to agree to the implantation of a microchip regardless of status.

Section 8.

State of Ohio

8.1 SB 349 a Bill To Prohibit an Employer From Requiring an Employee Of the Employer To the Employee's Body a Radio Frequency Identification Tag

Sec. 4113.81. No employer shall require an employee of the employer to have inserted into the employee's body a radio frequency identification tag. Any employer who violates this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than one hundred fifty dollars per violation.
As used in this section:
“Radio frequency identification tags” mean a silicon chip containing an antenna that stores data and transmits that data to a wireless receiver.
“Employer” means the state, any political subdivision of the state, or any person employing one or more individuals in the state.

8.2 Definition

The implantable microchip is defined as a “radio frequency identification tag” (2006 Ohio SB 349) in the main text which may seem open to the use of other technologies, however definition (A) states; “Radio frequency identification tags mean a silicon chip containing an antenna that stores data and transmits that data to a wireless receiver” (2006 Ohio SB 349). Therefore the legislation is in relation to any technology that achieves its purpose by the above method.

The preamble of this bill is a proposal for amendment of Ohio Code 4113. Ohio Code 4113 is the Miscellaneous Labor Provisions Code which provides legislation from dismissal laws, to wages to whistle blowing (Ohio Code §4113). This is a clear indication that there was no intention to have the bill / legislation protect every individual of the state, rather to protect an employee from an employer.

8.3 Who it affects?

Ohio's proposed legislation is very unique in the subject affected by it. “No employer shall require an employee” (2006 Ohio SB 349). Unlike the other states, Ohio only proposes the legislation against employer's therefore protecting an employee over an unfair dismissal due to refusing implantation.

8.4 Exceptions

The 2006 Ohio SB 349 leaves itself open for attack. By only referencing an employee to employer relationship the legislation does not prevent state government, hospitals, doctors, parents or any other individual to be microchipped unless the individuals lawyer can prove a violation of §2903.13 of the Ohio Code (assault) whereby “No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another's unborn” (Ohio Code §2903.13) whereby the coercion and physical act of microchipping could be classed as assault.

The punishment outlined in 2006 Ohio SB 349 does not reference any Ohio Code section or specify it in a misdemeanour or felony class, instead an exact figure of 150 in addition to the original price of purchasing and using a commercial implant product. If an organisation wants to utilise the technology for convenience and security $150 per employee (or per violation) may be considered an investment rather than a crime,

Section 9.

State of Oklahoma

9.1 HB 2092, SB 47 an Act Prohibiting the Forced Implantation Of a Microchip

No person shall require an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip.
Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00). Each day of continued violation shall constitute a separate offense.

9.2 Definition

The term “microchip” is used to describe the implantable microchip, however no formal definition is provided therefore any device containing a microchip or device of similar or advanced capabilities is included within the definition of a ‘microchip’ and must adhere to this bill.

9.3. Who it affects?

“No person shall require an individual” (2007 Oklahoma HB 2092) prevents all individuals within the state of Oklahoma however does not protect against United States federal legislation.

Section 10.

State of Wisconsin

10.1 2005 Wisconsin Act 482 Prohibiting the Required Implanting Of Microchip in an Individual and Providing a Penalty

The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows: SECTION 1. 146.25 of the statutes is created to read: 146.25 Required implanting of microchip prohibited.
No person may require an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip.
Any person who violates sub. (1)may be required to forfeit not more than $10,000. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.

10.2 Definition

The term microchip is used however no definition is provided therefore any device containing a microchip or device of similar or advanced capabilities is included within the definition of a ‘microchip.’

10.3 Who it affects?

“No person may require an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip” (2005 Wisconsin Act 482) prevents all individuals within the state of Wisconsin however does not protect against United States federal legislation.

Section 11.

State of Georgia

11.1 HB 38, Microchip Consent Act

SECTION 2… 1) ‘Implantation’ includes any means intended to introduce a microchip internally, beneath the skin, or applied to the skin of a person.(2) ‘Microchip’ means any microdevice, sensor, transmitter, mechanism, electronically readable marking, or nanotechnology that is passively or actively capable of transmitting or receiving information. This definition shall not include pacemakers.(3) ‘Person’ means any individual, irrespective of age, legal status, or legal capacity.(4) ‘Require’ includes physical violence, threat, intimidation, retaliation, the conditioning of any private or public benefit or care on consent to implantation, including employment, promotion, or other benefit, or by any means that causes a. person to acquiesce to implantation when he or she otherwise would not.  No person shall be required to be implanted with a microchip. This Code section shall be subject to a two-year statute of limitations beginning from the date of discovery that a microchip has been implanted.  Any person required to have a microchip implanted in violation of this Code section shall be entitled to pursue criminal charges in addition to filing a civil action for damages. Each day that a microchip remains implanted shall be subject to damages of not less than $10,000.00 per day and each day shall be considered a separate violation of this Code section.  The voluntary implantation of any microchip or similar device may only be performed by a physician and shall be regulated under the authority of the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners.”

Section 12.

State of Missouri

285.035.1. No employer shall require an employee to have personal identification microchip technology implanted into an employee for any reason.

For purposes of this section, “personal identification microchip technology” means a subcutaneous or surgically implanted microchip technology device or product that contains or is designed to contain a unique identification number and personal information that can be non-invasively retrieved or transmitted with an external scanning device. Any employer who violates this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Section 13.

Cross-case comparison

From the seven (7) states studied in 2007, it is clear that there are subtle yet possibly detrimental differences between the legislation enacted (e.g. in the case of North Dakota and Wisconsin) and the legislation pending enactment.

13.1 Stakeholder & Other Definitions

Citizen: Refers to any other citizen within the state of the (enacted / pending) legislation other than the subject (oneself).

Employer: Refers to the manager, management, owner, franchiser or CEO of an organization by where the subject is currently employed on any basis (full time, casual, part time, or probation).

Government: Refers to the state government and anyone employed by the state government including law enforcement personnel.

Hospitals (Doctors): Refers to any healthcare practitioner including, general practitioners and psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and nurses of the subject who may be deemed suffering a mental illness.

Parents:Refers to the parents and guardians of a minor as defined by the state and the carer / guardian / solicitor of a subject deemed mentally ill or elderly.

Yourself: Refers to the subject, an individual wishing to approve the implantation of a microchip into their body.

Fine: Refers to a monetary fine payable for the offence of coercing an individual to be chipped. If a period of time (day(s), month(s), year(s)) is including in this field then jail time for that period indicated is part of the maximum sentence for the crime.

Consecutive Day: Refers to the punishment (jail time / momentary fine) applicable for each day in which the crime occurs.

13.2 Fines and Punishment

The following section provides a breakdown of the key elements within the Acts and Bills for each state and shows what is permitted by law and what is disallowed with regards to ICT implants states of the U.S.A. Section 13.2 should be read together with Table 1.

Table 1. U.S. State Anti-Chipping Laws/Bills Comparison Chart as of October 2007

Table 1. U.S. State Anti-Chipping Laws/Bills Comparison Chart as of October 2007

The yellow colored sections of the table represent a fine or punishment which can be seen as too light in comparison to the other states. In California for each day the offence occurs after the initial offence a 10,000) is charged. According to the United States Census Bureau, a citizen of California on average earns 6.666% more than an average American and 17.7% more than the average citizen of North Dakota [22] and yet the proposed fine in California is only 10% of the fine quoted in North Dakota's enacted legislation (2007 North Dakota SB 2415).

Ohio put in place a maximum penalty of 150 is not too much of an added expense to the $200 outlay per microchip [23]. This fine is not comparable to any of the other states and may oppose a risk rather than a benefit if it becomes enacted and employers act on the proposed $350.00 ‘investment.’

The peach colored section of Table 1 outlines the three states (Colorado, Florida and North Dakota) proposing jail time part of the maximum sentence if an individual is in breach of the legislation. These jail times come about by the classification of the offence as a felony or a misdemeanor and of a particular class. These classifications are then cross referenced to the State Code in order to determine the maximum sentence. Even though these states vary with punishment and do not have a monetary fine comparable with Oklahoma and Wisconsin, the fact they reference a classification under a criminal code protects the legislation for many generations. The fine attached to a classification may be changed if the legislative or judicial assembly makes a proposal and these changes often occur in a change in inflation or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), making the fine comparable in years to come. States that propose a fixed fine do not allow for inflation or CPI and may become a more relaxed punishment during the development of society over subsequent decades.

The green colored sections of Table 1 outline who is allowed to enforce the implantation of a microchip upon an individual without direct punishment in reference to the enacted or proposed bill of that state. In the case of Ohio only an employer who is a citizen of Ohio is prevented from chipping an employee of an Ohio state registered firm (2006 Ohio SB 349). California is the only state out of the seven that included clauses by which an exemption from punishment could be applied. Section (g) of 2007 California SB 362 allows the parents and guardians of minors to enforce the implantation of a device under certain circumstances outlined in §6922 and §6924 of the California Family Code. This clause does not mean that this does not apply to the other six states. The judiciary has the power to veto the legislation if they feel other legislation such as a Family Act is more relevant to the case or superior to the microchipping legislation and the defendant's lawyer has the ability to utilize these acts or codes to refute the microchipping legislation.

Section 14. 

Conclusion

As the development and deployment of the implantable microchip continues to gather momentum across markets and jurisdictions, the greater the propensity for case law to emerge related to the specific ICT implantable technology. The problem with state laws, as demonstrated in the U.S.A is that legislation is not uniform, at least at the state level, and even more anomalous is a comparison between state and federal legislation, which will be the focus of a forthcoming study.

References

1. C. M. Banbury, Surviving Technological Innovation in the Pacemaker Industry 1959-1990. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.

2. J. H. Schulman, "Human Implantable Technologies," in Career Development in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, G. Madhavan, Ed., 2009, pp. 167-172.

3. R. A. Lindley, Smart Card Innovation. Australia: Saim, 1997.

4. K. Warwick, I, Cyborg. UK: Century, 2002.

5. J. B. Wyatt, P. D. George, and K. Van Dyck, "Implant Gun, Pfizer Inc.," in Appl. No.: 05/046,159 United States Patent, 15 June 1970.

6. D. Man, "Dr. Man Plastic Surgery," 2009.

7. D. Man, "Implantable homing device," in United States Patent: 4,706,689. Boca Raton, Florida: USPTO, 8 January 1987.

8. A. Mann, "Where Technology and Life Unite," Alfred Mann Foundation, 2009.

9. M. Treder, "Radical Prosthetic Implants," Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, 2009.

10. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, "Microchipping People: The Rise of the Electrophorus," Quadrant, vol. 414, pp. 22-33, 2005.

11. K. Michael, M. Michael, and R. Ip, "Microchip Implants for Humans as Unique Identifiers: a Case Study on VeriChip," presented at 3TU: Ethics, Identity and Technology, The Hague, The Netherlands, 2007.

12. M. G. Michael and K. Michael, "Uberveillance: Microchipping People and the Assault on Privacy," Quadrant, vol. LIII, pp. 85-89, 2009.

13. M. N. Gasson, "ICT Implants: the Invasive Future of Identity," in IFIP International Federation for Information Processing: The Future of Identity in the Information Society;, vol. 262, S. Fischer-Hübner, P. Duquenoy, A. Zuccato, and L. Martucci, Eds. Boston: Springer: Springer, 2008, pp. 287-295.

14. E. M. Ramesh, "Time Enough? Consequences of Human Microchip Implantation," Franklin Pierce Law Centre, vol. 8, 1997.

15. W. A. Herbert, "No Direction Home: Will The Law Keep Pace With Human Tracking Technology to Protect Individual Privacy and Stop Geoslavery?," I/S - A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, vol. 2, pp. 409-472, 2006.

16. ADSX, "Get Chipped™: VeriChip™ preregistration program," in Applied Digital Solutions, 2002.

17. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, Innovative Auto-ID and Location-Based Services: from Bar Codes to Chip Implants. Hershey: Information Science Reference, 2009.

18. W. Kluwer, "States regulate use of microchips as tracking device," CCH® Internet Research NetWork, 2009.

19. C. E. Lyon, "California Bans Mandatory Implanting of Identification Devices," Morrison & Foerster, November 2007.

20. F. L. College, "Colorado Revised Statutes, Fort Lewis College," 2007.

21. US Library of Congress, "Federal Judiciary Branch," 21 July 2007.

22. US Census Bureau, "Current Population Survey (CPS): Annual Social and Economic Supplement," 2007.

23. T. Chin, "Tiny Implant Puts Portable Medical," in American Medical News, April 24 2006.

IEEE Keywords: Law, Legal factors, Implants, Legislation, Monitoring, Humans, Medical diagnostic imaging, Signal generators, Diseases, Pharmaceutical technology

INSPEC: public administration, legislation, rights protection, legal ramification, microchipping people, United States of America, state legislation,state law, state bill, antichipping legislation

Citation: Angelo Friggieri, Katina Michael and M.G. Michael, 2009, The legal ramifications of microchipping people in the United States of America- A state legislative comparison, ISTAS09, IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, ISTAS '09. 18-20 May, Tempe, Arizona, DOI: 10.1109/ISTAS.2009.5155900.

Location-based intelligence - modeling behavior in humans

SECTION 1. Introduction

This paper considers the specific data elements that can be gathered by service providers about telecommunications customers subscribed to location-based service (LBS) applications. Increasingly private companies are investing in location-based technologies for asset, animal and people tracking. Depending on the type of technology in use, the level of accuracy in terms of identifying the outdoor position of the subscriber can vary from cell-based identification to nearest landmark, to the pinpoint longitude and latitude coordinates of an object or subject. The application context is also important-is information being gathered about employees by an employer or is the use of the technology a voluntary option for the subscriber or their caretaker. Till now, there have been only a few cases which have ended in litigation over the accuracy of a location fix, but as the number of LBS adopters sets to grow for niche application areas, it is predicted that a greater number of conflicts may arise between the end-user and stakeholders. Liability is a key issue here, as is privacy [1].

SECTION 2. Location-based surveillance

2.1 Tracking people

“Mobility is a basic and indispensable human activity that is essential for us to be able to lead independent lives on a daily basis” [2]. Someone who is moving can be tracked manually or digitally. The information being gathered as the end-user moves around can be considered a type of “electronic chronicle” [3]. To allow oneself to be tracked can be a voluntary act, but in most cases it is imposed by a third party who has some control over the end-user. Tracking is critical in the process “of people motion capture, people behavior control and indoor video surveillance” [4]. In this paper we do not consider location information gathered using indoor tracking techniques such as knowledge representation or models of temporal correlation, although these techniques could be complementary to outdoor GPS tracking. There are also other techniques for tracking humans based on Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) [5], Wi-Fi technology such as the ‘Human Tracking and Following’ system [6], or embedded technologies [7] which all may become used in the future as a replacement or contingency technique to GPS. The Wi-Fi tracking approach employs an obtrusive technique requiring the end-user to employ active beacons on their body, as opposed to vision systems which are generally unobtrusive. In like manner, a GPS receiver in the form of a watch or handheld device clipped to a belt can be considered obtrusive [8].

2.2 Storing tracking data

Tracking data gathered by a GPS, such as route or point information, can be spatially represented in a geographic information system (GIS). The GIS may contain multiple layers of information, from civic data to administrative political data, statistical information and even non-earth unit data. The GIS can store trajectory data that is based on assumptions related to the end-user's historical speed and direction data, and static road/path segment information. Related to this idea is the notion of “digital trail libraries”, in effect the study of overlapping GPS trails and their digital storage [9]. Morris et al. explain that GPS track logs, are sequences of precise locations created by dropping a breadcrumb. While Morris' paper focuses on GPS for recreational activity, there is the potential for “private” track logs to be compared in order to find originating and terminating points of interaction between people. The outcomes of such an analysis fall into the category of location-based intelligence. Consider the potential for “collision” alerts of persons of interest. Access to the tracking data of an end-user's records requires strict policing. Hengartner and Steenkiste (2005) reaffirm that “[1] ocation is a sensitive piece of information” and that “releasing it to random entities might pose security and privacy risks” [10]. They emphasize the need for individual and institutional policies and the importance of formal models of trust.

SECTION 3. Methodology

One way to deduce some of the unforeseen consequences of GPS-based human tracking is to experience the process first hand. In this pilot study, a civilian participant tracked themselves for a period of 2 weeks using a GPS 24/7. Participant observation is where the observer “seeks to become some kind of member of the observed group” [11]. For the purposes of this study the participant represents individuals who would have their movements tracked and monitored by a third party. Measures need to be taken to ensure the participant's normal activities are not impacted in any way by carrying the GPS.

Two sets of data are to be gathered throughout this observational study: geographical co-ordinates and diary logs (table 1). The geographical coordinates will be collected through the means of a GPS device as quantitative data. However, in order to interpret this data, GIS software will be used to transform co-ordinates into comprehensible geolocations. The daily diary logs will be collected as complementary qualitative data. Each day during the study the participant will record any thoughts and opinions they may have with respect to being tracked.

3.1 Set-up

The following guidelines were used in the pilot study:

  • Daily activities–at the start of each day the GPS device is turned on as soon as the participant leaves their place of residence. At the end of each day the device is switched off.

  • Carrying the GPS device–the device is carried in the participant's bag or pocket while walking. When driving, the device is placed securely in a dock.

  • Tracking node limitation–the device is only capable of collecting 2000 tracking nodes at a time. While this is more than enough for a single day of tracking it is not enough for more than one day. Care must be taken to ensure that track data is erased at the end of each day so there will be enough memory the following day.

  • Getting a signal–it takes about one minute to get a signal, so when the device is first turned on the user will have to wait until a signal is detected.

  • Indoors–the device looses its signal when indoors so when the signal is lost at a certain location it will be assumed that the user is indoors.

  • Battery life–the manual indicates that the device can get up to 14 hours of usage on two AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries do not have enough power to keep the GPS device running throughout an entire day. Non-rechargeable batteries will be replaced when they are running low.

Table 1  Observational Instruments

Table 1 Observational Instruments

SECTION 4. Observational study

4.1 Digital breadcrumb

Figure 1  —Participant with Magellan GPS Device

Figure 1 —Participant with Magellan GPS Device

An observational study was carried out to gain knowledge about the sensitivity of location information. This study involved a civilian participant who had their daily movements tracked from Monday 15th August 2005 to Sunday 28th August 2005. The participant is a 21 year old university student who works part-time and owns a vehicle. Each day during the two weeks of the study the participant carried a Magellan Meridian Gold handheld device either in a carry bag or pocket (see figure 1). The GPS device was setup to collect location data every three seconds. At the end of each day this data was uploaded into GIS software “DiscoverAus Streets & Tracks” which was used to save and analyze the data. Throughout the entire study the observer stayed in the area of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

A great deal of information was found out about the observer by tracking them over an extended period of time. From data coordinates it is easy to deduce information such as where the participant is located at a given point in time and the speed at which they are traveling. However, more invasive personal data, such as where the participant lives, his workplace and social activities can also be found. It is also possible to create detailed profiles about the participant based on his daily travel routines. For instance, the speed at which the participant is traveling can indicate the form of transport they are using. How long they spend at a location can determine the type of activities the participant is also engaged in.

Figure 2 shows the participant's movements on day 10 of the study (24th August 2005). On this day the participant traveled from their home to the University of Wollongong, and then to their place of work. This day is typical of other weekdays in the study as the most common locations traveled were to the participant's home, University and workplace. The user's daily track movements are indicated by the thicker lines (two closed loops connected by a highway). With the GIS software it is possible to play the participant's movements in real time, to get a step-by-step and magnified view of their whereabouts. Roads, highways, train tracks and trails are clearly presented in the map. Key locations, street names and suburb names are also shown on the map. Even more data could be gathered manually or purchased to overlay onto the current details. It would be interesting also to show intersecting trails of other members of the family during the same study period. Different types of “families” or “groups” would have different types of profiles, some lending themselves to greater location movement than others, with communities-of-interest (CoI) varying widely from local, national and international travel.

Figure 2 —Participant Track Data for the Study Period

4.2 Graphical travel logs

Graphical analysis of track data also gives indications of a person's travel habits and behavior, providing that all the data is accurate and free from errors. The following graphs (figures 3–6) are meaningful representations of speed, time, distance, and elevation data collected by the GPS.

Figure 3  Time/Speed Graph: indicates speed at a specific time, when a person is traveling from one place to another, and how long the person spends at a given location.

Figure 3 Time/Speed Graph: indicates speed at a specific time, when a person is traveling from one place to another, and how long the person spends at a given location.

Figure 4:  Distance/Speed Graph indicates speed at a specific point in a journey, and whether a person is in a vehicle or walking (i.e. form of transport).

Figure 4: Distance/Speed Graph indicates speed at a specific point in a journey, and whether a person is in a vehicle or walking (i.e. form of transport).

Figure 5:  Time/Distance Graph indicates the length of time a person stays at a location, the length of time a person is on the move, and the number of places a person travels to.

Figure 5: Time/Distance Graph indicates the length of time a person stays at a location, the length of time a person is on the move, and the number of places a person travels to.

Figure 6:  Distance/Elevation Graph indicates a person's location by comparing the elevation patterns with other data.

Figure 6: Distance/Elevation Graph indicates a person's location by comparing the elevation patterns with other data.

 

SECTION 5. GPS tracking issues

5.1 Accuracy

Although not perfect in terms of accuracy of a given location fix, the GPS is generally perceived by civilians as being close to perfect. However, on several occasions in the observational study substantial errors occurred. Over the two weeks of the observational study there were six significant signal dropouts. During a signal dropout a person's location is not known. All of these dropouts occurred while the participant was traveling by car. It is likely that the GPS receiver was not positioned well enough to gain an accurate signal or traditional natural/physical factors affected the device. This kind of signal dropout could be costly in a real life scenario if a person's location was mandatory. There were also five significant speed miscalculations during the study. Speed is found by calculating the distance traveled between two points within a given time period. For example, on day 13 of the observational study the tracking information indicated a speed of 600 km/h whilst in a moving vehicle. This was found by calculating the time and location differences between two subsequent tracking points. The collected GPS data indicated the participant had traveled 0.0479884332997 kilometres in 5 seconds.

Table 3  Summary of Geolocation Trail Data

Table 3 Summary of Geolocation Trail Data

5.2 Editing track data

The GPS device used to collect location data stored tracking nodes which recorded location and time data every 3 seconds. GIS software was then used to create an entire track by joining each tracking node. However, the software also grants the user the option to add and edit tracking nodes. This feature is included to assist in navigation but could be used for other covert reasons. The use of GPS location data is surprisingly considered legitimate evidence in legal trials [12]. It is possible to convict an innocent man of a crime they did not commit by editing track data to falsify evidence. Stringent security and validation checks need to be set in place if authorities plan to use GPS track data as valid evidence in a court trial.

5.3 User travel behavior

An analysis of the track data has shown that the participants' daily movements are quite similar each week (compare figures 7 and 8, 9 and 10) and is a reflection of their daily routines and behavior. The observer took the exact same travel route whenever they traveled to a known location, like home or work, even though there are alternate routes-reflecting how habitual some humans are. The track data also reflects the participant's behavior when they are running late for a meeting or deadline (i.e. the participant accelerated their speed while walking/driving). This kind of information can be used to create intelligent systems which can observe what a person is doing and then alert systems when their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Figure 7:  Time/Speed Graph (17 August 2005)

Figure 7: Time/Speed Graph (17 August 2005)

Figure 8:  Time/Speed Graph (24 August 2005)

Figure 8: Time/Speed Graph (24 August 2005)

Figure 9:  Distance/Speed Graph (17 August 2005)

Figure 9: Distance/Speed Graph (17 August 2005)

Figure 10:  Distance/Speed Graph (24 August 2005)

Figure 10: Distance/Speed Graph (24 August 2005)

Substantial similarities can be seen between like graphs, one week to the next. Both sets of time/speed graphs indicate the participant traveled on four occasions during the same day of the week, in consecutive weeks. The distance/speed graph shows similar patterns of traveling speed. In fact, the graphs of every single weekday were almost identical one week to the next, typical of a university student pattern of behavior. The weekends did not vary that much either- an opportunity to go to work, take a break for some socializing, and return home for further study.

5.4 Detail of GIS

The GIS software used, provided details on the roads, highways and the location of major landmarks but did not show any building data. There are however, databases like MapInfo's MapMarker or the Australian Geographical National Address File (G-NAF) that could be coupled with a telemarketing list to provide a rich background layer. In this project, little could be deduced from the user's location at certain longitude and latitude coordinates (apart from what the user provided) because the supporting database was absent. The level of detail in a GIS could be made scalable to correspond with its application context. In applications which require high resolution detail, the GIS could be setup to display roads, buildings and landmarks. Conversely, if little detail is needed it could show the user's location in relation to important landmarks.

5.5 User awareness

Several days into the study the user indicated that it was easy to forget about the fact they were being tracked or observed (see section 6). Any activity that is carried out at length could easily become routine. By the end of the study the user was not concerned about being tracked but was more concerned about having to carry the device around. If GPS were to be enforced on parolees as a deterrent to crime, the participant felt it might lose effectiveness as a tool in the longer term.

5.6 Outcomes of the observational pilot study

This pilot study provided a practical perspective to the process of GPS tracking and proved that it can be accomplished with relative ease. The evidence suggests that tracking a person over an extended period of time is an invasion of privacy as GPS applications can track every detail of a person's movements. The probability of inaccuracies and the possibility of editing data poses questions about the reliability of such information. The effectiveness of GPS tracking in deterring crime may not be as great as first thought because the user may become blasé about its presence.

SECTION 6. Participant diary entries-narrative

This section is taken verbatim from the participant's diaries made between Monday 15th August 2005 and Sunday 28th August 2005. It is important to highlight some of the end-user perceptions and attitudes towards the basic GPS tracking application.

Day 1: Monday 15th August 2005

Today was the first day of tracking. Throughout the day I was very conscious of the device I was carrying. Every time I left for a new location I would check if the device was working and if I was getting an accurate reading. A person being tracked would not be too concerned whether their receiver was working or not. Although a parolee with a faulty tracking device may face immediate repercussions.

Day 2: Tuesday 16th August 2005

It would seem that my primary objective is to simply carry the device, not to track my movements. I rarely think what someone else would think. In fact, I am in a different state of mind when I am downloading and looking over the waypoints I collected that particular day. Most of the time when I am traveling from place to place I am concerned about whether the device is working, how much battery life I have left, if a signal has been picked up.

Day 3: Wednesday 17th August 2005

Running late for a meeting today I noticed that I was traveling faster than normal. Not just when I was driving but my walking pace was very fast. This behavior was projected through my physical movements which were picked up in the GPS receiver. From this experience it could be possible to create user profiles on a person being tracked. For example, analyzing the walking speed can reveal an approximate walking span and from that the approximate height of the person can be deduced. This idea may seem farfetched and outlandish but it would be an interesting experiment to conduct one day.

Day 4: Thursday 18th August 2005

A thought occurred to me while I was driving to the RTA to do my driving test for my full license. What if all cars carried a GPS or similar LBS device on board and two cars were involved in a car accident. The Driver Qualification Handbook indicates that three most common types of crashes by new drivers involve two cars in rear-end collisions, adjacent collision when turning corners and opposite collisions when turning corners. A GPS could be used to reveal what exactly happened in an accident like which person hit first and which person was traveling the fastest. If cars were being tracked there could be rules set out to provide automated emergency responses. For example, if the speed of a vehicle decelerated at an alarming rate, e.g., from 100 km/h to 0 km/h in less than a few seconds, it would be fair to say that the vehicle was involved in an accident.

Day 5: Friday 19th August 2005

While analyzing today's tracking data I have noticed that the device sometimes loses a signal when I am driving. This is most likely due to the poor placement of the receiver. If a GPS device was used to track a person, the placement of the receiver would be very important. Parolees often have GPS devices placed around their ankles leaving it very low on the body and unable to get the best signal. I think receivers need to be placed higher up on the body to ensure continuous and accurate readings.

Day 6: Saturday 20th August 2005

The mapping software I used to download my tracking data gives the option to add and edit way points or tracking nodes. It would be easy to frame a person by editing the location data and disproving any alibi they may have. I wonder about the reliability of location data collected from GPS devices alone.

Day 7: Sunday 21st August 2005

After a week of tracking I have voluntarily decided to extend the study period of personal tracking so that I will have more data to analyze. I am not concerned about tracking my movements for another week. In fact, I am eager to continue this study to get more data and to make weekly profile comparisons possible.

Day 8: Monday 22nd August 2005

I am beginning the second week of tracking today and my awareness level of the tracking of my own movements has dulled. Throughout the day I do not consciously think of myself as being tracked. At times I may check if the device is working correctly but I am not concerned about the data the device is collecting about me. I can now say that after eight days of tracking, I am used to the process, even though it is such an abnormal activity.

Day 9: Tuesday 23rd August 2005

After replacing the batteries in the device with a fresh set I have noticed the device picks up a signal much quicker than it did with a used set of batteries. This makes sense to me; the more power the device has the better it will work. However, this has ramifications for people being tracked, especially prisoners on parole who have to recharge the batteries each day.

Day 10: Wednesday 24th August 2005

It has occurred to me that the pervasiveness of GPS tracking depends on the complexity and detail of the GIS being used. The more information being displayed on a GIS such as landmarks, roads, side streets, the more information about the person's movements are available. When I analyze my own movements at the end of the day, I find myself sequentially and systematically recollecting where I went, and reevaluating my motives for being there.

Day 11: Thursday 25th August 2005

I have noticed that so far my data is fairly ‘static’, based on my weekly and daily routines. For example, I regularly travel to University and my workplace at the same time and day each week. I could also make the assumption that many people have stringent daily routines, especially people that are currently being tracked using GPS. Intelligent systems could be developed to monitor these movements automatically. The system could analyze a person's movements over a week or two and develop a personalized information system that would create user profile based on their activities.

Day 12: Friday 26th August 2005

No entry.

Day 13: Saturday 27th August 2005

The entire process of tracking my movements has become a habit. I can imagine it would be similar for any person who has to have their movements tracked. I am relieved the entire process is drawing to a close mainly because I do not have to carry around the GPS device anymore. This is not on account of the bulkiness or weight of the device (it only weighs 233 grams)- but my relief comes from the knowledge that I do not have to worry about being attached to this gadget both physically and mentally.

Day 14: Sunday 28th August 2005

Today is the final day of this study. I did not track my movements today because I stayed at home. Looking back at the previous weeks I did make an effort to travel a lot so I would have a substantial amount of data to analyze. I wonder if this will have an opposite effect on a person being tracked by a second party. Would they travel less? Would a teenager being tracked still visit places his/her parents thought of disapprovingly?

SECTION 7. Towards überveillance

Dataveillance is defined as the “systematic use of personal data systems in the investigation or monitoring of the actions of one or more persons” [13]. M. G. Michael [14] has spoken of an emerging-überveillance-above and beyond almost omnipresent 24/7 surveillance. The problem, he has gone on to say, is that in human terms at least, “omnipresence will not always equate with omniscience, hence the real concern for misinformation, misinterpretation, and information manipulation.” In the case of the civilian participant observed in this study we cannot assume everything based on his/her location. Being located in the bounds of the “home” does not mean that the participant has gone to sleep or is inactive; while he/she is at “university” it does not mean they are studying or in class; going to “work” (which happens to be a gymnasium) does not mean the civilian is working out; visiting the location of the “unibar” does not mean the civilian was drinking anything but cola; a “signal dropout” does not presume the civilian did not take a detour from their normal route; and a “speed miscalculation” does not necessarily mean the civilian was not speeding, they may have been in an alternate mode of transportation like an airplane, train or speedboat. Thus while location can be revealing, it can also be misleading. It is important that end-users of location based services, save for law enforcement, be able to “opt-out” of being tracked, rendering themselves “untraceable” for whatever reason. Being untraceable does not mean that one is doing something wrong, it is one's right to be “left alone”, and LBS policies need to ensure these safeguards are built in to their applications. Being tracked by multiple “live” devices will also become an issue for the future. What is the true location of a person who is tracked by more than one device-the notion of moving and stationary association confidences is important here [15].

SECTION 8. Conclusion

Tracking is very invasive so care must be taken to ensure that only essential information about that person is revealed. Levels of privacy can be controlled by incorporating intelligent systems and customizing the amount of detail in a given geographic information system. If these types of measures are enforced GPS tracking can be used in an ethical manner which is beneficial to the person being tracked, not detrimental.

GPS is an effective technology and it can potentially save lives, however many current applications are not suited to it. Many groups of people rely heavily on the technology even though it is prone to inaccuracies and unreliable at times. Technological convergence may correct some of these issues but a real problem is posed if the GPS network is solely relied upon. It should be remembered that as we build more and more mission-critical applications that rely upon GPS, that the US government can shut down parts of the system in times of crisis, in addition to having already existing problems maintaining their satellites. When using any form of GPS tracking device, backup systems need to be implemented, and a Murphy's Law type mentality needs to be encouraged: If the GPS can fail, it will fail!

These findings apply to all parties which track the movements of others. These groups include police responsible for law enforcement, parole officers, caretakers of dementia patients, parents who want to track their children and employers who track their employees. These groups need to ensure that the tracking of people is done in a just and ethical fashion. It is up to the trackers to ensure that the tracking of another human is done in a way which is beneficial to the person involved and the wider community.

SECTION 9. Further research

The next phase in this research is to carry out a group observational study. The observational study in this paper was limited to a single participant but it would be interesting to track the movements of a group of people. A study like this could be used to investigate whether detailed portfolios can be created from anonymous participants based on their travel patterns. Another aim could be to create an intelligent system that would collect and analyze the movements of people automatically. In addition to an observational study several people who have had GPS tracking imposed on them could be interviewed to ascertain the emotional and psychological consequences of having a GPS tracking device attached 24/7 for long periods of time.

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Keywords

Humans, Global Positioning System, Geographic Information Systems, Computer science, Monitoring, Business, Credit cards, Data privacy, Surveillance, Tracking, artificial intelligence, monitoring, object monitoring, location-based intelligence, GPS, object tracking
 

Citation: Katina Michael, Andrew McNamee, M.G. Michael, Holly Tootell, "Location-based intelligence - modeling behavior in humans",  ISTAS 2006. IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, 8-10 June, 2006, USA.