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 The aim is to provide continuous intelligence, rather than make decisions on outdated data gathered between extended discrete intervals.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.

Perceived barriers for implanting microchips in humans

Abstract

This quantitative, descriptive study investigated if there was a relationship between countries of residence of small business owners (N = 453) within four countries (Australia, India, UK, and the USA) with respect to perceived barriers to RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders being implanted into humans for employee ID. Participants were asked what they believed were the greatest barriers in instituting chip implants for access control in organizations. Participants had six options from which to select. There were significant chi-square analyses reported relative to respondents' countries and: 1) a perceived barrier of technological issues (X2= 11.86, df = 3, p = .008); 2) a perceived barrier of philosophical issues (right of control over one's body) (X2= 31.21, df = 3, p = .000); and 3) a perceived barrier of health issues (unknown risks related to implants) (X2= 10.88, df = 3, p = .012). There were no significant chi-square analyses reported with respect to countries of residence and: 1) religious issues (mark of the beast), 2) social issues (digital divide), and 3) cultural issues (incisions into the skin are taboo). Thus, the researchers concluded that there were relationships between the respondents' countries and the perception of barriers in institutional microchips.

SECTION I. Introduction

The purpose of this study was to investigate if there were relationships between countries of residence (Australia, India, UK, and the USA) of small business owners  and perceived barriers of instituting RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders implanted into the human body for identification and access control purposes in organizations [1]. Participants were asked what they believed were the greatest barriers in instituting chip implants for access control in organizations [2]. Participants had six options from which to select all that apply, as well as an option to specify other barriers [3]. The options for perceived barriers included:

  • technological issues-RFID is inherently an insecure technology
  • social issues-there will be a digital divide between those with employees with implants for identification and those that have legacy electronic identification
  • cultural issues-incisions into the skin are taboo
  • religious issues-mark of the beast
  • philosophical issues-right of control over one's body
  • health issues-there are unknown risks related to implants that are in the body over the long term
  • other issues.

There were significant chi-square analyses reported relative to respondents' countries and: 1) the perceived barrier of technological issues; 2) the perceived barrier of philosophical issues (right of control over one's body); and 3) the perceived barrier of health issues (unknown risks related to implants). There were no significant chi-square analyses reported with respect to countries and religious issues (mark of the beast), social issues (digital divide), and cultural issues (incisions into the skin are taboo).

RFID implants are capable of omnipresent electronic surveillance. RFID tags or transponders can be implanted into the human body to track the who, what, where, when, and how of human life [4]. This act of embedding devices into human beings for surveillance purposes is known as uberveillance [5]. While the tiny embedded RFID chips do not have global positioning capabilities, an RFID reader (fixed or mobile) can capture time stamps, exit and entry sequences to denote when someone is coming or going, which direction they are travelling in, and then make inferences on time, location, distance. and speed.

In this paper, the authors present a brief review of the literature, key findings from the 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 countries of residence may affect perceptions of barriers in instituting chip implants in humans.

SECTION II. Review of Literature

A. Implants and Social Acceptance

In 2004, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) of the United States approved an implantable chip for use in humans in the U.S [6]. The implanted chip was and is being marketed by a variety of commercial enterprises 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 personal health records (PHR) of the patient from a database [7]. 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) to care for the patient aptly. Additionally, the chip is being touted as a solution to kidnappings in Mexico (e.g. by the Xega Company), among many other uses [8].

B. Schools: RFID Tracking

A rural elementary school in California planned to implement RFID-tagged ID cards for school children, however the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) fought successfully to revoke the program. Veritable risks were articulated by the ACLU including identity theft, or kidnapping if the system was hacked and resulted in a perpetrator being able to access locations of schoolchildren.

However, with school districts looking to offset cuts in state funding which are partly based on attendance figures, RFID technology provides a method to count students more accurately. Added to increased revenues, administrators are facing the reality of increasing security issues; thus more school districts are adopting RFID to track students to improve safety. For many years in Tokyo, students have worn mandatory RFID bracelets; they are tracked not only in the school, but also to and from school [9] [10]. In other examples, bags are fitted with GPS units.

In 2012, the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas began a pilot program to track 6.2% of its 100,000 students through RFID tagged ID-cards. Northside was not the first district in Texas; two other school districts in Houston successfully use the technology with reported gains in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue due to improved attendance. The school board unanimously approved the program, but not after first debating privacy issues. Chip readers on campuses and on school buses will detect a student's location and authorized administrators will have access to the information. At a cost of 525,000 to launch the pilot program and approximately 1.7 million in the first year due to higher attendance figures, as well as Medicaid reimbursements for the busing of special education students. However, students could forget or lose the cards which would negatively affect the system [3]. One of Northside's sophomore students, Andrea Hernandez, refused to wear the RFID tag round her neck based on religious reasons. Initially, the school expelled her but when the case went to court, she was reinstated, a judge ruling her constitutional rights had been violated [11].

C. Medical Devices: RFID Implants

Recent technological developments are reaching new levels with the integration of silicon and biology; implanted devices can now interact directly with the brain [12]. Implantable devices for medical purposes are often 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 [13].

D. RFID in India

Although India has been identified as a significant prospective market for RFID due to issues with the supply chain and a need for transparency, some contend that the slow adoption of RFID solutions can be tracked to unskilled RFID solution providers. Inexperienced systems integrators and vendors are believed to account for failed trials, leaving companies disillusioned with the technology, and subsequently abandoning solutions and declaiming its benefits loudly and publicly. A secondary technological threat to RFID adoption is believed to be related to price competitiveness in India. In such a price-sensitive environment, RFID players are known to quote the lowest costs per tag, thereby using inferior hardware. Thus, customers perceive RFID to be inconsistent and unreliable for use in the business setting [14]. The compulsory biometrics roll out, instituted by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is in direct contrast to the experience of RFID (fig. 1)

 Fig. 1. Taking fingerprints for Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique number has been issued for all residents in india. The number will be stored in a centralized database and linked to basic demographic and biometric information. The system institutes multimodal biometrics. Creative commons: fotokannan.

Fig. 1. Taking fingerprints for Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique number has been issued for all residents in india. The number will be stored in a centralized database and linked to basic demographic and biometric information. The system institutes multimodal biometrics. Creative commons: fotokannan.

E. RFID in Libraries

In 2010, researchers reported that many corporate libraries had begun deploying RFID. RFID tags are placed into books and other media and used in libraries for such purposes as to automate stock verification, to locate misplaced items, to check in/check out patrons without human interaction, and to detect theft. In India, several deployment and implementation issues were identified and they are: consumer privacy issues/ethical concerns, costs, lack of standards and regulations in India (e.g. data ownership, data collection limitations), user confusion (e.g. lack of training and experience with the technology), and the immaturity of the technology (e.g. lack of accuracy, scalability, etc.) [15].

F. RFID and OEMS/Auto Component Manufacturers

In India, suppliers are not forced to conform to stringent regulations like those that exist in other countries. In example, the TREAD Act in the U.S. provided the impetus for OEMs to invest in track and trace solutions; failure to comply with the regulations can carry a maximum fine in the amount of $15 million and a criminal penalty of up to 15 years. Indian suppliers are not only free from such regulations of compliance, but also cost conscious with low volumes of high value cars. It is believed that the cost of RFID solutions is not yet justified in the Indian market [16].

G. Correctional Facilities: RFID Tracking

A researcher studied a correctional facility in Cleveland, Ohio to evaluate the impact of RFID technology to deter such misconduct as sexual assaults. The technology was considered because of its value in confirming inmate counts and perimeter controls. In addition, corrections officers can utilize such technology to check inmate locations against predetermined schedules, to detect if rival gang members are in close proximity, to classify and track proximity of former intimate partners, single out those inmates with food allergies or health issues, and even identify if inmates who may attempt to move through the cafeteria line twice [17].

The results of the study indicated that RFID did not deter inmate misconduct, although the researchers articulated many issues that affected the results. Significant technological challenges abounded for the correctional facility as RFID tracking was implemented and included system inoperability, signal interference (e.g. “blind spots” where bracelets could not be detected), and transmission problems [18] [17].

H. Social Concerns

Social concerns plague epidermal electronics for nonmedical purposes [19]. In the United States, many states have crafted legislation to balance the potential benefits of RFID technology with the disadvantages associated with privacy and security concerns [20]. 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 [21]. 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.

Through the work of Rodata and Capurro in 2005, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission, examined the ethical questions arising from science and new technologies. The role of the opinion was to raise awareness 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 [22]. The opinion stated that Information and 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 [23]. 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 [24].

I. Increased Levels of Willingness to Adopt: 2005–2010

Researchers continue to investigate social acceptance of the implantation of this technology into human bodies. In 2006, researchers reported higher levels of acceptance of the implantation of a chip within their bodies, when college students perceived benefits from this technology [25]. Utilizing the same questions posed in 2005 to college students attending both private and public institutions of higher education by the aforementioned researchers, the researchers once again in 2010 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 [25] [26]. 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 in levels of willingness of college students. A shift was evident; levels of willingness moved 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 [26]. 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% when considering RFID implants as method to reduce identity theft, decreased by 19.9% when considering RFID implants as a potential lifesaving device, and decreased by 16.3% when considering RFID implants to increase national security [26].

J. RFID Implant Study: German Tech Conference Delegates

A 2010 survey of individuals attending a technology conference conducted 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 [27].

K. Ask India: Are Implants a More Secure Technology?

Previously, researchers reported a significant chi-square analysis relative to countries of residence and perceptions of chip implants as a more secure technology for identification/access control in organizations. More than expected (46 vs. 19.8; adjusted residual = 7.5), participants from India responded “yes” to implants as a more secure technology. When compared against the other countries in the study, 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). 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. [28].

Due to heightened security threats, there appears to be a surge in demand for security in India [29][30]. 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 [30]. 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. 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 guard/watchman) 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 [29] [30].

L. Prediction of Adoption of Technology

Many models have been developed and utilized to understand factors that affect the acceptance of technology such as: The Moguls Model of Computing by Ndubisi, Gupta, and Ndubisi in 2005, Diffusion of Innovation Theory by Rogers in 1983; Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen in 1991; The Model of PC Utilization attributed to Thompson, Higgins, and Howell in 1991, Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) by Rogers in 1985, and the Theory of Reasoned Action attributed to Fischbein & Ajzen in 1975, and with additional revisions by the same in 1980 [31].

Researchers in Berlin, Germany investigated consumers' reactions to RFID in retail. After viewing an introductory stimulus film about RFID services in retail, participants evaluated the technology and potential privacy mechanisms. Participants were asked to rate on a five point Likert-type scale (ranging from “not at all sensitive” to “extremely sensitive”) their attitudes toward privacy with such statements as: “Generally, I want to disclose the least amount of data about myself.” Or “To me it is irrelevant if somebody knows what I buy for my daily needs.” In the study, participants reported moderate privacy awareness  and interestingly, participants reported a moderate expectation that legal regulations will result in sufficient privacy protection . Results showed that the extent to which people view the protection of their privacy strongly influences how willing people will be to accept RFID in retail. Participants were aware of privacy problems with RFID-based services, however, if retailers articulate that they value the customers' privacy, participants appeared more likely to adopt the technology. Thus, privacy protection (and the communication of it) was found to be an essential element of RFID rollouts [32].

SECTION III. Methodology

This quantitative, descriptive study investigated if there were relationships between countries of residence with respect to perceived barriers of RFID chip implants in humans for identification and access control purposes in organizations. The survey took place between April 4, 2011 and April 18, 2011. It took an average of 10 minutes to complete each online survey. Participants, who are small business owners  within four countries including Australia , India , UK , and the USA , were asked “As a senior executive, what do you believe are the greatest barriers in instituting chip implants for access control in organizations?” Relative to gender, 51.9% of participants are male; 48.1% are female. The age of participants ranged from 18 to 71 years of age; the mean age was 44 and the median age was 45. Eighty percent of organizations surveyed had less than 5 employees. Table I shows the survey participant's industry sector.

 Table I Senior executive's industry sector

Table I Senior executive's industry sector

The study employed one instrument that collected key data relative to the business profile, the currently utilized technologies for identification and access control at the organization, and the senior executives' perceptions of RFID implants in humans for identification and access control in organizations. Twenty-five percent of the small business owners that participated in the survey said they had electronic ID access to their premises. Twenty percent of small business owner employee ID cards came equipped with a photograph, and less than five percent stated they had a security breach in the 12 months preceding the study.

Descriptive statistics, including frequency counts and measures of central tendency, were run and chi-square analysis was conducted to examine if there were relationships between the respondents' countries and each of the perceived barriers in instituting microchips in humans.

SECTION IV. Findings

There was a significant relationship reported relative to respondents' countries for each of three of the six choices provided in the multi-chotomous question: “As a senior executive, what do you believe are the greatest barriers in instituting chip implants for access control in organizations?”

A. Barrier: Technological Issues

The significant chi-square analysis  indicated that there was a relationship between the respondents' countries and the perceived barrier of technological issues. Using the rule of identifying adjusted residuals greater than 2.0, examination of the adjusted residuals indicated that the relationship was created when more than expected participants from India selected “technological issues (RFID is inherently an insecure technology)” as a barrier in instituting chip implants (45 vs. 31.1; adjusted residual 3.4).

B. Barrier: Philosophical Issues

The second significant chi-square analysis , df = 3,  indicated that there was a relationship between the respondents' countries and the perceived barrier of philosophical issues (right of control over one's body). An examination of the adjusted residuals indicated that the relationship was mostly created when fewer than expected participants from India selected philosophical issues as a barrier in instituting chip implants (37 vs. 61.3; adjusted residual 5.3). In addition, more residents from Australia than expected (78 vs. 62.9; adjusted residual 3.3) selected philosophical issues as a barrier. In rank order, the countries contributing to this significant relationship were India, followed by Australia; no such differences in opinion were found for respondents from UK and the USA.

C. Barrier: Health Issues

The third significant chi-square analysis  indicated there was a relationship between the respondents' countries and the perceived barrier of health issues (unknown risks related to implants). An examination of the adjusted residuals indicated that the relationship was mostly created when more than expected residents of India selected health issues as a barrier in instituting chip implants (57 vs. 43.3; adjusted residual 3.1). In addition, fewer residents from America than expected (36 vs. 45.7; adjusted residual 2.1) selected health issues as a barrier. In rank order, the countries contributing to this significant relationship were India, followed by the USA; no such differences in opinion were found for respondents from Australia and the UK.

D. Barrier: Social Issues, Religious Issues, and Cultural Issues

There were no significant chi-square analyses reported with respect to respondents' countries and social issues (digital divide), religious issues (mark of the beast), and cultural issues (incisions into the skin are taboo). Thus, in this study the researchers concluded no such differences in opinion were found for respondents' countries of residence and the barriers of social issues, religious issues, and cultural issues.

E. Statistical Summary

When asked whether or not, radiofrequency identification (RFID) transponders surgically implanted beneath the skin of an employee would be a more secure technology for instituting employee identification in the organization, only eighteen percent believed so. When asked subsequently about their opinion on how many staff in their organization would opt for an employee ID chip implant instead of the current technology if it were available, it was stated that eighty percent would not opt in. These figures are consistent with an in depth interview conducted with consultant Gary Retherford who was responsible for the first small business adoption of RFID implants for access control at Citywatcher.com in 2006 [33]–[34][35] In terms of the perceived barriers to instituting an RFID implant for access control in organizations, senior executives stated the following (in order of greatest to least barriers): 61% said health issues, 55% said philosophical issues, 43% said social issues; 36% said cultural issues; 31% said religious issues, and 28% said technological issues.

F. Open-Ended Question

When senior executives were asked if they themselves would adopt an RFID transponder surgically implanted beneath the skin the responses were summarized into three categories-no, unsure, and yes [36]. We present a representative list of these responses below with a future study focused on providing in depth qualitative content analysis.

1) No, I Would Not Get an RFID Implant

“No way would I. Animals are microchipped, not humans.”

“Absurd and unnecessary.”

“I absolutely would not have any such device implanted.”

“Hate it and object strongly.”

“No way.”h

“No thanks.”

“Yuk.”

“Absolutely creepy and unnecessary.”

“Would not consider it.”

“I would leave the job.”

“I don't like the idea one bit. The idea is abhorrent. It is invasive both physically and psychologically. I would never endorse it.”

“Would never have it done.”

“Disagree invading my body's privacy.”

“Absolutely vehemently opposed.”

“This proposal is a total violation of human rights.”

“Yeah right!! and get sent straight to hell! not this little black duck!”

“I do not believe you should put things in your body that God did not supply you with …”

“I wouldn't permit it. This is a disgraceful suggestion. The company does not OWN the employees. Slavery was abolished in developed countries more than 100 years ago. How dare you even suggest such a thing. You should be ashamed.”

“I would sooner stick pins in my eyeballs.”

“It's just !@;#%^-Nazi's???”

2) I am Unsure about Getting an RFID Implant

“A bit overkill for identification purposes.”

“Uncomfortable.”

“Maybe there is an issue with OH&S and personal privacy concern.”

“Unsure.”

“Only if I was paid enough to do this, $100000 minimum.”

“Unsure, seems very robotic.”

“I'm not against this type of device but I would not use it simply for business security.”

“A little skeptical.”

“A little apprehensive about it.”

3) Yes, I would Get an RFID Implant

“Ok, but I would be afraid that it could be used by”

“outside world, say police.”

“Sick!”

“It is a smart idea.”

“It would not be a problem for me, but I own the business so no philosophical issues for me.”

“I'd think it was pretty damn cool.”

SECTION V. Discussion: Perceived Barriers

A. Barrier: Technological Issues

The literature revealed many technological barriers for non-implantable chips; this study suggests this same barrier is also perceived for implantable chips and is likely to be related [37]. More than expected, Indian participants in this study selected technological issues (RFID is inherently an insecure technology) as a barrier in instituting chip implants for access control; no such differences of opinion were found for the other countries in the study. However, the literature revealed in other analyses, that more than expected Indian participants, answered “yes” when asked if implants are a more secure technology for instituting identification/access control in an organization. The findings appear to suggest that although Indian participants perceive RFID implants as a more secure technology when compared with other such methods as manual methods, paper-based, smartcards, or biometric/RFID cards, participants are likely to view this technology as undeveloped and still too emergent. Further research is needed to substantiate this conclusion, although a review of the literature revealed that RFID solution providers are already in abundance in India, with many new companies launching and at a rapid pace. Without standards and regulations, providers are unskilled and uneducated in the technology, providing solutions that often do not prove successful in implementation. Customers then deem the technology as inconsistent and ineffective in its current state. In addition, RFID players undercut each other, providing cheap pricing for cheap, underperforming hardware. Therefore, the preliminary conclusion of the researchers is that adoption of implants in India is likely to be inhibited not only now, but well into the future if the implementations of non-implantable RFID solutions continue to misrepresent the capabilities of the technology. It is likely that far afield to accepting implantable chips, individuals in India would need to be assured of consistency and effectiveness for RFID chip use in non-human applications.

B. Barrier: Philosophical Issues

Fewer than expected Indian participants selected philosophical issues (right of control over one's body) as a barrier; and more than expected, Australian participants selected this as a barrier. The researchers concluded that this is fertile ground for future research [38]. The deep cultural assumptions of each country are likely to influence participants' responses. In example, although Indian philosophies vary, many emphasize the continuity of the soul or spirit, rather than the temporary state of the flesh (the body). Further research would inform these findings through an exploration as to how and why participants in India versus participants in Australia perceive their own right of control over one's body.

C. Barrier: Health Issues

More than expected Indian participants selected health issues (unknown risks related to implants) as a barrier in instituting implants; and, fewer than expected American participants selected this as a barrier. The researchers conclude that these results may be a result of the perceived successes with the current usage of the technology. The literature revealed participants from India are experiencing poor implementations of the technology. Conversely, Americans are increasingly exposed to the use of surgically implanted chips in pets (often with no choice if the pet is adopted from a shelter) and with little or no health issues faced [39]. In addition, segments of the healthcare industry are advocating for RFID for use in the supply chain (e.g. blood supply) with much success. To inform these findings, further research is needed to explore how participants from each country describe the unknown risks related to implants.

SECTION VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, the authors recognize there are significant social implications relative to implanting chips in humans. Although voluntary chipping has been embraced by certain individuals, the chipping of humans is rare and remains mostly a topic of discussion and debate into the future. Privacy and security issues abound and are not to be minimized. However, in the future, we may see an increased demand for, and acceptance of, chipping, especially as the global environment intensifies. When considering the increase in natural disasters over the past two years, the rising tensions between nations such as those faced by India with terrorism by extremists from neighboring countries, and the recent contingency plans to enact border controls to mitigate refugees fleeing failing countries in the Eurozone, the tracking of humans may once again come to the forefront as it did post 9–11 when rescuers raced against the clock to locate survivors in the rubble.

India is of particular interest in this study; participants from this country contributed most in many of the analyses. India is categorized as a developing country (or newly industrialized country) and the second most populous country in the world. The government of India is already utilizing national identification cards housing biometrics, although the rollout has been delayed as officials work to solve issues around cards that can be stolen or misplaced, as well as how to prevent use fraudulently after the cardholder's death. Technological infrastructure is improving in even the more remote regions in India as MNCs (multi-national corporations) are locating business divisions in the country. The findings, set against the backdrop of the literature review, bring to light what seems to be an environment of people more than expected (statistically) open to (and possibly ready for) the technology of implants when compared with developed countries. However ill-informed RFID players in India are selling a low quality product. There appears to be lack of standards and insufficient knowledge of the technology with those who should know the most about the technology. Further research is necessary to not only understand the Indian perspective, but also to better understand the environment now and into the future.

References

1. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, "The Diffusion of RFID Implants for Access Control and ePayments: Case Study on Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, " in IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS10), Wollongong, Australia, 2010, pp. 242-252.

2. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, "Implementing Namebers Using Microchip Implants: The Black Box Beneath The Skin, " in This Pervasive Day: The Potential and Perils of Pervasive Computing, J. Pitt, Ed., ed London, United Kingdom: Imperial College Press, 2012, pp. 163-203.

3. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, "The Social, Cultural, Religious and Ethical Implications of Automatic Identification, " in The Seventh International Conference on Electronic Commerce Research, Dallas, Texas, 2004, pp. 432-450.

4. M. G. Michael and K. Michael, "A note on uberveillance, " in From dataveillance to uberveillance and the realpolitik of the transparent society, K. Michael and M. G. Michael, Eds., ed Wollongong: University of Wollongong, 2006, pp. 9-25.

5. M. G. Michael and K. Michael, Eds., Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants (Advances in Human and Social Aspects of Technology. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014.

6. J. Stokes. (2004, October 14, 2004). FDA approves implanted RFID chip for humans. Available: http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2004/10/4305-2/

7. K. Michael, et al., "Microchip Implants for Humans as Unique Identifiers: A Case Study on VeriChip, " in Conference on Ethics, Technology, and Identity, Delft, Netherlands, 2008.

8. K. Opam. (2011, August 22, 2011). RFID Implants Won't Rescue the People Kidnapped in Mexico. Available: http://gizmodo.com/5833237/rfid-implants-wont-work-if-youve-beenkidnapped-in-mexico

9. C. Swedberg. (2005, June 12, 2012). L.A. County Jail to track inmates. Available: http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/1601/1/1

10. F. Vara-Orta. (2012, May 31, 2012). Students will be tracked via chips in IDs. Available: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Students-willbe-tracked-via-chips-in-IDs-3584339.php#ixzz1vszm9Wn4

11. Newstaff. (November 27, 2012, May 13, 2014). Texas School: Judge Overturns Student's Expulsion over RFID Chip. Available: http://www.govtech.com/Texas-School-Wear-RFID-Chip-or-Get-Expelled.html

12. M. Gasson, "ICT implants: The invasive future of identity?, " Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol. 262, pp. 287-295, 2008.

13. K. D. Stephan, et al., "Social Implications of Technology: Past, Present, and Future, " Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 100, pp. 1752-1781 2012.

14. R. Kumar. (2011, June 1, 2012). India's Big RFID Adoption Challenges. Available: http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/8145/1/82/

15. L. Radha, "Deployment of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) at Indian academic libraries: Issues and best practice. , " International Journal of Library and Information Science, vol. 3, pp. 34-37, 2011.

16. H. Saranga, et al. (2010, June 2, 2012). Scope for RFID Implementation in the Indian Auto Components Industry. Available: http://tejasiimb. org/articles/73.php

17. N. LaVigne, "An evaluability assessment of RFID use in correctional settings, " in Final report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, ed. Washington DC: USA, 2006.

18. R. Halberstadt and N. LaVigne, "Evaluating the use of radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology to prevent and investigate sexual assaults in a correctional setting, " The Prison Journal, vol. 91, pp. 227-249, 2011.

19. A. Masters and K. Michael, "Lend me your arms: The use and implications of humancentric RFID, " Electronic Commerce and Applications, vol. 6, pp. 29-39, 2007.

20. K. Albrecht and L. McIntyre, Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move. New York: Plume, 2006.

21. A. Friggieri, et al., "The Legal Ramifications of Microchipping People in the United States of America-A State Legislative Comparison, " in IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS '09), Phoenix, Arizona, 2009.

22. G. G. Assembly. (2010, January 12, 2011). Senate Bill 235. Available: http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009-10/versions/sb235-As-passed-Se nate-5.htm

23. M. G. Michael and K. Michael, "Towards a State of Uberveillance, " IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, vol. 29, pp. 9-16, 2010.

24. S. Rodota and R. Capurro, "Opinion n020: Ethical aspects of ICT Implants in the human body, " in European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologie (EGE), ed, 2005.

25. C. Perakslis and R. Wolk, "Social acceptance of RFID as a biometric security method, " IEEE Symposium on Technology and Society Magazine, vol. 25, pp. 34-42, 2006.

26. C. Perakslis, "Consumer Willingness to Adopt RFID Implants: Do Personality Factors Play a Role in the Acceptance of Uberveillance?, " in Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants, M. G. Michael and K. Michael, Eds., ed Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014, pp. 144-160.

27. A. Donoghue. (2010, March 2, 2010). CeBIT: Quarter Of Germans Happy To Have Chip Implants. Available: http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/cebit-quarter-of-germanshappy-to-have-chip-implants-5590

28. R. Achille, et al., "Ethical Issues to consider for Microchip Implants in Humans, " Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine vol. 3, pp. 77-91, 2012.

29. S. Das. (2009, May 1, 2012). Surveillance: Big Brothers Watching. Available: http://dqindia.ciol.commakesections.asp/09042401.asp

30. M. Krepon and N. Cohn. (2011, May 1, 2012). Crises in South Asia: Trends and Potential Consequences. Available: http://www.stimson.org/books-reports/crises-in-south-Asia-trends-Andconsequences

31. C. Jung, Psychological types. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1923 (1971).

32. M. Rothensee and S. Spiekermann, "Between Extreme Rejection and Cautious Acceptance Consumers' Reactions to RFID-Based IS in Retail, " Science Computer Review, vol. 26, pp. 75-86, 2008.

33. K. Michael and M. G. Michael, "The Future Prospects of Embedded Microchips in Humans as Unique Identifiers: The Risks versus the Rewards, " Media, Culture &Society, vol. 35, pp. 78-86, 2013.

34. WND. (October 2, 2006, May 13, 2014). Employees Get Microchip Implants. Available: http://www.wnd.com/2006/02/34751/

35. K. Michael, "Citywatcher.com, " in Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants, M. G. Michael and K. Michael, Eds., ed Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014, pp. 133-143.

36. K. Michael, et al., "Microchip Implants for Employees in the Workplace: Findings from a Multi-Country Survey of Small Business Owners, " presented at the Surveillance and/in Everyday Life: Monitoring Pasts, Presents and Futures, University of Sydney, NSW, 2012.

37. M. N. Gasson, et al., "Human ICT Implants: Technical, Legal and Ethical Considerations, " in Information Technology and Law Series vol. 23, ed: Springer, 2012, p. 184.

38. S. O. Hansson, "Implant ethics, " Journal of Med Ethics, vol. 31, pp. 519-525, 2005.

39. K. Albrecht, "Microchip-induced tumours in laboratory rodents and dogs: A review of literature, " in Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants, M. G. Michael and K. Michael, Eds., ed Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014, pp. 281-318.

Keywords: Radiofrequency identification, Implants, Educational institutions, Organizations, Access control, Australia, transponders, authorisation, microprocessor chips, organisational aspects, radiofrequency identification, institutional microchips, perceived barriers, microchips implant, transnational study, small business owners, RFID transponders, radio frequency identification transponders, employee ID, chip implants,access control, organizations, chi-square analysis, technological issues, philosophical issues, health issues, religious issues, social issues, digital divide, cultural issues, USA, RFID, radio frequency identification, implants, microchips, uberveillance, barriers, access control, employee identification, security, small business, Australia, India, UK

Citation: Christine Perakslis, Katina Michael, M. G. Michael, Robert Gable, "Perceived barriers for implanting microchips in humans", 2014 IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), Date of Conference: 24-26 June 2014, Date Added to IEEE Xplore: 08 September 2014. DOI: 10.1109/NORBERT.2014.6893929

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

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.

Barriers to RFID Adoption in the Supply Chain

Abstract

This paper will explore the interplay between the retailer's dilemma of product shrinkage and the solutions advocated by RFID vendors and associations to minimise product shrinkage. RFID as an emerging technology holds the potential to fulfil the needs of stakeholders in the supply chain.

Section I.

Introduction

This paper will explore the interplay between the retailer's dilemma of product shrinkage and the solutions advocated by RFID vendors and associations to minimise product shrinkage. RFID as an emerging technology holds the potential to fulfil the needs of stakeholders in the supply chain. The recent ratification of Generation-2 (Gen-2) RFID and the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard developed by Global Standards One (GS1) has greatly influenced the adoption of RFID in certain industries. Despite these current standards supporting the technology, there still remain a number of challenges that prevent RFID appealing to the retail industry. These challenges involve overcoming barriers and inhibitors to the adoption of RFID implementation for the tracking of goods, especially at carton-level and item-level. An important point raised by the retailer's Delicatessen Manager is that “[i]t's hard to keep track of how many items we have in the supermarket.” If so, then why have we not seen a more effective supply chain management (SCM) solution in the Australian retail industry, such as RFID?

Section II.

RFID: The Emerging Technology

Rivalry among businesses leads to the relentless pursuit of competitive advantage. According to research conducted by [1], across all industries 28 percent of organisations are planning to experiment with RFID technologies within the next two years. This interest in RFID technology suggests that it could also be used by retailers for strategic advantage. Consider Michael Porter's [2] theory that well established organisations are in the best position to integrate new technologies with SCM by leveraging existing assets (legacy barcode systems) to further support their investments. In this light, retailers willing to minimise product shrinkage, now have the ability to do so by complementing existing legacy barcode systems and other supply chain processes with RFID. Today, retailers and manufacturers are using RFID technologies to manage their supply chains. U.S. based companies such as Wal-Mart, Tesco, Target, Proctor and Gamble, and Gillette have implemented RFID technologies across their supply chains. According to the RFID vendors and associations involved in this study, RFID is currently used by Chinese and Korean airports, pharmaceutical industries and casino and gambling industries. RFID is a reality in these industries by the support of Gen-2 RFID standard of tag and EPCGlobal for data storage. However, even with the proliferation of RFID across a diverse spectrum of industries, it is yet to engage the Australian retail industry.

Section III.

Methodology

Interview transcripts were combined and then analysed using the Leximancer content analysis software. The program is designed to automatically detect concepts in interview transcripts and create an analysis report or concept map (Figure 1). This map illustrates the interaction between concepts and provides an overview of how concepts relate to one another. The size of a circle which encapsulates a particular concept represents the relative importance of a concept and overlapping circles characterise association or closely allied concepts.

 Figure 1. Leximancer Concept Map

Figure 1. Leximancer Concept Map

The concept map for this study was used to create themes for further discussion topics (Table 1). A total of six major concepts were discovered within the interview transcripts, each ofwhich forms part of this paper.

 Table 1. Discussion themes created from the concept map

Table 1. Discussion themes created from the concept map

A. RFID Interviewees

RFID Vendor: 1 Business Development Manager

RFID Vendor 2: Systems Engineer

RFID Vendor 3: Managing Director

RFID Vendor 4: VP Marketing & Business Development

RFID Vendor 5: Managing Director

RFID Vendor 6: Managing Director

RFID Vendor 7: National Sales Manager

RFID Association

RFID Consultant

RFID Standards Standards Development Coordinator

 

Section IV.

Barriers To Adoption

There are a number of challenges that are currently restraining the proliferation of RFID in the retail industry as a SCM solution and as a means to minimise product shrinkage. These barriers to adoption were identified as cost, lack of awareness, immaturity of RFID technology and differing perceptions of product shrinkage and RFID.

A. Cost

This study revealed through supporting evidence that RFID is currently too expensive to be implemented by a retailer. The retailer's existing application of EAS tags to certain products is cost driven by the unit price or product lines deemed to be high-theft targets. According to the retailer's Loss Prevention Manager (1), cost prohibits the investment of newer generations of RFID at this stage. Although the technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, the cost of various RFID components remains a significant inhibitor to its adoption. It was agreed on by both the retailer and the RFID vendors and associations that cost was the most dominant barrier to the integration of RFID in a retail setting. In addition, RFID was dismissed as a possible SCM solution on most occasions solely based on this factor. As recognised by the Business Development Manager from RFID Vendor (1): “I think it'll take a fairly low cost tag and cost effective reader for them to implement an RFID system… the manufacturers of the technology are doing their best and investing a great amount of money into improving the technology. I think it's only going to get better and it's only going to get more cost effective, which means eventually it will be implemented.”

RFID readers and tags were found to be costly outlays in an RFID implementation. However, RFID tags in a supply chain solution require constant replenishment. RFID readers on the other hand have an initial outlay, but in most cases require little maintenance. A large scale operation, such as integrating RFID within a retail supply chain, requires a large number of RFID tags. Consequently, it was discovered that tags represented the larger expense of the two. The Systems Engineer from RFID Vendor (2) claimed: “[i]t's the tag cost that does sting, especially when you're comparing it to things like barcodes.” The price of an RFID tag is relative to the law of economies of scale. Economies of scale refers to the decreased per unit cost as output increases [3]. In other words, when RFID tags can be produced on a larger scale with less input costs economies of scale are thus achieved. The latest silicon technology and other advancements in RFID are to influence production volumes due to the lower costs of such materials (RFID Vendor 4). As illustrated in Figure 2, as the price of RFID tags fall and become more affordable, the adoption of RFID will increase. As predicted by RFID Vendor (2) “the magic number in the industry is 10 cents a tag” and retailers are more likely to see a return on investment with an RFID solution that is consistently cost effective. Nonetheless, the technology relies on other components rather than readers and tags alone.

 Figure 2. RFID adoption model (cost vs production volume) Adapted (Kleist et al. 2006, p. 39 [4]; Lahiri 2006, p. 230 [5])

Figure 2. RFID adoption model (cost vs production volume) Adapted (Kleist et al. 2006, p. 39 [4]; Lahiri 2006, p. 230 [5])

It is most likely that an RFID solution for a retail supply chain would need to integrate a middleware application.

Middleware was also found to be an expensive component of an RFID system. As suggested by RFID Vendor (4): “you might need to get a middleware company involved like IBM or SAP and that's where your large costs are.” Many vendors were providers of hardware-based solutions and relied on a third party to integrate middleware and the communication between RFID tags and a Warehouse Management System (RFID Vendor 2). It was therefore confirmed that the overall costs involved in an RFID implementation are a barrier to its adoption. The technology may exist to build an RFID solution for a retail supply chain, yet it all comes down to developing business cases (RFID Vendor 3) and improving the general awareness of the technology in the industry.

B. Lack of Awareness

Another commonly occurring concept was ‘think’ which represents the lack of awareness of RFID technology. It was found that the overall awareness of Gen-2 RFID within the retailer studied was generally low. Loss Prevention staff members had a reasonable understanding but failed to recognise the true potential of RFID as a retail SCM solution and an effective loss prevention mechanism. This lack of awareness requires information sources to be directed at retailers to instigate a solution.

The RFID Association involved in the study was a nonprofit organisation, solely established to increase awareness of RFID through communication and forming a knowledge base. An interesting point raised by the RFID Consultant was that RFID “brings different knowledge into the same room” (RFID Association). This suggests that integrating RFID across the supply chain may require more than just the retailer and an RFID vendor. Perhaps other parties need to be involved such as; standards bodies, government departments, product manufacturers, logistics companies, wireless and other innovative technology providers. Forming business consortiums may instigate an alternative driver for RFID.

 Table 2. Australian Demonstrator Project [6]

Table 2. Australian Demonstrator Project [6]

As quoted by RFID Vendor (1), “there really has to be a business case, and I think people really need to understand that”. So far, the Australian retail industry has only witnessed the Australian Demonstrator Project, chiefly conducted by Global Standards One (GS1) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) [6]. The study involved numerous participants (Table 2). As part of a pilot study, these participants set out to discover the benefits of RFID in a retail supply chain environment. The project formed a business case with a principal finding that internal knowledge and the use of standards is essential to a successful RFID implementation [6]. The study also advised that it is important that retailers in search of similar solutions investigate their own business challenges [6]. This could be made possible by forming consortiums and establishing a common goal through forming agreements or industry compliance mandates. A business challenge identified through the research in this thesis was product shrinkage; the retailer's dilemma.

C. Immature Technology

To be become a well established and accepted technology, like barcodes, RFID needs further development. As acknowledged by RFID Vendor (4) retailer's have “got some pretty good systems that have matured over time and it would be difficult to see where RFID could actually improve those systems.” In this instance, the vendor is referring to legacy barcode systems. RFID Vendor (1) also supported this theory: “retailers have invested an immense amount of money in moving their products from their distribution centres out to their stores and they do that quite well in this point in time.” RFID has a long way to go before its proliferation industry wide.

The suppliers of RFID equipment are also limited. For example, the Managing Director of RFID Vendor (5) claimed that his company is the only manufacturer in Australia for ultra long-range active tags. Using advanced battery management technology, similar to that of mobile phones, this type of tag has a battery life of seven to eight years (RFID Vendor 5). As a leading edge technology only recently available to the Australian market, suggests that these tags would most likely be expensive. This is yet another inhibitor to the adoption of RFID.

When asked whether RFID was hype or reality, the RFID Standards Body claimed that it is “somewhere in between”. In the case of Wal-Mart in the United States RFID is a reality (RFID Standards Body). However, in Australia, even though we consider RFID a reality, there are only fifteen major deployments including toll-ways on motor highways (RFID Standards Body). Conversely, RFID Vendor (5) responded: “It's a reality, definitely a reality… there's very, very few people that are actually providing solutions. There are a lot of people that are supplying tags, readers, technology and what have you. But you go and approach them and ask them how to solve a particular problem, they'll go huh? You'll have to go see an integrator to do that. Where are these integrators? So, unfortunately in that regard the industry is in its infancy.

It's only some of the big players that are only interested in the multi billion dollar deals with the likes of the Department of Defence and Wal-Mart, that are really getting into this. Down at the normal level, there are very few players that provide an actual solution. We're one of the few that do.”

In this light, RFID may well be a reality, yet in an Australian context it is still considered to be in its infancy. The barriers to entry expand even further when considering user perceptions of the technology. As this thesis is concerned with product shrinkage as a means to minimise product shrinkage, it was relevant to discover the differing views of product shrinkage and RFID.

Section V.

The Convergence of RFID and Legacy Systems

Australian retailers have invested large amounts of time and capital into refining their existing legacy barcodes systems. What was highlighted by numerous RFID vendors and associations involved in the study, is the inevitable convergence of RFID and barcode systems, suggesting that both technologies be integrated into the retail supply chain.

 Figure 3. Dis(advantages) of Barcode and RFID

Figure 3. Dis(advantages) of Barcode and RFID

Interestingly, The Managing Director (RFID Vendor 6) mentioned that he would be very surprised if bar code systems were ever phased out completely. The future potential for barcodes to operate in conjunction with RFID as a backup system was also envisaged (RFID Vendors 3–6). The RFID Consultant from the RFID Association also stressed the importance of smart labels. A smart label is an adhesive label with a barcode and an RFID tag (Figure 3). This technology is designed to support cross-compatibility between barcode and RFID systems within a supply chain configuration. Dual compatibility of smart labels has required the development of a new standard for data storage.

Technology standards also need to converge if RFID and barcodes are to coexist. The Standards Development Coordinator from the RFID Standards Body was asked about the convergence of UPC, EAN and EPC standards. He explained that EAN and UPC form part of the EPC standard which is known as tag data standards (RFID Standards Body). Uniting barcodes and RFID using smart labels and tag data standards faciliates a transition period from a combined barcode and RFID solution, to RFID only. However, RFID Vendor (6) predicted an ‘RFID only’ solution for a retail supply chain to be highly unlikely. The levels at which RFID tags are to be applied to products and other assets across the retail supply chain is also significant.

 Figure 4. The Barcode and RFID Adoption Lifecycle

Figure 4. The Barcode and RFID Adoption Lifecycle

A. Level of Tagging

RFID tags can be applied to objects at various levels. The three main levels include: item-level, carton-level, pallet-level and container-level (RFID Vendors 1–7; [7]). The most appropriate level of tracking depends on the application and the industry vertical in which a solution is to be implemented (RFID Vendor 2). According to the RFID Standards Body, the most realistic application for a retailer at this stage is carton-level or pallet-level tracking. This type of tracking monitors individual cartons or groups of cartons on a pallet. Other than the inhibitor of cost previously mentioned, item-level tracking is presented with a number of problems including read ranges and the complexity of integration throughout the entire supply chain (RFID Vendor 2; RFID Standards Body). However, the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development (RFID Vendor 4), suggested that item-level tracking is definitely an enabling technology in areas such as; access control and asset tracking but, “it doesn't make sense to put them on cans of beans or on clothes where barcodes are suitable.” Comparison of Characteristics BARCODES RFID Cost Relatively cheap, as the technology is quite mature. Expensive, although costs are expected to drop significantly as uptake increases and economies of scale are created. Ease of Use Simple and easy to use with little or no training required. The removal of human intervention and the level of automation negates any operating difficulties Ongoing Innovations Although barcodes are a mature technology, there are still continual innovations in the technology such as mobile phone barcode scanners and multimedia messaging service (MMS) barcode tickets such as “mobi-ticket”. RFID development is at a relatively immature state which means new applications are continually emerging. Reliability and Accuracy Barcodes are quite reliable and accurate, but are subject to operator mistakes and environmental hindrances. Some initial read reliability and accuracy issues have been discovered through pilots, however these are being solved as the technology matures. The technical nature of RFID and lack of human involvements means that theoretically its reliability and accuracy will be extremely high. Line-of-sight Barcodes are limited by line-of-sight optical scanning. Consequently, objects often have to be manually manipulated through human intervention. The radio nature of RFID means tags can be scanned remotely through packaging. It also leads to simultaneous reading where large numbers of items can be scanned within seconds. Information and Data Properties Traditional barcode symbologies only hold a minimal amount of information. Symbology innovations like two-dimensional (2D) and reduced space symbology (RSS) allow more information to be stored. Their uptake has been limited. Tags can typically hold as little or as much information as required by users, although this is limited by cost. Tags will allow for each individual item in the supply chain to be uniquely identified. In addition to this, tags can be updated as they move along the supply chain creating an audit trail. Environmental Considerations Asset Tracking Inventory Tracking A significant limitation of barcodes is the environment. As barcodes have to be in view of scanners they are subject to damage, weather and other stresses associated with movement across the supply chain. Barcodes can be used to track assets, enabling businesses to monitor the use of many investments such as tools. Limited inventory tracking is available; however, barcodes can generally only specify what type of product an item is, limiting its effectiveness. RFID tags can be very durable with some tags withstanding harsh chemical and extremely high temperatures. They are not subject to weather, nor are they typically damaged by rough handling, as they are stored inside packaging with the product. RFID tags allow organisations to track their assts as they are used. Tags can be attached to returnable items such as beer kegs to help maximise their use. The individual tracking of objects as they move along the supply chain is easy with RFID. The information on tags can also specify a product's expiry date. Inventory Management and Visibility Inventory control is one of the primary reasons for using barcodes in SCM. They provide better visibility, allow management systems to better forecast demands, and manage stock on hand, utilising practices such as just in time inventory management. Once fully deployed, RFID would provide organisations with an accurate picture of inventory levels in real-time. This allows management systems to act with enhanced knowledge and monitor all inventory details to maximise efficiency. Quality Control and Recall Management The inability to track unique items across the supply chain means that recalls and quality control cannot be very accurate. Individual item level management allows organisations to undertake stringent quality control practices and make very specific recalls when required. Tags can also monitor shock and temperature levels to ensure the quality of the end product. Level of Visibility The requirement of manual scanning at many SCM phases limits the availability and timeliness of information. Non-line-of-sight properties allow the continual monitoring of objects, which equates to real-time visibility. Security Barcodes provide limited or no security capabilities. Information rich, always-on tags give organisations the ability to constantly monitor tagged objects. Should an item go missing in the supply chain, systems can immediately initiate the appropriate response. Tags can also authenticate products to ensure they are not counterfeit. Error Reduction Compared to manual data entry, barcodes can reduce errors significantly. However as the scanning of barcodes is a physical process, human error can creep into the process with staff forgetting to scan items. RFID is highly automated and when setup correctly can achieve near perfect read rates. Automation removes the need for human manipulation, further lowering errors. Cost Savings Barcodes can help companies improve inventory management and efficiency; however, the physical scanning requirement of barcodes means that a large labour component is required. Once fully integrated into the supply chain, RFID could substantially lower operating costs and improve efficiency, reducing problems such as out-of-stock occurrences. Labour Considerations Provides a reduction compared to manual data entry, although scanning items still requires a sizable labour contingent. Automation directly eliminates a substantial labour component from SCM. As the technology becomes more pervasive, further labour reduction could be achieved through things like automated checkouts and smart shelves. Deployment Considerations Aside from environmental factors, there are few deployment considerations as the technology is inexpensive and widely used. Radio interference can prove to be a major issue in deployment, requiring numerous pilots and testing. The cost of RFID deployment and training are some other considerations. Established Barcodes are highly developed and are the standard in auto-ID SCM technology. It will be around for quite some time. RFID has a limited number of deployments in SCM. Despite this, recent mandates from leading companies mean that in the near future the technology will be used extensively. Privacy Concerns The barcodes inability to track individual items limits consumer privacy concerns. Tags are information rich and as they are quite durable, they can remain active for the lifetime of many products. The pervasive ‘always-on’ nature of the technology has caused concern among many privacy advocates.

A. RFID Source-tagging

Retailers drive their EAS source-tagging initiative by forming agreements with their suppliers. This initiative currently focuses on EAS anti-theft tags that are applied at point of manufacture and play a minor role in SCM processes. A high-end product may come source-tagged, but the tag's only function is to operate at store entry and exit points solely as an anti-theft mechanism. Consequently, the retailer's Store Trading Manager claimed that EAS does not minimise product shrinkage to a significant level. The enhanced functionality of Gen-2 RFID technology holds the potential to improve business decision making, especially when including all players in a retail supply chain.

Preliminary EAS agreements between suppliers and retailers may create the foundations for future agreements for an RFID enabled supply chain. This topic is closely linked to the notion that awareness and the formation of consortiums play a large role in the tagging of products at the point of manufacture. It was recommended by all RFID vendors and associations involved in this research that a successful RFID implementation requires the participation of all parties involved in a retail supply chain.

Section VI.

Integrating RFID Across the Entire Supply Chain

The levels at which products are to be tagged for distribution across the supply chain needs to be determined for the implementation of an RFID solution. When considering item-level tagging RFID Vendor (4) proposed the following: “[t]he whole benefit of barcodes wasn't established until everything had a barcode on it. So if you're going into a retailer and say I'll tag all the expensive stuff, but I won't tag all the cheap stuff, then they're not really utilising the benefits of RFID, you really have to tag everything, because otherwise you've got to have two systems. A system for the products that are tagged and one for the products that aren't tagged.” This quote suggests that stakeholders of a retail supply chain need to apply tags at item-level to utilise the full potential of RFID. Furthermore, RFID needs to be implemented across the entire supply chain to function in this manner and “[t]hat's where the real effort comes in” assured the Systems Engineer (RFID Vendor 2). Setting up a system at a distribution centre with over thirty truck bays can be extremely complicated (RFID Vendor 2). From a hardware perspective, testing and fine-tuning RFID solutions regularly encounters issues such as cross-over, multiple reads and other types of read errors (RFID Vendor 2). The task becomes “hugely complicated if we're talking about a full supply chain” (RFID Vendor 2).

Section VII.

Conclusion

This paper discussed the current issues surrounding RFID as an emerging technology for a SCM solution and as part of a loss prevention strategy for a retailer. Primary themes discussed the barriers to RFID adoption encompassing the costs involved in a solution, lack of awareness, RFID as an immature technology and the differing perceptions of product shrinkage and RFID. As each barrier to entry was examined, reciprocal relationships were found to exist between the retailer and RFID vendors and associations involved in this study. Investments made by retailers in legacy systems, was found to influence the convergence of RFID and barcodes supported by smart labels and tag data standards. With the various levels of RFID tagging available, it was determined that both pallet-level and carton-level tracking were most appropriate for an Australian retail application. Building upon business cases like the Australian Demonstrator Project and forming consortiums was found as a primary instigator to the future deployments of RFID. Source-tagging products at the point of manufacture was also supported by both the retailer and RFID vendors and associations as a means to minimise product shrinkage at various point across the supply chain, other than point of sale. These types of initiatives are likely to reinforce the overall success of an RFID SCM solution as part of a loss prevention strategy. Finally, it was discovered that the incorporation of retail supply chain stakeholders is critical to the overall effectiveness at which an RFID solution can function in order to minimise product shrinkage.

References

1. C. Bass, "Enterprise Solutions Mean Always Having New Opportunities to Add Value Outlook Point of View", 2003, [online] Available: http://www.accenture.com/NR/rdonlyres/8E86C567-F811-4B6F-B80DAD37D12E9446/0/enterprise_solutions_usltr.pdf.

2. E.M. Porter, "Strategy and the Internet Harvard Business Review", vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 62-79, 2001.

3. D. Besanko, D. Dranove, Schaefer, S. Shanley, "Economics of Strategy" in , Chichester:John Wiley, 2004.

4. R.A. Kleist, T.A. Chapman, D.A. Sakai, B.S. Jarvis, "RFID Labeling: Smart Labeling Concepts and Applications for the Consumer Packaged Goods Supply Chain" in , Irvine:Printronix Inc., pp. 39, 2005.

5. S. Lahiri, "RFID Sourcebook" in Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River:IBM Press, pp. 230, 2006.

6. "EPC Network Australian Demonstrator Project Report", Global Standards One Australia, 2006, [online] Available: http://www.gs1au.org/assets/documents/info/case_studies/case_epc_demo.pdf.

7. J. Borecki, "RFID Overview: Challenges and Opportunities", 2005, [online] Available: http://www.clm-mke.org/Presentations/Borecki%2001-06.pdf.

IEEE Keywords: Radiofrequency identification, Supply chains, Pharmaceutical technology, Supply chain management,Australia, Code standards, Standards development, Information systems, Investments, Manufacturing

INSPEC: supply chain management, radiofrequency identification, product shrinkage, radiofrequency identification, supply chain management

Citation:  Nicholas Huber, Katina Michael, Luke McCathie, Barriers to RFID Adoption in the Supply Chain, 1st Annual RFID Eurasia, 2007, Date of Conference: 5-6 Sept. 2007, Conference Location: Istanbul, Turkey, DOI: 10.1109/RFIDEURASIA.2007.4368128

 

Minimizing Product Shrinkage across the Supply Chain using Radio Frequency Identification

Abstract

This paper identifies the contributing factors of product shrinkage and investigates the current state of anti-theft technology as part of the loss prevention strategy for a major Australian retailer. Using a case study approach a total of eleven interviews were conducted with employees of the retailer to identify factors contributing to product shrinkage and ways to overcome these through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Known sources of product shrinkage included: warehouse discrepancies, internal and external theft, product recalls, shop return fraud, extortion, human and system error, poor stock control, poor rotation of stock, misplaced product items, lost products, product spoilage and damage. Each of the retailer's stores, in the chain of approximately 700, loses about 350000 Australian dollars to product shrinkage every six months. This paper argues that RFID would act as a partial solution toward the minimization of the retailer's product shrinkage and provide greater visibility throughout the supply chain.

Section 1. Introduction

This paper will determine the contributing factors of product shrinkage and investigate the current state of electronic identification as part of a loss prevention strategy in a case study of an Australian retailer. The main method of data collection for the case study was using interviews. In total, eleven interviews were conducted with members of the retailer's Loss Prevention Department, and managers of departments within retail outlets in two regions of New South Wales in Australia. The retailer is currently using barcode systems to identify products, and electronic article surveillance (EAS) as an anti-theft technology. As a key driver to the existence of a loss prevention strategy, product shrinkage and sources which comprise it were identified. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is then proposed as a partial solution to minimize the retailer's product shrinkage. This paper aims to explore how RFID could replace EAS given its superior functionality.

Section 2. Background of the retailer

The grocery retailer chosen for the case is one of Australia's leading supermarket chains, with approximately 270 stores in New South Wales and over 700 Australia wide. Supported by thousands of suppliers, the retailer has over 42,000 product lines on sale to consumers. Product lines include both Australian made consumer goods and internationally imported goods. Goods on sale by the retailer consist of long-life foods (e.g. confectionary, canned fruit, condiments), perishable foods (e.g. vegetables, bread, frozen meals) and general merchandise (e.g. electrical appliances, cosmetics, liquor). Over 100,000 staff members across Australia work together to get products into stores and on displays, which are then purchased by over 13 million customers each week.

Section 3. Methodology

 Product shrinkage

Product shrinkage

The research was conducted using eleven semistructured interviews with employees from Loss Prevention, and various departments within five retail stores. All the interviews were conducted in August and September of 2006. The interviewees had the following job descriptions: Loss Prevention Manager (1), Loss Prevention Investigator, Loss Prevention Manager (2), Liquor Manager, Grocery Manager, Store Services Manager, Store Trading Manager, Store Manager, Delicatessen Manager, Night-fill Captain, and Customer Implementation Executive. Employees within Loss Prevention work as a team to ensure policies and procedures are adhered to at a store level (figure 1). Product shrinkage is considered to be the general indicator of how well a store's loss prevention strategy is performing, or how well it has been executed. Furthermore, the primary motivator of loss prevention is to reduce product shrinkage. As stated by the Loss Prevention Manager (2): “[The Retail Organization] has been fairly focused on shrinkage for the last 5 years.” The interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using the Leximancer computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS). As a tool used to extract main concepts from documents, the researcher was able to use these concepts in the creation of themes to be addressed in the narrative.

Section 4. The retailer's legacy systems

The retailer currently uses barcodes for the automatic identification of products across the supply chain, and EAS for anti-theft purposes as part of a loss prevention strategy. Both systems have distinct functions and operate independently of one another. Barcodes provide a way to record damaged products and identify targeted areas, whereas EAS is used to deter thieves.

4.1 Barcode for product identification

The retailer's barcode system is primarily used to identify products in a variety of daily activities. One of these activities, closely related to loss prevention, is its ability to help keep track of damaged goods. For instance, damaged products can be scanned and automatically declared as ‘damaged goods’, electronically recorded and then disposed of. This process notifies the automatic stock ordering system that products are damaged and need to be re-ordered, thus helping to maintain product availability in the retail outlet. Barcodes can assist in minimizing product shrinkage by recording damaged products but exist primarily to semi-automate supply chain operations. When the Night-fill Captain of one of the retailer's leading stores was asked if barcodes play a role in minimizing product shrinkage, he responded: “[i]t makes you aware of it. It doesn't actually deter or prevent it in any way. It gives you more knowledge of what's going on and where the targeted areas might be.” In other words, stock which has been misplaced or stolen is not readily identified by retail staff As supported by the Loss Prevention Investigator: “[b]arcoding really has no impact. All it does is identify that we have lost something by scanning it at the end of the day.” Furthermore, these targeted areas are usually brought to the retailer's attention once a store has been targeted by a thief or when stock fails to arrive from the distribution centre. It is in this light that barcodes offer knowledge through recording goods as damaged or by identifying targeted areas. As a result, barcodes play a minor role in a loss prevention strategy. EAS however, plays a more active role in loss prevention as an effective deterrent against theft.

4.2 Electronic article surveillance as a theft deterrent at the retail outlet

The retail organization currently utilizes EAS as part of its loss prevention strategy. The system's primary activity is to reduce theft within supermarkets and liquor stores. According to Lahiri (2006), EAS tags are generally unaffected by magnets and are available in various sizes to be applied [1]. The retailer uses a combination of adhesive and reusable EAS tags which are strategically fitted to certain products.

EAS antennas, also known as gateways, are installed at store entrances and exits (Figure 2). When a product with an active tag passes through a gateway, an alarm sounds to notify staff of possible theft. For the retailer's particular application, EAS tags are attached to products at the item-level. Tagged products generally include high theft lines and high dollar value items. Not all products were found to be tagged, in fact, most products were not secured by the EAS system. As expressed by the Loss Prevention Manager (1):

it's what we deem to be high-theft lines and obviously what our stores are recording as known stolen as well. So you look at the high-theft lines as well as the most attractive lines, some of it is going to be cost driven just by the unit price, in terms of what we put an EAS tag on. The retailer is currently testing new reusable EAS tags designed to be attached to liquor bottles.
 Figure 2. EAS tag and EAS gates in a liquor store

Figure 2. EAS tag and EAS gates in a liquor store

Instead of using an adhesive tag, which is easily removed or a tag which is concealed within a packet, reusable tags are encased in high density plastic and manually fitted to products. Attached to the neck of a bottle with a zip locking mechanism, this new type of tag is removed by staff with a decoupling device at point of sale. As revealed by the Loss Prevention Manager (2): “[w]e are running trials at the moment on new tags in our liquor departments in five stores. They have been extremely successful, as they have minimized product shrinkage across our range of spirits by 62%, which is a great result.” Other than the obvious benefit of the tag's ability to be reused, this type of EAS tag has a number of other benefits. The tags are difficult to remove by hand, tagged products ‘standout’ and regularly deter thieves. “Many times I have seen people walk into a store and be overwhelmed by the EAS tagging” explained the Sydney-based liquor manager. The use of reusable tags by the retailer may help to minimize product shrinkage by deterring thieves, however, additional labor is required by retail employees to manually apply and remove tags.

Products bearing adhesive or concealed tags within a product's packaging are either tagged in-store manually by retail employees or source-tagged from the supplier. As revealed by the Store Trading Manager: “ …we have a specific list that we have got to stick to. A lot of the stock actually comes in pre-tagged now.” Source-tagged products provide the only example where EAS is used across the supply chain. However, by the same token, those tags remain idle until they come in contact with an EAS antenna or tag deactivator. As suggested by the Loss Prevention Manager (1), with the help of a recently designated Source Tag Manager the retailer is attempting to extend the ‘source-tagged list’ and push suppliers to tag products at the point of manufacture. Essentially, suppliers then take part in the overall process of applying EAS tags to products which will definitely reduce some overhead costs for the retailer. However despite this, it was found that the retailer's EAS system had a number of inefficiencies.

The retailer's thoughts on the overall performance of the system varied. One of the main questions relating to EAS was whether the technology was considered a deterrent or a total solution. All employees agreed that it was definitely a deterrent and it would be hard to find a total solution. As supported by the Loss Prevention Investigator: “[l]ook as a deterrent, yes. As I said before it's not the be-all and end-all. There's certainly some new stuff coming out.” As part of a loss prevention strategy, EAS was believed to be a deterrent on many occasions. When the Loss Prevention Manager (1) was asked for his opinion, he also said that it was a deterrent: “I wouldn't say it's a total solution. I suppose with any loss prevention initiative or procedure, there are thousands of bricks in the wall and EAS is one of those.” To further support the responses of the loss prevention staff, Lahiri also suggests that RFID is an “effective deterrent against theft” [2]. To be an effective anti-theft solution within a retail environment an EAS system is required to operate consistently and meet the demands of customer traffic. During initial testing phases of EAS systems some time ago, tests were conducted between two major brands. The Loss Prevention Manager (2) was asked whether he was happy with the overall performance of the EAS system: “Not really … I thought ‘X’ performed better than ‘Y’. But unfortunately we have invested in the ‘Y’ system.” This suggests that a retailer may not always consider an EAS system's level of performance a high priority. Other factors, such as the cost of a system may also have a direct effect on the retailer's willingness to invest in an anti-theft solution.

In one particular case, the way in which the system was installed revealed some drawbacks of the technology. When the Liquor Manager from one of the retailer's leading liquor stores was asked if he was happy with the overall performance of the system, he revealed “our gates leading out of our shop into the centre are too far apart, so there is a gap in the middle that can be exploited if you walk down the middle.” He believed that incorrect measurements had been made during the installation of the EAS system and as a result, he was unhappy with the overall performance of the system. An additional view which also supports a negative outlook on EAS was the way in which it can be exploited even when it has been correctly installed and functioning the way it was intended. According to the Loss Prevention Investigator:

Some of the practices of professional thieves and even people that associate with certain people within a community know how to beat EAS systems. The EAS tagging that we have can be ‘beaten’, three or four main ways and good crooks or people that associate with people that target our stores would know those ways of doing it.

This highlights the fact that an EAS system can be exploited by people who know about the technology. It was also understood by the Night-fill Captain that: “people are aware that EAS is out there, people know about it, so they can work around it.” Poor work practices at store level also contribute to the ineffectiveness of EAS. “Store practices have an effect. Double tagging, bending tags past 90 degrees, putting tags behind metal, those sorts of things all detract from the system,” explained the Loss Prevention Investigator. EAS tags are generally damaged because they are applied manually by hand, hence it is important to realize that retail employees play an active role in overall workings of an EAS system.

The Store Trading Manager highlighted the fact that the EAS system requires staff members to work as part of the system. Apart from manually attaching tags to products, staff members must react to the EAS alarm system and act accordingly. She said “I don't think the culture's there for it…” Occasionally staff members at point of sale do not respond to the alarm system appropriately. Employees either fail to respond to an alarm, or when a customer activates the alarm the employee assumes that they did not deactivate a tag and allow the customer to leave the store. In this typical scenario, the employee has not taken into account the possibility that the customer may in fact have a packet of batteries in their bag. The Store Trading Manager claimed that the EAS gates are not monitored properly and responding to the system's alarm is not always enforced by staff supervisors.

Retail employees agreed that EAS plays an important role in their loss prevention strategy. According to the Grocery Manager “at the moment, it's the best it can be.” If the EAS system is operating at an optimum level and in the way in which it was designed, it raises much concern when reflecting back on some of the short comings of the system. The retailer's EAS system may play an active role in minimizing product shrinkage at point of sale, but what about across the entire retail supply chain?

Section 5. Product shrinkage

To ensure stock levels are maintained in-store, an efficient supply chain is required to provide an uninterrupted supply of products for shelf replenishment. However, it is far from unusual to come across an empty shelf in a supermarket. On many occasions, this empty shelf can be directly linked to theft or unsupplied stock due to warehouse discrepancies, both of which contribute to product shrinkage — the retailer's dilemma. When Loss Prevention Manager (2) was asked whether product shrinkage was a major concern to his organization he replied: “[i]t's a huge problem, especially from distribution centre to retail outlet.” This concern reinforces the importance of this issue to the retailer and is fundamental to this study. But from a retailer's perspective, what actually constitutes product shrinkage?

5.1 Factors contributing to shrinkage

From the retailer's perspective, product shrinkage is broken into two main categories: known and unknown. “Loss Prevention Investigator: At the end of each half of the financial year we record an unknown shrinkage which is obviously the difference between our bookstock and our physical counts at stock take times. So there are two separate figures. ǀ Interviewer: So there is known and unknown? ǀ Loss Prevention Investigator: Yes.” The contributing factors of known shrinkage are calculated progressively throughout the financial year by the retailer. For example, the retailer may calculate that 75% of stock was lost due to warehouse discrepancies, 20% due to internal theft and 5% due to other sources. Whereas, the figure found for unknown shrinkage is calculated only twice a year by stock take and can be contributed to by any number of sources. It is significant that unknown sources were the largest contributor to product shrinkage (Store Manager; Store Services Manager).

According to the retailer's Grocery Manager of a supermarket in Sydney's south, product shrinkage is “damaged stock, theft, warehouse discrepancies, paper work errors; not checking stock correctly off invoices, recalled stock and withdrawn stock.” In the retail industry, poor stock control across the supply chain covers misrouted and unsupplied products due the common occurrence known as a warehouse discrepancy. More specifically, it was discovered that warehouse discrepancies were the largest contributor to product shrinkage. “Through experience I would say warehouse discrepancies, that's the biggest one,” explained the Store Trading Manager. A warehouse discrepancy was described as the difference in what the retailer is charged for, and what they actually receive from the warehouse or supplier (Loss Prevention Manager (1); Store Trading Manager). The Grocery Manager further supported this by stating: “[t]he main contributor is warehouse discrepancies and number two would be theft.” In this instance, it was discovered that the two main contributors to product shrinkage were warehouse discrepancies and internal and external theft. Warehouse discrepancies are largely a procedural based problem, as thoroughly explained by the Loss Prevention Manager (1):

Look there's a couple of thoughts on it. There has been some research done in the States, they tend to do most of the loss prevention type research. They tend to think that internal theft is probably the bigger contributor. I don't know if that would be the case, certainly external theft in [region] that I look after, the main core chunk of Sydney from eastern suburbs out to the western suburbs certainly external theft I think plays a bigger part than the actual internal theft. So you've got your internal paperwork errors and procedural errors which result in loss. You've got internal theft and certainly external theft and they're probably the three drivers for shrinkage. But certainly I can say within [region] external theft would probably play the predominant role. But if you look at it on a national basis procedures would probably tend to take over.

From this extract it was therefore discovered that the three main contributors to product shrinkage could be recognized in order of the severity in which they contribute as: (i) warehouse discrepancies (errors due to procedures); (ii) external theft; and (iii) internal theft. In a recent study conducted by the National Retail Security Survey, it was discovered that internal theft caused 46 percent and shoplifting caused 32 percent. This study takes an opposing stance compared to that of the Loss Prevention Manager (1) although external theft encompasses more than shoplifting alone. Figure 3 illustrates the breakdown of known and unknown sources to product shrinkage.

 Figure 3. Contributing factors to product shrinkage

Figure 3. Contributing factors to product shrinkage

5.2 What products commonly constitute shrinkage?

Both high-end products and a variety of other products were found to contribute to product shrinkage. These included: batteries, razor blades, liquor and products from the health and beauty range. Table 1 summarizes the main types of products (including brand names) that were identified by all interviewees as items that constitute product shrinkage.

 Table 1. Products and associated brands often named as contributing to product shrinkage by the retailer

Table 1. Products and associated brands often named as contributing to product shrinkage by the retailer

To support theories upheld by the retailer, similar results were found by the Food Marketing Institute in 2003. It was also discovered that items with a high resale value and items that are easily concealed could go missing at any point across the retail supply chain. The Night-fill Captain of one of the Sydney-based stores said: “[b]asically, it's anything they can get their hands on. If the consumer wants something they'll take it. The size is a variable; it doesn't really matter if they can sneak out of the store they'll get it out. People are pushing trolleys of stock, mountains stock out through liquor, with observant staff catching them, so size isn't really a factor.” However, what are the primary factors that have a direct influence on the possibility of a product being transported to the wrong store or the unknown disappearance of a particular product?

Section 6. Product shrinkage in the supply chain-a process, technology or people problem?

Contributing sources to product shrinkage are considered to originate from a process, technology or people problem. These three factors collectively create the foundation for product shrinkage and its regular occurrence in the retail industry. When the Loss Prevention Manager (1) was asked whether product shrinkage was a process problem, technology problem or people problem, he responded: “[a]ll three would contribute to it in some way.” The following retail based examples in Table 2 are to provide a context in which the three can be understood.

 Table 2. Retail-based Examples of Process, Technology and People Problems in the Supply Chain

Table 2. Retail-based Examples of Process, Technology and People Problems in the Supply Chain

When the Loss Prevention Investigator was asked about his opinion on these three factors affecting product shrinkage, he replied:

I think it encompasses all of it. We certainly have some processes that need to be looked at. The way that our DC [distribution center] is structured, the way that they ship items from there certainly needs to be looked at and will be over a period of time. Obviously, to take out the human side of it would certainly help because unfortunately humans make mistakes and that does certainly cause some errors. The other side of it is theft which is very much a human side of it, people walking in and just stealing from us. And also poor practices in-stores also contribute where we don't follow our processes and procedures.

It was revealed in this case that both processes and people were a primary influence to the many sources of product shrinkage. The retailer was concerned about the processes involved at the distribution centre when organizing the transportation of goods across the retail supply chain. In addition, human error, poor practices in-store and theft were recognized as being contributors to the problem of product shrinkage.

The Store Services Manager also identified the issue of poor procedures when receiving goods at the back-dock as a process problem. “[T]here is no way that you can physically scan every item that comes in on the load. There's no way.” Employees involved in the study were asked when their superiors begin to ask questions about loss. As emphasized by the Store Trading Manager, based on previous audits a product shrinkage figure is predicted for each individual store: “[s]o if it's over that, then they will definitely come in and investigate and usually the first thing they look at is systems and procedures in the store. If they're not right then it's automatically the store's responsibility to get it right.” It was certainly recognized that procedures, closely connected to processes are critical in minimizing product shrinkage levels. These three factors may influence product shrinkage levels, but whereabouts does it occur across the retail supply chain?

Section 7. Where does product shrinkage occur?

Stores within each of the retailer's regions receive goods from both company owned warehouses and third party suppliers. Company owned warehouses consist of one regional distribution center (RDC) and five local distribution centers (DC). An RDC may supply products to hundreds of retail outlets, whereas a DC will only deliver goods to a designated region. The majority of stock is supplied from company owned distribution centers, yet interestingly there are more third party suppliers. Third party suppliers are external to the retailer and are known as direct suppliers. The retailer engages in hundreds of transactions with suppliers daily. All stock is ordered using an automatic stock ordering system. It was estimated by the Store Manager that approximately 200 transactions are made daily between his store and its suppliers. The Loss Prevention Manager (1) stated that a “continuous electronic barrage of orders” is required to keep retail outlets fully stocked in order to satisfy customer demands. Coordinating these orders across the entire retail supply chain and scheduling deliveries is an enormous task performed by the retailer using its warehouse and logistics services. During this process, product shrinkage occurs at various points, whether it be at the distribution centre, in-transit, or when a delivery is received by a back-dock attendant at a retail outlet. When the Loss Prevention Manager (1) was asked where most product shrinkage occurs across the retail supply chain he replied:

Look we are aware that you can have theft issues with truck drivers. Truck seals aren't put on, we know stock can go missing. We have had instances where drivers have been caught. I suppose our processes are not conducive to checking, so you're relying on what the DC says that they send you, is in fact what you are receiving. So if you have a store that has 10 palettes of stock delivered from a DC, unless we pick-up at store level the fact that we're missing something and it's pretty hard if you've got 10 palettes of stock, night-fill come in and fill it. Unless you do a line-by-line check, how do you know what's missing? And certainly the stores put in an order for X-amount we're trusting that that store will get X-amount, if they don't, a lot of that tends to go uncaptured. If you look at the case of say [Cold-Storage Logistics Company] which is one of our external suppliers, they warehouse it and distribute our cold stock, but there's massive issues with them. It's not uncommon for a load to come in several thousand dollars short. Do we pickup on that fact? No, we don't. Because it comes in, it goes into a cool room and then night-fill or then your perishable people will come through and fill, it's pretty hard to pickup on the fact that you're short on a line, it might be a couple of days down the track and you might say where's that? You then go through and make your stock adjustments so [automatic stock ordering system] will then reorder it, but by that time it's too late to put in a discrepancy. Big problems with [Cold Storage Logistics Company], the sooner that comes in-house so we get some better control of it the better.

Issues raised here by the Loss Prevention Manager are critical when recognizing the contributing factors of product shrinkage. Contributing factors across the retail supply chain include: (i) internal/external theft by vehicle drivers; (ii) assuming deliveries are correct; (iii) not realizing deliveries are missing stock; (iv) being too late to notify the automatic stock ordering system of a discrepancy; and (v) problems with direct suppliers e.g. the retailer's direct supplier of cold goods. These factors reveal that product shrinkage occurs at various points across the supply chain. The Liquor Manager also believes when an order made by the automatic stock ordering system is picked at the warehouse, the incorrect amount or type of product is often dispatched. Inconvenient and time consuming tasks, such as the process of having to return an incorrect order, are then necessary. Incorrect orders may require additional labor intensive tasks to be performed, however, there are more serious consequences that accompany product shrinkage.

7.1 The consequences of product shrinkage

There are a number of consequences that are directly related to product shrinkage. The primary consequence of product shrinkage is financial loss. When asked how much stock is lost over a period of 12 months, the Loss Prevention Manager (1) replied: “its millions of dollars in unknown shrinkage.” Product shrinkage is a relentless force in the retail industry and the loss it causes is extremely high. When the Loss Prevention Investigator was asked how much stock is lost, he said: “[s]ome stores will lose as little as 350,000 in six months.” In the Store Trading Manager's experience, unknown product shrinkage totaled $360,000 for a period of six months. Apart from the direct financial loss incurred other forms of loss involve additional costs (e.g. EAS systems, loss prevention staff), additional labor (e.g. security guards, manually applying EAS tags), and out of stocks (e.g. empty shelves effects sales levels and customer satisfaction). According to the Grocery Manager, due to theft alone prices can rise up to 15 percent ultimately affecting customers. If products can be accurately tracked across the supply chain it is anticipated that it will have a direct effect on product shrinkage.

Section 8. Tracking products across the supply chain

The retailer currently tracks products across the retail supply chain using a combination of barcodes and manual paper work procedures. When asked how products were tracked from distribution centre to retail outlet, the Store Trading Manager replied: “there's that big void in the middle where an order goes onto the load list and we can check it line-by-line if we want, but we just don't have the man power. It's not a standard thing that you check a load list line-by-line and given that here they get 30 to 35 pallets a night.” As this employee suggests, it is unfeasible to count each individual carton of a large delivery using existing procedures.

The distribution centre coordinates the largest deliveries to be transported to the retail outlet. Currently, employees rely on the DC to select the desired goods and ship them accordingly. The current system has the ability to track products to a certain extent, but acknowledged by the Grocery Manager “it's not 100% accurate, probably because they're expecting people at the warehouse to do it correctly.” As the DC is responsible for other discrepancies, it can be assumed that other procedures carried out at the same site are also heavily flawed. Deliveries may arrive at a store's back-dock missing a number of products, so how are products monitored during transportation?

The retailer uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as a means to track vehicles across the supply chain. Using a pre-planned route, GPS-enabled trucks are tracked from the distribution centre to the retail outlet. The system is designed to provide the geographical position of the truck during the transportation of goods. However, GPS does not provide information regarding the status of goods onboard. A number of voids exist across the retail supply chain where products fail to be accurately tracked. When asked if products were tracked across the supply chain, the Loss Prevention Manager (1) said: “[p]roducts aren't tracked. If you're talking about electronic tracking or things like that, then no.” In this response, the Loss Prevention Manager (1) is referring to new RFID systems designed to track products across the supply chain.

Section 9. The retailer's perceptions of RFID

Employees of the retailer were asked if they were aware of the latest RFID systems and their benefits. It was found that employees involved in the study had a positive outlook on new RFID technologies yet were unaware of the technologies' commonly reported primary benefits. Loss prevention employees had a far better understanding of the technology than managers from other departments. As explained by the Loss Prevention Manager (1): “I have a basic understanding. There are all sorts of things product tracking, inventory management, there's a whole range of things.” Furthermore, he explained:

I haven't done any research in it, there would be a whole range of things. There'd be all sorts of cost benefits there I would assume in inventory management right down to even, we may even be able to know the product size and weights in terms of transport we'd be able to work out to the nearest cubic centimeter how much stock we can fit on a truck. Whether we are being over charged in transport costs, for weight or pallet space or size, they'd probably be a whole range of hidden benefits there that you probably haven't even thought of before.

It was interesting to discover that loss prevention managers focused on secondary benefits of the technology. Rather than its ability to provide total visibility of stock across the supply chain and ultimately a means to minimize product shrinkage, employees concentrated on some of the benefits it could bring to point of sale. For example, the Loss Prevention Manager (1) recognized that “you can put X-amount of stock in a trolley with RFID that are all tagged, pass it through some antennas and you know exactly what went out of the store and if it was paid for.”

The Store Trading Manager claimed to have little knowledge of RFID as a technology with the ability to track products across the supply chain. However, she declared that it would definitely benefit the retailer as it would “probably reduce our shrinkage by a huge amount, not to mention the time spent actually adjusting the stock on hand because there have been miss-picks and things haven't gone right.” In this instance, the Store Trading Manager not only suggests that RFID is likely to minimize product shrinkage, but also the manual procedures. The Store Services Manager also had an appreciation for the technologies' ability to minimize manual procedures at store level. She claimed that less labor would be required when manually stamping products with the store stamp as a new RFID system would require suppliers to do it at the product's point of manufacture. She also believed that if the retailer was to implement an RFID system that its imperative that suppliers also be part of the overall system as “[i]t would be of no benefit otherwise.” The Store Services Manager believed that if such a system was introduced, their suppliers would most likely comply: “[t]he suppliers usually do come into line with any new systems that we are bringing in so I couldn't see that there would be a problem.” She also highlighted the fact that RFID tagging would most probably have an effect on the total price of a product, but she believed that this increase could be counteracted if product shrinkage was kept to a minimum.

An organization willing to adopt a new RFID system must be able to see potential for a return on investment (ROI). When the Loss Prevention Manager (1) was asked whether he thought the retailer would ever be interested in investing in an RFID solution he responded: “[t]here's always that cost versus benefit exercise and if the sums are right, then yes.” As identified by Global Standards One, in the case study called the Australian Demonstrator Project (which claimed to be Australia's first case study), it was revealed that it is “necessary to estimate the potential benefit that will come from deploying RFID and improving the business process using the data that the system provides” [2]. It is in this light, that testing an RFID system is highly recommended prior to total rollout as it assists in building an expected ROI.

Section 10. Conclusion

It was discovered that the retail organization currently utilizes two technologies as part of a loss prevention strategy; a barcode auto-ID system and an EAS anti-theft system. Operating independently, it was revealed that both technologies possess a number of limitations which consequently present adverse challenges to the retailer. The barcode system can record damaged products and detect targeted products or areas, yet the technology plays a minor role as part of the retailer's loss prevention strategy. Even though the retailer was currently testing a new EAS system throughout five liquor stores, the technology was still considered a deterrent rather than a total solution. It was also discovered that professional thieves avoid triggering the alarm using a variety of methods and staff members regularly neglect standard procedures readily relied on by the EAS system. These inadequacies expose a weakness in the retailer's loss prevention strategy as a result effecting product shrinkage levels. Made up by contributing sources, the two main categories of product shrinkage identified were known and unknown, with unknown representing a larger value of the two. Contributing factors to product shrinkage were found to come from a diverse range of sources and through various activities. Warehouse discrepancies and theft were identified as the two highest sources of product shrinkage. Whether it involved a standard company procedure or an illegal activity, it was found that during most of these events provisions were lacking to effectively counteract these activities. It was verified, particularly by loss prevention staff members that all sources originated from the combination of three factors; process, technology and people. Furthermore, the loss prevention department claimed that product shrinkage across the supply chain was one of the department's main challenges, especially when transferring goods from distribution centers to retail outlets. This dilemma necessitates an alternative solution be found to minimize product shrinkage across the retail supply chain.

References

1. S. Lahiri, RFID Sourcebook, Upper Saddle River:IBM Press, Pearson Education, pp. 77, 2006.

2. Australia (2006) EPC Network Australian Demonstrator Project Report, September 2006.

IEEE Keywords: Supply chains, Radiofrequency identification, Australia, Marketing and sales, Information systems, Humans, Error correction, Control systems, Merchandise, Electrical products

INSPEC: supply chain management, business data processing, fraud, radiofrequency identification, stock control, RFID, product shrinkage across minimization, supply chain, major Australian retailer, anti-theft technology, loss prevention, radio frequency identification technology, internal theft, external theft, shop return fraud, poor stock control, poor stock rotation, lost products, product spoilage

Citation: Nick Huber, Katina Michael, 2007, "Minimizing Product Shrinkage across the Supply Chain using Radio Frequency Identification: a Case Study on a Major Australian Retailer", ICMB 2007. International Conference on the Management of Mobile Business, 2007, 9-11 July 2007, DOI: 10.1109/ICMB.2007.43

Beyond Mere Compliance of RFID Regulations by the Farming Community

Abstract

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is changing the face of livestock identification and management. Beyond satisfying the regulations of government agencies for livestock to be a part of a national identification system for tracking purposes, farmers are now considering venturing beyond mere basic compliance systems. Once installed, farmers have begun to realize that their initial capital investment into an RFID system holds great strategic potential. The initial outlay while substantial is a once only cost that with a few more application-centric uses can yield a return on investment manifold. This paper presents a case study of the Cochrane Dairy Farm situated on the New South Wales South Coast. The case study shows that the Cochrane Dairy farm utilizes advanced total farm management techniques that will before too long lead to greater dividends. The contribution of this paper is in presenting how a dairy farm has adopted RFID initially to meet government directives, and then for broader more personalized requirements. Farming processes are defined explicitly and the paper points to encourage other farmers to consider adoption of RFID beyond the need for compliance and toward the perspective of longer term productivity and strategic visibility.

Section 1.

Introduction

This case study was undertaken on the Cochrane dairy farm, located in Pyree on the New South Wales South Coast. This farm has been selected as the case study, as it has a substantial use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, and is well-known in the region as one of the most advanced RFID setups. As the farm also utilizes RFID tags that are compliant with Australia's NLIS (National Livestock Identification System), the farm provides an applicable example of how participants in this system can derive additional benefits through the use of RFID on their dairy farms.

Section 2.

Previous literature

Articles by Ishmael [1] and Karnjanatwe [2] provide a glimpse of the possibilities for utilizing electronic identification for enhanced farm management, however these articles are not focused upon the dairy farm industry, nor do they provide an in-depth look at the total farm management operations used at these farms. Ishmael (2001) tells of the economic benefits achieved by a group of farmers resulting from the utilization of RFID technology to provide individual identification and subsequently enhanced farm management operations on their beef farm in America. Karnjanatwe (2005) provides an insight into an actual application of RFID technologies used to enable enhanced farm management of pigs, such as automating the feeding process and regulating how much each pig eats. Geers et al. [3] do likewise, devoting a chapter to the electronic identification of farm animals, however this chapter does not have a dairy industry focus. Geers et al. demonstrate the growing awareness and importance of electronic identification for farm management. Considering improved disease and fraud controls, combined with the desirable and dominant cost-benefit ratio that can be derived from the utilization of electronic identification for farm management, Geers et al. (pp. 26–28) provide a clear message that electronic identification is the likely path of animal identification in the future. Michael's unpublished thesis [4] further supports this view. A section (pp. 249–250) regarding animal identification using RFID demonstrates that traditional forms of animal identification are considered inferior in comparison to RFID technology. James [5] and Davies [6] provide more information on deriving benefits specifically related to the dairy industry, however also lack depth and explanations of the farm management practices undertaken to gain these benefits. James states how electronic identification can be used to reduce the labor required for the milking process, providing large cost savings, while Davies demonstrates the ability to improve the quality of milk yields through controlled feeding processes based on electronic identification.

Section 3.

The case study - the Cochrane Dairy

The Cochrane dairy is a family-run business, operated by partners Geoff and Cathy Cochrane, their children, and one farm hand. The farm's core business function is dairy, however they have recently diversified, and begun experimenting with rearing steers until they are 2 or 3 years old. The Pyree farm is one of several properties in the region owned by the Cochranes'. Established on approximately 360 acres, the Pyree farm supports around 350 head of lactating Illawarra cattle (their full herd size is approximately 420 including the dry cows they have on their other properties). All cows in the herd have a National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) compliant RFID tag attached to their right ear. This tag is applied to calves immediately (0–4 days) after birth, and plays an integral role in the total farm management operations of this farm.

3.1 The cows and the tags

This RFID tag is utilized to aid in farm management operations from early in a cows' life. For a new born calf these tags are first utilized merely weeks after birth, as they provide the identification mechanism to enable automated calf feeding. Later in the cows' life (when they enter lactation), the RFID tags are also utilized in the dairy to identify each cow as she walks into the milking parlor. This identification subsequently facilitates a number of functions within the dairy. As each cow exits the dairy, these tags are also utilized to facilitate the use of automatic drafting sates.

 Exhibit 1. NLIS RFID Tag on Livestock

Exhibit 1. NLIS RFID Tag on Livestock

Exhibit 1 shows a separate plastic identification tag is also placed in the cow's right ear (traditional tag), which displays the cows on farm identification number (as opposed to the RFID tag number). This number is allocated by the Cochranes' at the time of a cow's birth, and used to identify the cow in relation to their own herd. These tags provide farmers with an important immediate visual identification mechanism for each cow. It is traditionally one of the most common forms of identifying cows on farms that are not utilizing RFID. Additionally, the Cochranes' are maintaining the use of these tags in order to comply with NLIS regulations, which state that farmers must maintain the use of either a tail or ear tag as a secondary identification mechanism until the 1st of January 2006 [7].

3.2 Herd management software

The software application adopted by the Cochranes' is Dairy 2000, and is produced by Victorian company OnFarm Electronics. As with most implementations, Dairy 2000 has been specifically tailored to suite the data storage and herd management needs of the dairy industry, and provides the ability to store information pertaining to each individual cow in the Cochrane herd.

3.3 The dairy

The current dairy was built approximately two years ago, and features a twenty-five a-side Herringbone milking parlor (25 bails on each side, therefore catering for up to 50 cows at once). The dairy features a high degree of automation, some of which is combined with RFID technology, while others are triggered by manual actions. The dairy contains the following features: an RFID reader upon entry to the milking parlor; an automated entry gate opening and closing; feed bins above bails; feed troughs for each milking bail; a rotating bail entry blockers; two LCD computer screens (displaying cow information); an audio speaker (to provide audio notification of particular cow attributes); a set of milking cups for each milking bail; milking controller units for each set of milking cups; automated raising of the feed trough to allow cows to exit milking parlor; RFID reader upon exit to the dairy; drafting gates associated with RFID reader upon exit to dairy; and multiple high pressure hoses throughout.

3.4 Milking times and operators

Milking takes place twice daily on this farm – firstly, at 5am, and secondly at 3pm. Each milking session takes approximately two hours, and is conducted by two operators.

Section 4.

Milking procedure

The milking procedure of the Cochrane dairy is one major area gaining benefits from the use of RFID. A detailed examination of this procedure grants insight into how RFID is currently being utilized.

Dairy preparation

Prior to milking, one operator prepares the dairy for milking. This involves ensuring the equipment is clean and ready, and that the computer system is ready for operation.

Move fresh calves to be with their mother

Fresh calves (new born calves) require their mother's milk for the first few days of their lives. The Cochranes' facilitate this by moving the fresh cows into a pen with their natural mother. The calves can then suckle their mother for milk while the milking in the dairy is conducted.

Round-up cattle – Move cattle to dairy holding area

While the cows are approaching the dairy, both operators spend time observing the herd for any signs of cows that may be on heat. If the operators determine a cow to be on heat, they will record her identification number (from the visual identification tag placed in her ear beside the RFID tag). If this cow is determined to be beyond their first 60 days of lactation, the operators will then record this cow number into the nearby computer and select it to be drafted when it exits the dairy (where the cow will then be artificially inseminated). After the cows reach the holding area, both operators finalize the preparations for milking. The gate to the holding area is then closed by an operator (ensuring the cows to be milked are retained in the holding area), before re-entering the dairy, ready for milking to begin.

Operator presses button – opens milking parlor entry gate

Operator presses button to open the milking parlor entry gate - gates open automatically.

Cows enter milking parlor – pass through RFID reader

Cows enter the milking parlor in single file, passing through a permanent RFID reader installed on the entry gates. This reader retrieves the identification number from the RFID tags attached to the ear of each cow. This unique identification number is then used to gather data pertaining to each cow from the central database.

Individual cattle information displayed on computer screen – audio readout to alert milkers of cattle requiring particular attention

As each cow passes through the RFID reader, their individual information is displayed on the two computer screens located in the dairy. These screens provide a selection of information pertaining to each cow. This information is drawn from the central herd management database, and the user is able to specify the specific fields of information to be displayed on the screen. The cows are listed in rows, with their characteristics displayed in the corresponding columns.

Cows with attributes requiring particular attention from the operators are highlighted with various colors on the computer screen. For example, slow milking cows are highlighted in red on the computer screen, cows that have freshly calved are highlighted in yellow etc. For these cows, an audio readout is also generated from the computer system, providing a verbal signal to aid in identifying cows requiring particular attention. This allows the operators to better plan their milking approach for a batch of cows, and aids to ensure they take the required actions. For example, the operators will begin to milk the slow milking cows before the others, thus aiding in efficiency for each batch of cows.

For freshly calved cows, and cows that have had a penicillin injection, the operator will also attach the milking cups to a separate holding drum. This effectively separates specific cow's milk from the main milk, allowing it to be thrown away after milking.

Cows enter bails in consecutive order

Cows enter their bails in sequential order (from one to twenty-five). The order in which they enter bails is enforced by having each bail blocked when the cows first enter. The only bail available for entry is the end bail (number 1). When a cow enters this bail, it will push forward a rotating bar. This will subsequently rotate and open the next bail (bail number 2). Enforcing this sequencing process allows the computer to establish which bail number each cow will enter as they are read.

When bails full, entry gate closed

By reading each cows' RFID tag as she enters the dairy, the computer system is able to determine when twenty-five cows have moved into the dairy. Thus, when a side is full, the entry gate automatically closes. This prevents other cows from entering the milking parlor during milking.

Rationed feed automatically dropped into individual bail troughs

Approximately 40 seconds after the cows have passed through the reader (enough time for them to reach their bail); the feed is automatically dispensed from feed holders above the bails. The amount of feed given to each cow varies according to her production and lactation cycle.

Roughly, a cow producing 50 liters or more per milking session (extremely high) will receive 12 kilograms of feed. Those producing approximately 30 liters will receive 8 kilograms, 20 liters will receive 6 kilograms, and finally, those producing 12 liters or less per milking will be provided 2 kilograms of feed during the milking session. Production amounts in between these boundaries will receive an amount of feed rationed to their exact production.

Once a cow has passed their 150th day of their 300 day lactation cycle, they are considered to have past their peak production abilities. As such, the feed provided is then gradually decreased to only 75% of the figures provided above. As a cow passes the 250th day of lactation, they are considered to be well past their peak production capacity, and the feed is again gradually decreased to 50% of the above provided figures, so as to gradually wean the cow off this food supply. This 50% of the original stated amount is then maintained until the cow is dry and thus does not return to the dairy.

The data regarding how much milk each cow is producing is extracted from the central herd management database (this data is recorded by Dairy Express herd recording services) according to the cow's unique RFID identification number. This rationing of feed ensures that cows are provided the nutrients they require to continue their milk production.

When a cow enters the dairy for the first milking of her new lactation cycle, the automatic feeder also starts this cow at a low amount of feed (approximately 1 kilogram). The amount of feed is then gradually increased over a 20 day period, up to a standard 8 kilograms of feed. This feed is then maintained until the cows production capacity is measured (through the use of Dairy Express herd recording), and her amount of feed is then determined by this figure. This gradual incrementing of feed is required so as to allow time for the cow to develop the required bacteria in their stomachs to handle the wheat and grain in the feed.

Operators take any special actions that may be required

As the cows enter their bails, operators are able to take any required action on cows. For example, if a cow has had a penicillin injection in the last few days, their milk must be disposed of, as it is not suitable for consumption by any animal. Other actions that may be required include attaching the milk pipes for specific cows to a secondary milk vat. This vat is used to store milk that the Cochranes' consider second grade milk, and is later used to feed the calves via the automatic calf milking machine. Therefore, to maximize the quality of the milk provided to the manufacturer (in this case Dairy Farmers), the Cochranes' separate the lower quality milk. Thus, this separation and use of secondary milk maximizes the use of produced milk and provides enhanced benefits for the farmer.

Operators attach cups to teats – milking automatically begins

Operator presses lever to begin milking pulsation and suction within milking cups before attaching these cups to the teats of a cow. For slow milking cows, the operator will often begin the milking process by hand, so as to get the milk flowing. For the majority of cows, the cups are simply attached to all four teats however, some cows may have problems with a specific teat on their udder, may have had one teat dried off for a particular reason, or are currently being treated for a disease in a teat. Cows requiring these varied actions are identified by colored leg bands that are attached to the legs of cows using Velcro straps. The color and placement of the leg band signifies the position of the problem teat on this cow, and how the milking operator should conduct milking for her. It is up to the operators to recognize these leg bands and combinations, and to not apply milking cups to the teat identified as having the problem. Cows that have had a penicillin injection are identified with a single leg band (utilizing the color and placement code previously described to identify the problem teat), as well as blue spray paint on the back part of their udder.

Operators tend to any issues that may arise

Occasionally unpredictable events will occur that will require the operator's attention. These events include cows kicking the milking cups off before they have finished milking, cups not retracting correctly when milking completed, slow milkers may require a check to ensure they have provided all of their milk (requiring a manual feel of the milk left in the teat). The milk line filter is then placed in the milk line between the milking cups and the main milk flow line that leads to the milk storage vat. As milking is being conducted, milk flows through this filter before it enters the main milk flow line, thus aiding to remove any impurities in the milk. Additionally, as this filter is associated with each individual milking bail, this filter is a good indicator of the milk quality being provided by the cow in that milking bail.

Milking completes – cups fall from teat

The milking cups automatically detect when the cow has finished giving milk. As they fall from the teat a piece of cord linking the milking cups to the base of the milking controller unit will retract, thus raising the cups to a stationary position – keeping them off the floor and at a position ready for attachment on the next cow.

Operators spray disinfectant onto teats

As cows finish milking, operators spray an iodine-based disinfectant onto cow teats.

Operators spray homeopathy onto udders of specially marked cattle

While the process of spraying disinfectant onto teats is being conducted, homeopathy is also applied to the udders of those cows identified as requiring the treatment.

Clean equipment if ill cow just used

If a cow with an illness has just been milked, the operators clean the inside of the milking cups that were used on that cow.

Operator presses button, feed troughs lift to release cattle

When all cows in the row have completed milking, all additional actions taken, the operator is free to release the row of cows. This is achieved by pressing the designated release button. Pressing this button triggers the feeding bails that are currently placed in front of the cows to automatically be brought backward and raised into the air. This enables the cows to move out of their bails in a forward direction, underneath the feed bails. Once they have moved far enough out of their bails, the operator presses the lower button to bring the feeding bails back to the feeding position and ready to hold the next group of cows.

Cattle exit dairy at own will – pass through drafting gates upon exit

Once they have moved beyond the bails, cows may exit the dairy at their own will. As the cows are not occupying the bails, the operators can immediately bring in the next group of cows for milking into that row, thus aiding to save time and effort for the operators. As the cows exit the dairy, they again move single-file through a drafting gate.

RFID readers linked to drafting gates identify individual cows

An RFID reader is placed slightly in front of these drafting gates to determine the identity of each cow before they enter the gates. This reader attains the unique identification number from each cow's RFID tag, and utilizes this number to query the database and derives information relating to the direction in which the current cow should be directed.

Drafting gates react to individual cows – move to direct cow to holding paddock or back to grazing paddock

From the information gathered on each cow, the drafting gates will move to direct the cow to the desired area. By default, these gates point straight ahead to the grazing paddock but if a cow has been selected to be drafted out of the main group, then the drafting gates will move to direct a cow either to small holding paddocks on the left or right. When a cow that has been selected for drafting is recognized by the RFID reader, two flipper gates will rotate to block entry to the drafting gate for this cow. This gate prevents the selected cow from entering the drafting gate section until it has completely changed direction, and is ready to lead the selected cow directly to their designated paddock. Visual detection devices are utilized on the entry to the drafting gates to ensure that the cow that was read previous to the currently selected cow is clear of these gates before they close.

Repeat process until all cows milked

This completes the milking process for a batch of cows (one row of 25 cows). This process is then repeated for the remainder of the herd (approximately 300 cows), and is conducted on both sides of the milking parlor (enabling the dairy to cater for 50 cows at once). Each row of the dairy can be at a different stage of this process, thus aiding to maximize efficiency in milking – i.e. on one side of the dairy the operators may begin attaching milking cups to the cows, while the cows on the other side are moving in or out of their bails (where human intervention is not required).

Clean dairy

Once all cows in the herd have been milked and moved out of the dairy, the cleaning process begins. This involves thoroughly washing out the dairy floor and milking area, flushing out the faeces catcher, and hosing down any other areas that may have been dirtied, including the outside of the milking cups. Automatic cleaning of the milking equipment is then undertaken. To facilitate this, the milking operators place each set of milking cups onto their holding rack (four fixed prongs). A milking operator can then exit the milking parlor, and select on the central milking controlling computer to begin the cleaning cycle for the dairy equipment. This cleaning process involves pumping a range of chemicals (including alkaline and acid) throughout all pipes and milking equipment through which milk flows. The milking operators can then exit the dairy, and leave the cleaning process to manage itself.

Move secondary milk to calf feeder

The milk that was pumped to the secondary vat (milk taken from cows considered to be giving secondary quality milk) is then transported from the dairy to the calf feeding area.

Take required action on drafted cattle

Once the dairy has been cleaned, the required action is then taken on the drafted cattle before releasing them to return to the grazing paddock with the rest of the herd.

Section 5.

Automatic calf feeder

The other key area in which RFID is utilized on the Cochrane farm is for the important process of calf feeding. To undertake this task, the Cochranes' have implemented an automatic calf feeder. This feeder utilizes a calves' RFID tag to gain their unique RFID identification number and regulate the amount of milk being provided to each calf on a daily basis. The automatic calf feeder dispenses milk through an artificial teat, which the calves suckle to gain the milk. Calves access this teat by walking into an entry gate (barrier) that ensures only one calf has access to the teat at any one time. As they approach the teat through this walkway, an RFID reader built in to the walkway gains the identification number of the calf from the RFID tag in its right ear. This number is then used to retrieve data regarding the amount of milk this calf is allowed to drink over a 24-hour period, and how much of this they have consumed already. If they have already drunk their full quota of milk over the past 24 hours, no milk will be supplied to the fake teat. This ensures that calves do not drink excessive amounts of milk. However, if they have not drunk their full quota, they will be provided with more milk until they reach this full quota. The calf feeder at the Cochrane dairy provides two separate milking points for feeding, thus enabling two calves to be fed at once. When the calf is first introduced to the calf feeder (from around 4–7 days after birth – before which they feed from their mother), they are provided 4 liters a day. As they grow older, they are gradually allowed more, up to a maximum of 7 liters. After approximately three months on the calf feeder, the calves will join the rest of the cows in the grazing paddocks, where they will not receive this supply. The calf feeder allows the farmers to view the amount of milk that any specific calf is drinking through a simple screen attached to the machine. This feature is highly useful, and the operators frequently utilize this to check that calves are drinking most, if not all of their allocated amount of milk.

To introduce a new calf to the feeding machine, the operator simply sets the mode on the calf feeder to record new calf. They then swipe the RFID identification tag passed the RFID reader in the feeder entry, and that calf is immediately registered.

Section 6.

Herd information storage and retrieval

The Cochrane dairy utilizes the Dairy 2000 software application to assist in their herd management operations. This software has the ability to store data on a range of characteristics for each cow, such as the date of artificial insemination, date calved (date a cow gave birth to a calf), treatments (such a penicillin), milking rates etc., as well as a range of data that may assist in facilitating herd management. As such, this software is able to provide an entire history of any particular cow. This data can be easily accessed and updated based on a cow's unique RFID tag number, or also by the cow's unique farm number as assigned by the Cochrane farm. This software application is the underlying component of all of the RFID operations of the dairy. The data contained in this program is accessed by the RFID readers and utilized to facilitate the relevant automation operations, such as deciding on the amount of feed to be provided to a cow etc. It also provides the interface to display individual cow data to the milking operators in the dairy during milking.

The Cochranes' also utilize 2 manual entry books as a form of running diary for their herd management operations – one for the purposes of recording cow information, and the second for recording paddock information. They fill in the cow diary with information pertaining to any actions taken on cows for that day. For example, penicillin injections, artificial inseminations etc. They manually write down the cow number, action taken and any other relevant information in this book. Retaining this form of manual record keeping subsequently requires the farmers to record cow data twice - once in the diaries, and again to transfer this information into the herd management software. This approach is required however, so as to enable the farmers to record information while they are in the field conducting the actions. Additionally, having this information provided in two forms and in two locations (the computer system located at the dairy and also the portable diary) provides valuable backup sources for this information.

The Cochranes' also utilize the services of Dairy Express herd recording to test the milk produced by each of their cows. The Cochranes' also download the results of this analysis, and are able to import this information directly into their herd management software. This allows for the information relating to each cow to be updated on a frequent monthly basis, thus aiding to provide up-to-date information to be utilized in RFID operations, and providing a common ground for analysis and comparisons to be made.

Section 7.

RFID benefits

The Cochranes' believe that they are certainly gaining a good return on their RFID investment, both financially and in general convenience.

7.1 Automatic feeding

One of the benefits of the RFID setup is that it makes individual feeding uncomplicated. Having the computer calculate and deliver the appropriate amount of feed for each cow (depending on their production as measured during the last herd recording), makes the feeding process far easier for the operators, as it relieves them from managing this aspect of the milking process. Providing this automated feeding also guarantees that cows are provided the required amount of feed to sustain the amount of milk they are currently producing. Subsequently, this ensures that the cows are given the best chance at good health, while leaving no room for human error in providing the varied amounts. This approach also saves the farm significant money, as they do not have to provide large amount of feed for low producing cows, nor do they suffer from wasted feed through spilling. With feed accounting for a large proportion of dairy farm costs, it is certainly beneficial to ensure that this feed is being utilized to gain the best possible return. The ability to automatically detect recently calved cows (those new to the dairy for this lactation cycle), and to gradually introduce them to the feed is also a valuable asset. This ensures the cows do not fall victim to wheat or grain poisoning, as may happen if they immediately are provided with a large amount of feed. Thus, this provides another avenue to aid in the ensuring the health of cows, which subsequently aids to encourage high milk production and continued good health for the farms most important assets.

7.2 Automatic drafting

Another significant benefit is obviously the ability to automatically separate cows that require particular attention from the rest of the herd. This is achieved through the use of the RFID reader linked with the automatic drafting gates. By entering the numbers of the cattle to be drafted into the herd management software, these cows will be automatically separated from the rest of the herd at the designated milking session. This saves the farmers from having to attempt to identify individual cows outside of the milking session, and also saves them from having to exit the milking parlor and retrieve a cow as she exits the milking parlor if they wish to gain her at that time. As such, this automatic drafting can be seen to provide a reduction in hassle for the farmers, while increasing the efficiency of the milking process. The Cochranes' also utilize this drafting ability to provide additional attention for their selected show cows. By drafting their show cows to a separate paddock after each milking session, the Cochranes' are able to easily provide these cows with additional feed of hay and silage.

7.3 Automatic calf feeder

Automating the practice of calf feeding provides large benefits for the Cochranes', primarily through the reduction of labor required to undertake this activity. Prior to the automated calf feeder, the Cochranes' undertook calf feeding in the same manner as many other dairy farms – by grouping calves into age groups, and manually providing milk to each group of calves via buckets at designated feeding times. While effective, this approach is quite time consuming for the farmers, and depending on the manner in which the calves are fed, it may be difficult to gauge exactly how much milk each calf is receiving. Utilizing the automatic calf feeder, this human labor requirement is reduced, as the calf feeder will automatically manage the task. This results in the only remaining labor required for calf feeding being a regular check of the machine to ensure it is working correctly, and for the farmers to view the amount of milk each calf is currently consuming (easily achieved via the associated information screen for the machine). Of course the calves will require human attention for a number of other activities, however this large labor requirement for feeding is now virtually eliminated. This provides additional valuable time to the farmers to undertake other activities on the farm. Alternatively, the Cochranes' have elected to increase the amount of calves being raised on the dairy, without having to increase the amount of labor provided. The ability of the calf feeder to adjust the amount of milk being provided to each calf ensures that each calf receives the correct amount of milk required for their age on a daily basis. This aids to ensure that calves develop and grow healthily, while providing them with the ability to drink when they desire, rather than at a preset feeding time. As the calf feeder is capable of determining each calves' age (and subsequently the amount of milk to provide) through their identification tag, the machine also removes the requirement to group calves into similar age groups. As such, this further removes the labor requirement and hassle for farmers. This also benefits the calves, as they are free to associate and learn from a larger and more diverse group of other calves.

7.4 Provision of information during the milking procedure

As noted earlier, selected information relating to each individual cow, as well as the bail number that each cow is assigned to in each milking row is displayed on two screens located at either end of the milking parlor. The ability for the milking operators to be provided with this information as the cows enter the milking parlor is highly useful for the Cochranes'. Primarily, this ability provides another mechanism for informing milking operators of any cows with particular characteristics that may subsequently require particular attention or additional steps to taken during the milking process. The associated audio readout of this information, as well as the color-coded highlighting of this cow on the computer screens also aids to ensure that these characteristics are recognized by the operators and appropriate action taken.

This relay of information also enables the operators to better plan their milking procedure for each row of cows that enter. This is possible as milking operators may begin preparations for milking of cows requiring particular attention as soon as they enter the milking parlor – as opposed to only recognizing that a cow requires additional actions to be taken when the operator arrives at this cow to place the milking cups on her. Additionally, the operators can also begin milking the slow milking cows first. Taking these actions aids to increase the efficiency of milking for each row of cows, subsequently aiding to reduce the total time taken for milking the herd.

Section 8.

RFID cost-benefit

The cost, as well as the effort and labor required to implement the current RFID setup on the Cochrane dairy certainly required a large investment of both time and money. The combined cost of both the hardware and software for the upgrade to RFID was estimated to be $60,000. As to whether the Cochranes' believe this large investment has been justified, Tom Cochrane (2005) states, “the advantages have outweighed the cost of it, long term. Like, if you're talking only over a year, there's no way you can justify that cost, but if you justify it over 20 years, it's paid for itself well and truly.” Regarding the ongoing costs of RFID, the Cochranes' do not see these are being excessive either. The main ongoing cost for this implementation is for additional RFID tags. However, as these tags are now mandated by law in NSW (due to NSW NLIS regulations), the Cochranes' point out that there is now no option but to identify cows with RFID devices anyway. As such, this cost cannot be attributed solely to ongoing costs of this setup, but is a required cost by law. Rather, the application of these tags at the start of a cows' life (rather than only as they exit the farm) and subsequent use of these tags to facilitate farm management operations is simply an optional way for the farm to gain benefits from this required cost.

Section 9.

Future RFID implementation

The Cochranes' have found great benefits from their use of RFID currently, and are interested in further advancing their RFID operations in the future. However, the only advancement that they are realistically considering is the implementation of milking meters for every milking bail. Implementing these milking meters will provide the ability to record the amount of milk each cow has provided at every milking session. This is in contrast to the current practice of only gaining these figures once a month through the use of the herd recording services of Dairy Express. Attaining milk production figures for every cow from every milking session will provide vastly more information for the farmers to utilize in their farm management decisions. This ability may facilitate enhancements to a range of other activities also, such as enabling more up-to-date figures to be utilized for the calculation of feed requirements for each cow. Further, this frequent recording of information may also serve as a means to detect problems with cows. All in all it is very important to remember that while RFID can aid in enhanced total farm management practices, it is the fundamental process that needs to be developed alongside the technology. The Cochrane Dairy Farm is a good example of alignment between the process and the technology, which has made it a successful case study for RFID adoption beyond that of compliance.

References

1. W. Ishmael, The Power of One, 2001, [online] Available: http://beef-mag.com/mag/beef_power_one/.

2. K. Karnjanatwe, How RFID tags can track livestock Bangkok Post, 2005, [online] Available: www.bangkokpost.com.

 3. R. Geers, B. Puers, V. Goedseels, P. Wouters, Electronic Identification Monitoring and Tracking of Animals, New York:CAB International, 1997.

4. K. Michael, The Automatic Identification Industry Trajectory, 2003.

5. D. James, "Automatic cow identification pays in the milking parlour", Farmer's Weekly, pp. 42, 2004.

6. R. Davies, Electronic Gains Aplenty, 1997, [online] Available: http://www.agricultural-technology.co.uk/fwedit/.

7. NSW Department of Primary Industries - Agriculture, 2004, [online] Available: http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au/reader/nlis/questions-answers-nlis-nsw.htm.

Citation: Adam Trevarthen & Katina Michael, Beyond Mere Compliance of RFID Regulations by the Farming Community: A Case Study of the Cochrane Dairy Farm, International Conference on the Management of Mobile Business (ICMB 2007), Year: 2007, pp. 8 - 8, DOI: 10.1109/ICMB.2007.21

IEEE Keywords: Radiofrequency identification, Agriculture, Animals, Technology management, Cows, Government,Investments, Costs, RFID tags, Industrial electronics

INSPEC: radiofrequency identification, dairying, capital investment, radiofrequency identification, Cochrane dairy farm, livestock identification,livestock management, compliance system, government agency

The Emerging Ethics of Humancentric GPS Tracking and Monitoring

Abstract

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is increasingly being adopted by private and public enterprise to track and monitor humans for location-based services (LBS). Some of these applications include personal locators for children, the elderly or those suffering from Alzheimer's or memory loss, and the monitoring of parolees for law enforcement, security or personal protection purposes. The continual miniaturization of the GPS chipset means that receivers can take the form of wristwatches, mini mobiles and bracelets, with the ability to pinpoint the longitude and latitude of a subject 24/7/365. This paper employs usability context analyses to draw out the emerging ethical concerns facing current humancentric GPS applications. The outcome of the study is the classification of current state GPS applications into the contexts of control, convenience, and care; and a preliminary ethical framework for considering the viability of GPS location-based services emphasizing privacy, accuracy, property and accessibility.

Section I

Introduction

GPS has the ability to calculate the position, time, and velocity of any GPS receiver. It does so using a process of triangulation, which works on the premise that you can find any position if the distance from three other locations is also known. Originally conceived by the U.S. Air Force for military purposes in the 1960s, it was commercially released in 1995. In 2000, selective availability was turned off, providing consumers the same level of accuracy as the U.S. military. Since that time, mobile business applications based on GPS and cellular network technologies have proliferated. The rate of innovation has been high, and the level of adoption has been steadily increasing, showing a great deal of promise for the small start-up companies which are targeting GPS solutions at families, enterprises, and security-related government initiatives. This paper is significant because in the not-to-distant future, mobile devices will have GPS chipsets on board. Yet, the growth in the number of commercial offerings–while approved by government regulatory bodies–have not been faced with the commensurate ethical discourse which includes legalities and ownership. The aim of this paper is to explore current commercial services based on GPS technology, with a view to identifying emerging ethical concerns and developing an ethical framework.

Section II

Background

The concept of tracking and monitoring using GPS technologies is far from novel [1].Numerous studies and experiments have investigated the potential of GPS to record a person's movements [2], [3]. However, very few studies have attempted to explore the ethical problems of GPS tracking. The question of ethics in precise location services has been gathering traction within the research community, much of this provoked by Wal-Mart's announcement to implement radio-frequency identification (RFID) for itemized inventory tracking using the EPCglobal standard. More recently a whole issue of the Communications of the ACM was dedicated to RFID privacy and security concerns, while other location technologies were largely ignored. The work of Dobson and Fischer [4], Garfinkel et al. [5], Michael and Michael [6], Perusco and Michael [7], Kaupins and Minch [8], Perakslis and Wolk [9] and Stajano [10] have all indicated the need for a deeper understanding of ethics in location services. In addition the foreseeable power of GPS working in tandem with RFID and wireless local area networks (WLANs), will bring with it a new suite of pressing concerns.

2.1. Unanswered questions

Many questions remain unanswered. Who is liable for providing an incorrect geographic reference location for an emergency services call? Does a private enterprise require the consent of an individual subscriber to track a vehicle that has been rented and is mounted with a GPS receiver? Does a government agency or the police force have the right to location information for a given subscriber when they suspect illegal activity? Do refugees or illegal immigrants have the right to refuse a government-imposed tracking device? Is the 24/7/365 monitoring of a parolee's location information ethical? What rights does a mentally ill person have to their location data and does a caregiver have the right to impose certain geographic constraints on that subscriber? And how do caregiver relationships differ from guardian/parent-to-child, or husband-to-wife contexts? And what of employer work-related location monitoring of employees? Who owns location data–the individual subscriber, the service provider, or a third party that stores the information? The answers to these questions are complex and highlight the urgent need for the development of an ethical framework and other industry guidelines.

Section III

Usability Context Analyses and Ethics

  Table 1. Ethics-based conceptual approach

Table 1. Ethics-based conceptual approach

Ethics is defined as “[a] system of moral principles, by which human actions and proposals may be judged good or bad or right or wrong” (Macquarie Dictionary). Moral is concerned with “right conduct or the distinction between right or wrong.” This study is aimed at exploring whether the real-time tracking and monitoring of people is morally right or wrong. It is an attempt to formulate an ethical framework by considering principles of moral behavior–something that “has always been a necessary feature of human cultures” [11], [12]. The conceptual approach used toward the building of an ethical framework is based on four main aspects: principles, purpose, morality and justice (Table 1).

When one conducts a usability context analysis, they are not focused on a traditional case study but on a specific product innovation area. The unit of analysis is thus any interactive system or device which supports a user's task. This approach has been used successfully in the past to study controversial chip implant applications [13]. Three usability contexts will be analyzed–care, control and convenience. Each context will focus on uses of GPS tracking and monitoring applications. There is synergy between a usability context analysis methodology and an ethics-based conceptual approach, as one looks at the use, and the other at the implications of the use value.

Section IV

Control

Most ethical issues are connected to the control aspect of GPS tracking, as it imposes an intrusive method of supervision. For the purposes of control GPS has been used for law enforcement, parolees and sex offenders, suspected terrorists and employee monitoring.

4.1. Law enforcement

U.S. law specifies that a court can issue a warrant for the installation of a mobile “tracking device” if a person is suspected of committing a crime [14]. See also House Bill 115 currently being deliberated in the U.S. The term “tracking device” covers a broad spectrum of technologies but the popularity and simplicity of GPS makes it an obvious choice. Gabriel Technologies is one company which is seeking to be the supplier of choice for the federal and homeland security markets [15]. GPSs are even being used to track gang members in U.S. cities, strapped to parolees [16].

There are documented cases in the U.S. of police discreetly planting GPS devices on suspected criminals. The William Jackson case was the first to rule that placing a GPS device on a person or their vehicle does not require a warrant as it is the same as following them around [17]. In 2000, Jackson was found guilty of murdering his daughter after the GPS device placed on his truck found that he had returned to his daughter's crime scene. In another case in New York the judge ruled that police do not need a warrant to track a person on a public street stating that the defendant: “… had no expectation of privacy in the whereabouts of his vehicle on a public roadway” [18].In San Francisco, Scott Peterson had a GPS tracking device placed on his car after being suspected of murdering his pregnant wife in 2002 [19]. His suspicious behavior led to a legal trial involving much speculation over the use of the GPS antenna (even though police had a warrant), and the accuracy of the collected data [20]. However, the judge ruled that the technology was “generally accepted and fundamentally valid” [21].

4.2. Parolees and sex offenders

Today many parolees are fitted with a small tamperproof GPS tracker worn as a bracelet or anklet. The ankle device is in the shape of a rigid plastic ring, accompanied by a small tracking box that can fit in a pocket [22]. Companies such as iSECUREtrac, design GPS monitoring systems to track parolees and sex offenders ensuring they do not commit any crimes, alert authorities if they enter certain locations, (e.g. schools, parks), and prevent them from leaving their homes, if that is prohibited [23]. Some GPS units can also offer the added capability of knowing how much alcohol a person has consumed by measuring perspiration levels every hour. Parolee and pedophile tracking is widespread in the United States with an estimated 120,000 tracked parolees in 28 states [24]. However, there are over 50,000 convicted sex offenders in the US that are not tracked at all [25].

Australian states have been trialing GPS systems and there are proposed schemes for NSW, Western Australia and Victoria [26]. In NSW there are 1,900 offenders on the Child Protection Register but officials say it is too costly and difficult to track all of them [27]. Queensland's corrective services minister, Judy Spence, reviewed a New Zealand trial and found that for the GPS scheme to be cost-effective in Australia, their would need to be quite a lot more prisoners. It is interesting to note, that the question of ethics was not addressed: “the cost of monitoring someone using GPS technology [is] about 1,000 cheaper than keeping them in prison [28].However, in Florida (USA), the estimated cost of placing tracking devices on all sex offenders is 56 million USD per annum [25]. Accounting for each person individually would cost about 100 if they were physically in prison [24]. One disadvantage of the parolee tracking process is its labor intensive nature. A U.S. parolee officer in Georgia who monitors the movements of 17 parolees has said: “… the amount of information is overwhelming … I could easily spend an hour every morning on each offender to go over the information that's there. For some of them, it's necessary. For some of them, it's not” [29]. The amount of data generated has some advantages, such as in the event that parolees are falsely accused of committing crimes at particular locations and evidence suggests otherwise. The message from the police is clear, “[w]e know where you are, and we are watching” [30].

4.3. Suspected terrorists

A number of national laws stipulate the use of a tracking device affixed to any person suspected of “activities prejudicial to security” (e.g. ASIO Act 1979). Previously, the maximum period of time a suspected terrorist could be tracked was 6 months, however, during the Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting on counter-terrorism it was planned to increase this period to 12 months [31].

4.4. Employee monitoring

Employees that are tracked using GPS usually travel in vehicles over long distances. Tracked workers include couriers, and bus and truck drivers. The motivation for tracking employees is linked to improving company productivity. Automated Waste Disposal Incorporated uses GPS to ensure their truck drivers do not speed and are on track to meet their delivery schedule. The company imposed GPS tracking on its employees to reduce overtime and labor costs. After implementing the GPS tracking system the number of overtime hours dropped from 300 to 70 hours on average per week [32].

Section V

Convenience

Although GPS tracking may not be widely used for the purposes of convenience today, there are a number of commercial uses. For example, Satellite Security Systems (S3), offer vehicle tracking services to a variety of customers, including parents and suspicious spouses [33]. Clients carry a GPS device with them which transmits location data to S3 computers for further analysis. S3 tracks so many vehicles that even homeland security officials sometimes turn to them for support. GPS systems are also becoming important in delivering key business processes such as real-time sales force automation. Norwich Union uses GPS to track their 18 to 21 year old customers, charging their car insurance premiums based on the time of day they drive. The company induces a tariff at peak times when there is a greater chance of having an accident [34]. Companies like Disney are riding on their family brand, targeting up to 30 million children that they classify as “tweens” (8–12 year olds), with location-based family-centric services [35]. But this idea is not new, Japanese school children have for some years been tracked by their parents, wearing transmitters in their school backpacks, uniforms, or shoes [36]. BuddyFinder systems have also been around for some time, allowing friends and family to catch up based on their whereabouts. On another level, there are even golf GPS devices which display the layout of each hole and player locations on the course [37].

Section VI

Care

GPS satellite tracking can assist people who are responsible for the health and wellbeing of others. Two such applications include GPS for tracking dementia sufferers, and parents tracking their children.

6.1. Dementia wandering

Dementia is a symptom of a number of diseases. However, the most common forms are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies [38]. It currently affects five per cent of people aged over 65 years and twenty per cent of people aged over 80 years. Dementia becomes a serious problem when a patient begins to wander. Due to his/her mental state a dementia sufferer may get lost easily and may even be injured or killed [39]. Since it is difficult to keep constant watch over a dementia sufferer, a caregiver can employ a variety of assistive technologies which notify family members automatically by phone or email if problems arise [3].Proponents of this application emphasize that the technology grants dementia sufferers more independence and freedom, allowing them a better quality of life [40].

6.2. Parents tracking children

There are a number of GPS products available today which allow parents to track their children. One of the more popular products is Wherifone created by WherifyWireless. The device is about the size of a credit card and has a feature which alerts emergency services. Previously, the company offered a wristwatch tracker but discontinued production because customers wanted to be able to call their children [41]. Users can find the location of their child by logging onto the company website and viewing data on a map. Gilson's AlwaysFind GPS trackers are an alternative [42]. Another GPS tracking system provided by TAA GPS, supports The Teen Arrive Alive program in the U.S., dedicated to addressing teenager driving safety. Parents can find the location of their teenage child, for $19.99 USD a month by using the Internet or calling the locator hotline [43]. Locations are updated every two minutes so parents can keep a constant eye on their child's activities. Further on the theme of driving, the application Ezitrack allows parents in Australia to immobilize a car while it is moving. Even though the device gives a ninety second warning before the car shuts down, officials are still concerned saying it is dangerous, causes inconvenience, and “puts (policing) in the hands of the individual” [44]. A South Australian primary school is also using a GPS tracking system on their school bus, to monitor the speed and keep track of where children get off the bus [45].

Section VII

Towards an Ethical Framework

In each usability context analysis, several GPS tracking applications were presented, raising questions about the potential ethical implications of the technology. Yet the “acceptable use” of GPS is currently #ff0000. Can information generated by a receiver, be treated the same as just any other piece of information? Can data generated by a GPS for one purpose, be used for another? For example, can vehicle tracking be used to track an employee, and to convict the driver of speeding?

  Table 2. Ethical framework

Table 2. Ethical framework

The most significant ethical issue facing GPS tracking is that of privacy (Table 2). It can be claimed that products that have the ability to track their subjects are automatically impinging the rights of the individual, even if they themselves have elected to carry the device. Legal jurisdictional issues also apply, as do acts which often seemingly contradict one another. For instance, there is precedence that indicates that a person can be found guilty of a crime based on GPS generated information [46]. In one such case, the judge ruled that there was “no Fourth Amendment implications in the use of the GPS device.” A framework has been devised to encapsulate the ethical issues related to GPS tracking and monitoring. This framework is based on the information technology (IT) ethical issues framework created by Mason [47], and later updated by Turban [48]. The four main ethical issues are categorized into privacy, accuracy, property and accessibility.

7.1. Privacy

The greatest concern of GPS tracking is the amount of information that can be deduced from the analysis of a person's movements.

7.1.1. What location-specific information should an individual require to reveal to others?

In many cases a person's location does not need to be known unless he/she does something unexpected. Parents only need to know if their child is not at school when they should be or is speeding in a vehicle. Similarly, caregivers should only be notified if a dementia patient is wandering, and parole officers only need to know if a parolee ventures outside his/her home zone. Employers too can be alerted when one of their vehicles has made an unnecessary detour.

7.1.2. What kind of surveillance can a parent use on a child?

Using a GPS device to track a child's location is becoming more and more popular. If a child is lost or kidnapped he or she has a better chance of being found. But does the child have a right to determine whether or not they are to be tracked, and until what age or length of time? [49] Another question is how children actually feel about being tracked? [50] Are parents replacing trust with technology, [41] and developing an unhealthy relationship with their children? [51] Christy Buchanan, an associate professor of psychology believes that: “[p]arents shouldn't fool themselves into thinking that they can keep their kids from making mistakes, which is a part of growing up and learning” [52]. Simon Davies of Privacy International believes parents may even become obsessed with tracking their children [51]. On the other hand, parents who have experienced the loss of a child, see GPS as a life-saving technology, especially those who have lost children to drink-driving accidents. These parents point out that tracking is for safety, not for spying.

7.1.3. What kind of surveillance can employers use on employees?

Employers usually track their employees to reduce costs, especially labor costs and costs related to unnecessary product shrinkage. In this context, employers attempt to protect their business interests, and employees attempt to protect their privacy? [53] The two positions are in contrast, as the power is obviously in the hands of the employer. Some workers however have objected to the technology due to privacy concerns [54]. Galen Monroe, a truck driver from Chicago USA, voices his concern: “[t[hese systems could be used to unfairly discipline drivers, for counting every minute that they might or might not be on or off duty and holding that against them” [32]. Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in New Jersey, said that the exchange of privacy for security would affect employee morale and that the next steps would probably be implants [55]. Managers, on the other hand, are more concerned that workers are doing what they are paid to do. Yet this is a shocking development when one considers that there are few, if any, laws governing workplace surveillance in countries like the U.S. and Australia [56].

7.1.4. Do police need a warrant to track a suspected criminal or terrorist?

Several cases have ruled that tracking a person with a GPS device is the same as following them on the street. However, GPS tracking is much more pervasive. First, a person is usually more aware of a person following them, than if a small tracking device were attached to their vehicle. Additionally, a GPS tracker can find a person's location anywhere at anytime even when trailing is not possible. Furthermore, since a tracked person's location is digitized it can be instantly analyzed to make inferences, in ways that simple observations cannot [57]. If the issuing of warrants is not compulsory there will be no barriers for police or security personnel to place tracking devices on any individual. Warrants are essential to ensure GPS tracking devices are used justly and ethically.

7.2. Accuracy

GPS can give error readings in particular conditions. Dense forest, tall buildings, cloud cover and moisture produce inaccuracies in readings but these are considered negligible when compared to the potential for inaccuracies in resultant information processing.

7.2.1. Who is responsible for the authenticity, fidelity and accuracy of information collected?

In the event of GPS failure or enforced shut down by the U.S. government, companies whose mission-critical applications rely on GPS technology would incur heavy losses.The U.S. government has already released plans to shut down parts of the network in a “national crisis” to prevent terrorists from using the network [58]. Consider the implications for those organizations and customers that have become reliant on the technology, for example, criminals serving their sentence from home. And who is responsible for accuracy? The U.S. government created the system but they are under no obligation to ensure accuracy. Another concern is that sixteen of the twenty-eight GPS satellites currently in orbit are beyond their design life and are likely to fail in the near future [59]. At least two satellites are failing each year and launches of new satellites are barely keeping up. This poses problems for the users of the GPS system in the longer term which is why the more accurate European Galileo initiative is critical.

7.2.2. Who is to be held accountable for errors in information, and how is the injured party compensated?

Private companies who offer GPS tracking services avoid liability by introducing product descriptions, warranties and disclaimers [60]. In California several rental car companies were wrongly fining customers for breaking their rental agreement for allegedly leaving the state. Customers were asked to pay $3000 USD for something they did not do. As a result California became the first U.S. state to prohibit the use of GPS receivers by car rental companies to track their customers [33].

7.2.3. Is GPS an appropriate tracking technology for dementia wandering?

The Project Life Saver Organisation helps locate and return wandering dementia sufferers. They believe that GPS is not suitable for tracking persons with dementia, recognizing that GPS lacks four fundamental attributes of an assistive technology: reliability, responsiveness, practicality and affordability [39].

7.2.4. How can we ensure that errors in databases, data transmissions and data processing are accidental and not intentional?

Software used to store tracking data makes it possible to edit data points in order to create false evidence. Effectively a person can be accused of a crime he or she did not commit. For this reason it is imperative that extensive validation checks are enforced to ensure data has not been tampered. There is also the concern with the intentional and non-intentional jamming of GPS signals. Safeguards and laws restricting GPS jamming need to be advocated.

7.3. Property

7.3.1. Who owns the information?

  Table 3. The ethical possibilities

Table 3. The ethical possibilities

The U.S. government owns the physical satellite system but who owns the information once it is collected? If a company collects and stores location information on a person who commits a crime, are they obliged to hand it over to the police?

7.3.2. What are the just and fair prices for exchange?

It is theoretically free to access GPS, as long as you have a receiver. Free service however, does not equate to commercial satisfaction. GPS-based voice service providers incur a cost for ‘priority access’, and therefore pass this cost onto their subscribers.

7.4. Accessibility

7.4.1. Who is allowed to use the GPS service?

One of the objectives set out by the GPS policy is the provision of worldwide “positioning, navigation, and timing services” [61]. However, the GPS policy also indicates that the GPS system can be shut down in certain areas “under only the most remarkable circumstances,” like in the event of a terrorist attack [62].

7.4.2. How much should be charged for permitting accessibility to information?

US policy proclaims that the GPS service is and will continue to be “free of direct user fees” [62]. However, private companies are billing customers to use services [63]. Costs may include payment for equipment and data transmission among other fees. There is also the possibility that information can be accessed illegally by a third party for sinister purposes.

7.4.3. Who will be provided with equipment needed for accessing information?

Parolee tracking is more cost-effective than detainment but it is impossible to have all parolees and sex offenders tracked. So who will be tracked and who will not? In previous cases less aggressive criminals have GPS tracking devices attached first. Where radio tag tracking methods have been used, parolees have had to pay for their own tracking devices [24].

7.4.4. Is the tracking of parolees and sex offenders justified?

The three most apparent reasons for parolees and sex offenders to be tracked appear to be: to save costs, deter further crimes and for controlled rehabilitation. The cost of tracking a person is much lower than incarceration. Tracking may deter some criminals from committing a similar offence but if they are tracked at length they may lose awareness of their GPS device. In examining New Zealand's Bill of Rights (sec 21), the N.Z. Law Society (NZLS) found that authorities had the power to impose electronic monitoring on people who had already completed their sentences. NZLS argued that extended supervision equated to “two punishments for the same crime” but the government argued that the main purpose of the extended supervision was preventive not punitive [64]. Others believe that tracking parolees grants them the opportunity to spend more time with family, acting to fast-track the rehabilitation process (Table 3).

Section VIII

Conclusion

Molnar and Wagner [65] ask the definitive question “[i]s the cost of privacy and security ‘worth it’?” Stajano [10] answers by reminding us that, “[t]he benefits for consumers remain largely hypothetical, while the privacy-invading threats are real.” Indeed, when we add to privacy concerns the unknown longterm health impacts, the potential changes to cultural, social and political interactions, the circumvention of religious and philosophical ideals, and a potential mandatory deployment, then the disadvantages of the technology might seem almost burdensome. For the present, proponents of emerging LBS applications rebuke any negatives “under the aegis of personal and national security, enhanced working standards, reduced medical risks, protection of personal assets, and overall ease-of-living” [9]. Unless there are stringent ethical safeguards however, there is a potential for enhanced national security to come at the cost of freedom, or for enhanced working standards to devalue the importance of employee satisfaction. The innovative nature of the technology should not be cause to excuse it from the same “judicial or procedural constraints which limit the extent to which traditional surveillance technologies are permitted to infringe privacy” [56]. The aim of this present research is to understand the ethical implications of current LBS applications, with a view to emphasising the need for future innovators to ethically integrate these technologies into society.

References

1. B.W. Martin, "WatchIt: A Fully Supervised Identification, Location and Tracking System", Proceedings of the IEEE International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, 1995, pp. 306-310.

2. D. Ashbrook and T. Starner, "Using GPS to Learn Significant Locations and Predict Movement Across Multiple Users", Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 7, 2003, pp. 275-286.

3. K. Shimizu et al., "Location System for Dementia Wandering", Proceedings of the 22nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2, 2000, pp. 1556-1559.

4. J.E. Dobson and P.F. Fisher, "Geoslavery", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 22(1), 2003, pp. 47-52.

5. S.L. Garfinkel et al., "RFID Privacy: An Overview of Problem and Proposed Solutions", IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, 3(3), 2005, pp. 38-43.

6. K. Michael and M.G. Michael, "Microchipping People: the Rise of the Electrophorus", Quadrant, March, 2005, pp. 22-33.

7. L. Perusco and K. Michael, "Humancentric Applications of Precise Location-Based Services", IEEE Conference on e-Business Engineering, IEEE Computer Society, Beijing, 2005, pp. 409-418.

8. G. Kaupins and R. Minch, "Legal and Ethical Implications of Employee Location Monitoring", Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, http://csdl2.computer.org/comp/proceedings/ hicss/2005/2268/05/22680133a.pdf, 2005.

9. C. Perakslis and R. Wolk, "Social Acceptance of RFID as a Biometric Security Method", Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Technology and Society, 2005, pp. 79-87.

10. F. Stajano, "Viewpoint: RFID Is X-ray Vision", Communications of the ACM, 48(9), 2005, pp. 31-33.

11. Honderich, T. (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995, p. 596.

12. J. Blom et al., "Contextual and Cultural Challenges for User Mobility Research", Communications of the ACM, 48(7), 2005, pp. 37-41.

13. A. Masters and K. Michael, "Humancentric Applications of RFID Implants: the Usability Contexts of Control, Convenience and Care", The Second IEEE International Workshop on Mobile Commerce and Services, IEEE Computer Society, Munich, 19th July, 2005, pp. 32-41.

14. Legal Information Institute, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/ index.html, 3 August, 2005.

15. MNP, "Gabriel Technologies Corp- Teams with Jefferson Consulting to Target Federal Homeland Security Markets", Market News Publishing, 6 April, 2006.

16. Reuters, "California Gang Members to be Tracked by GPS", Reuters, 17 March, 2006.

17. K. George, "Court Will Decide If Police Need Warrant for GPS 'Tracking'" http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/121572_gps12.html, Seattle PI, 12 May, 2003.

18. D. McCullagh, "Snooping by Satellite", CNET News, http://news.com.com/Snooping+by+satellite/2100-1028_3-5533560.html?tag=sas. email,12 January, 2005.

19. R. Dornin, "Judge Allows GPS Evidence in Peterson Case", CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/02/17/peterson.trial/, 17 February, 2004.

20. S. Finz and M. Taylor, "Peterson Tracking Device Called Flawed- Defense Wants GPS Evidence Shut Out of Trial", San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/12/ BAG7P4V69B1.DTL, 12 February, 2004.

21. MSNBC.com, "Jurors: Peterson's Stoicism Was the Final Straw", Associated Press, http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6711259/, 14 December, 2004.

22. C. Parker, "GPS Tracking: the High-Tech Ball and Chain- System Lets Authorities Monitor Offenders and Helps Free Up Jail Space, The Morning Call, 17 April, 2006.

23. Monmonier, M. Spying with Maps: Surveillance Technologies and the Future of Privacy, University of Chicago Press, USA, 2002.

24. W. Saletan, "Call My Cell", http://slate.msn.com/id/2118117/, 6 May, 2005.

25. Scarborough Country, "Tracking Sex Offenders", http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7589426/, 21 April, 2005.

26. M. Murphy, "Satellite Tracking Plan for Pedophiles", The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/satellite-tracking-plan-for- pedophiles/2005/08/28/1125167554234.html?oneclick=true, 29 August, 2005.

27. T. Vermeer, "Satellite Tracking for Child Abusers", http://www.sundaytelegraph.news.com.austory0,9353,16406008-28778,00.html, 28 August, 2005.

28. AAP, "Qld: Minister Rules Out GPS Tracking of Sexual Offenders", Australian Associated Press General News, 10 April, 2006.

29. C. Campos, "Georgia Tracks Parolee by GPS", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/1204/0101gps. html, 1 January, 2005.

30. J. Stockweel, "Checking Regularly On Sex Offenders; Home Visits By Police Seen As 'Proactive', Washington Post, 10 April, 2006.

31. C. Banham and M. Wilkinson, "Track and Tag - The New War On Terrorism", Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/news/ national/track-and-tag-the-new-war-on-terrorism/2005/09/08/1125772641058.html, 9 September, 2005.

32. A. Geller, "Bosses Use GPS to Keep Sharp Eye On Mobile Workers", Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com/2005/technology/0501/ 01/technology46929.htm, 1 January, 2005.

33. A.E. Cha, "Satellite Tracking Finds Daily Uses", Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com/2005/technology/0501/23/A09-67089.htm, 23 January, 2005.

34. Anonymous, "Off-Peak Car Insurance Launched", The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1388623,00.html, 12 January, 2005.

35. L. Turner, "Disney Unveils 'Family' Mobile Service", Total Telecom, 6 April, 2006.

36. D. White, "Privacy Group: GPS Tracking of Kids is Bad", http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/350/C7512/, 20 April, 2006.

37. StarCaddy.com, "StarCaddy Handheld GPS Yardage Tool for Golfers", http://www.starcaddy.com/index, cfm, 2005.

38. Alzheimer's Society, "Alzheimer's Society Information Sheet Assistive Technology", http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/After_diagnosis/PDF/ 437_assistivetechnolgy.pdf, August, 2005.

39. G. Saunders, "GPS and Wandering: More Questions Than Answers", http://www.projectlifesaver.org/advisories.htm, August, 2005.

40. J. Loh et al., "Technology Applied to Address Difficulties of Alzheimer Patients and Their Partners", Proceedings of the Conference on Dutch Directions in Human Computer Interaction, 18, 2005.

41. Y. Yeebo, "Spyed Kids", Newsweek, http://www.msnbc.msn. eom/id/9135838/site/newsweek/, 1 September, 2005.

42. B. Grady, "Uses for GPS Devices Branching Out", The Oaklands Tribune, 20 March, 2006.

43. ENP, "Cyber Tracker Featured on Television News Reports on Teen Driving", ENP Newswire, 23 March, 2006.

44. M. Benns, "Parent-Controlled Car Immobilizer Risky, Says Costa", The Sun-Herald, 29 May, 2005, p. 19.

45. Anonymous, "School Bus of the Future", ABC Riverland SA, http://www.abc.net.au/riverland/stories/s1449899.htm, 31 August, 2005.

46. H. Bray, "GPS Spying May Prove Irresistible to Police", Boston.com, http://vww.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2005/01/ 17/gps_spying_may_prove_irresistible_to_police/, January, 2005.

47. R.O. Mason, "Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age", MIS Quarterly, 1986, pp. 4-12.

48. Turban, E. et al., Electronic Commerce 2002: A Managerial Perspective, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

49. S.N. Roberts, "Tracking Your Children with GPS: Do You Have the Right?", Wireless Business and Technology, http://wireless.sys-con. com/read/41433.htm, 3(12), 2003.

50. M. Williams et al., "Wearable Computing and the Geographies of Urban Childhood- Working with Children to Explore the Potential of New Technology", Proceeding of the 2003 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, 2003, pp. 111-116.

51. BBC, "Concerns over GPS Child Tracking", BBC News Online, 20 April, 2006.

52. Anonymous, "Big Mother (or Father) is Watching", Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/big-mother-or-father- is-watching/2005/09/08/1125772632570.html, 9 September, 2005.

53. J. Weckert, "Trust and Monitoring in the Workplace", IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, 2000, pp. 245-250.

54. T. Lepeska, "GPS Would Pinpoint Workers Too", The Commercial Appeal, 4 April, 2006.

55. P. Kitchen, "They're Watching You- Employer Surveillance of Workers and Property Extends Further Than You Think", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12 March, 2006.

56. I-E. Papasliotis, "Information Technology: Mining for Data and Personal Privacy: Reflections on an Impasse", Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Information and Communication Technologies, 2004, pp. 50-56.

57. A. Burak and T. Sharon, "Analysing Usage of Location Based Services", CHI 2003: New Horizons, Florida, 5-10 April, 2003, pp. 970-971.

58. T. Bridis, "Bush Prepares for Possible Shutdown of GPS Network in National Crisis", Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com/2004/ technology/0412/16/technology-34633.htm, 16 December, 2004.

59. L. Bingley, "GPS Users Must Plan for Outages", IT Week, http://www.itweek.co.uk/itweek/news/2142864/gps-users-plan-outages, 27 September, 2005.

60. D. R. Sovocool, "Legal Issues For Manufacturers, System Integrators, Vendors and Service Providers", Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, http://www.thelenreid.com/articles/article/art_37_idx.htm, 17 April, 2000.

61. OSTP, "US Global Positioning System Policy", Office of Science and Technology Policy, http://www.ostp.gov/NSTC/html/pdd6.html, 29 March, 1996.

62. Spacetoday, "White House releases GPS policy", spacetoday.net, http://www.spacetoday.net/Summary/2704, 16 December, 2004.

63. D. Taggart, "Usage of Commercial Satellite Systems for Homeland Security Communications, IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2, 2003, pp. 1155-1165.

64. R. Palmer, "Safety or Liberty?", Dominion Post, 1 April, 2006.

65. D. Molnar and D. Wagner, "Privacy: Privacy and Security in Library RFID: Issues, Practices, and Architectures", Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, 2004, pp. 210-219.

Citation: Michael, K.; McNamee, A.; Michael, M.G. 2006. ICMB '06. International Conference on Mobile Business, Date: 26-27 June 2006, pp. 34 - 34, DOI: 10.1109/ICMB.2006.43

IEEE Keywords: Ethics, Global Positioning System, Monitoring, Humans, Senior citizens, Law enforcement, Security,Protection, Usability, Context-aware services

INSPEC: Global Positioning System, ethical aspects, law enforcement, ethics, humancentric GPS tracking, location-based services, memory loss

The Pros and Cons of RFID in Supply Chain Management

This paper presents the pros and cons of using radio-frequency identification (RFID) in supply chain management (SCM). While RFID has a greater number of benefits than its predecessor, the bar code, it currently comes at a price that many businesses still consider prohibitive. On the one hand, RFID is advantageous because it does not require line-of-sight scanning, it acts to reduce labor levels, enhances visibility, and improves inventory management. On the other hand, RFID is presently a costly solution, lacking standardization, it has a small number of suppliers developing end-to-end solutions, suffers from some adverse deployment issues, and is clouded by privacy concerns. Irrespective of these factors, the ultimate aim of RFID in SCM is to see the establishment of item-level tracking which should act to revolutionize SCM practices, introducing another level of efficiencies never before seen.

Section I

Introduction

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the “management and control of all materials and information in the logistics process from acquisition of raw materials to delivery to the end user” [1]. Nine out of ten companies rate SCM and stock control as the key to their company's future success, even survival [2]. Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology has opened the door to a new era in SCM, unachievable using existing barcode technology. Leading corporations have recognized the intrinsic advantages of RFID and recently moved to introduce the technology in SCM by establishing a mandate, forcing suppliers to use RFID as well. There is still reluctance in the business community to invest large amounts of capital in such new technology that is yet to prove itself. Compounding this reluctance is the fact that many of these businesses have invested heavily in legacy barcode systems. There is a preference to use a cautious approach, waiting to see what global business leaders do. For this reason, this paper is strategic in informing the business community of the pros and cons of adopting RFID technology for SCM.

Section II

Methodology

The primary method of data collection involved qualitative content analysis. Given that RFID is an emerging technology, reliance for literature was based on a wide range of online industry sources, including RFID vendor web sites, standards organizations, whitepapers and press releases. The online sources were complemented by hardcopy documentation including books and academic papers. The relevant material was gathered, categorized and sorted into like themes which formed the basis for the advantages and disadvantages of RFID in supply chain management. Two semi-structured interviews were also used to supplement and further validate the findings of the content analysis. Participant 1 was an employee of a leading auto-ID company, and Participant 2 was an end-user of RFID in one of the world's largest oil refineries. This paper is both descriptive and interpretive.

Section III

Non-Line of Sight Technology

3.1 Automatic Non-Line-of-Sight Scanning

One of RFID's most attractive offerings is its fundamental attribute of not requiring line-of-sight when reading RFID tags. This means items do not require particular orientation for scanning, unlike barcodes. This inbuilt technological characteristic acts as an enabler leading to a plethora of advantages at numerous levels throughout the supply chain. RFID scanners can communicate to tags in milliseconds and have the ability to scan multiple items simultaneously. This ability significantly aids the automation of many SCM tasks that have typically been labor intensive roles such as checking and scanning incoming inventory. Organizations also have an accurate picture of stock levels which in turn means lower inventory costs and less out-of-stock occurrences.

3.2 Labor Reduction

RFID promises to help automate the supply chain to unprecedented levels, leading to labor reduction throughout the process. The major cost component for typical distribution centers is labor, accounting for around 50–80% of their total distribution costs. Keith et al., predict that receiKving check-in time could be reduced by 60–93% with RFID technology [3]. It is also estimated that RFID could yield labor savings of up to 36% in order picking and a 90% reduction in verification costs for shipping processes. These figures demonstrate the significance of labor in supply chains and that even small reductions can deliver considerable financial savings. For example, prior to Collex's RFID implementation, drivers had to get out of their trucks at landfills, manually enter their waste details and wait for a ticket [4]. Drivers were also required to wait for a ticket when leaving the landfill; in all a time consuming process. When truck drivers now enter a landfill, they merely have to stop on the weighbridge, hold their RFID tag next to the reader and wait a second for their printed ticket. Retailers in particular, stand poised to benefit from RFID, as they can remove the large labor component required to manage stock in their stores. Furthermore, RFID ultimately promises the inception of instantaneous operator free checkouts.

3.3 Enhanced Visibility

The pervasive 'always-on’ nature of RFID technology equates to greater visibility to all stakeholders in the supply chain. It is estimated that the U.S. retail industry is losing about US$70 billion annually from its SCM practices [5]. About 42% of this comes from product not being on the retail shelf for consumers, with the remainder derived through losses within the supply chain. The visibility offered by RFID could help to reduce this loss, by reducing waste, lowering inventory levels and improving safety.Improving visibility in the supply chain can help “lower distribution and handling costs and reduce inventory levels” [6]. RFID allows products to be followed in real-time across the supply chain providing accurate and detailed information on all items, allowing organizations to use this information to increase efficiency. Inventory visibility can be used to achieve gains in areas such as faster response to customer demands and market trends, improving the ability to have the right product in the right place at the right time. Wal-Mart's RFID strategy manager, Simon Langford, noted that Wal-Mart has visibility today, but it is quite fragmented. He believes that RFID is all about total supply chain visibility [7]. Real-time information can be obtained through smart shelves, which have inbuilt RFID tag receivers. This would help retailers track the exact number of products they hold.

3.4 Asset Tracking and Returnable Items

A recent Aberdeen Group survey of 200 companies found that more than half of the companies with RFID systems were using the technology in asset tracking [8]. RFID is ideal for identifying items that require routine calibration, inspections, or that need to be checked in or out [Participant 2]. Another advantage of using RFID technology to track assets such as tools is that the tags are virtually undetectable [Participant 2]. RFID can also track an asset's movement, use, and placement, helping to improve asset utilization [Participant 1]. Shipping companies find it difficult to track containers as they are continually transported around the world. RFID can help shipping and logistics organizations accurately track such valuable assets. In addition, RFID systems can log a container's history; if a container has been used for the delivery of dangerous items such as chemicals, RFID tracking can be used to ensure that government requirements and regulations are adhered to. Many products require special reusable containers or packaging for transportation purposes as they move along the supply chain. Objects such as beer kegs can be expensive to produce and difficult to track. TrenStar has successfully developed a system using RFID technology to manage beer kegs as they move throughout the supply chain. The new system means that TrenStar has comprehensive information on where the carts have been sent and can query retailers who have not returned them [8].

Section IV

The Need for Accuracy

4.1 Item Level Tracking

Intermec predict that once item-level tracking is achieved, “physical inventories and product re-ordering will be done in a fraction of the time it now takes and retailers will be able to take inventory [counts] much more frequently” [9]. Item-level tracking opens the door to a whole range of potential benefits, for example theft detection or customized manufacturing [Participant 2]. Smart shelves can be described as shelves that have inbuilt RFID scanners allowing them to automatically monitor stock. For smart shelves to realize their maximum potential, item-level tracking is a necessity. It will allow management systems to identify and store individual product properties such as expiry dates. However, item-level tracking for perishable items such as apples and oranges, that do not require any packaging, is a separate problem altogether.According to Wal-Mart, fully automated item-level tracking for all products is inevitable, though applications like automatic checkouts are not likely to be introduced for around 10–15 years [7]. In the near future, most organizations have decided to focus on pallet and case level tracking [Participant 1].

4.2 Traceable Warranties and Product Recalls

Product recalls can be attributed as a costly source of loss in the supply chain. This is often because it is extremely difficult for organizations to “pinpoint only the specific faulty instances of a product [which] often leads to the destruction of perfectly good products” [10]. The level of information included on a units packaging can be the difference between making a mass recall, requiring extensive advertising and large quantities of possibly non-faulty product being recalled, or a highly specific and personalized tracking of customers who have purchased the faulty products. RFID and the Electronic Product Code (EPC) can uniquely identify every individual item in the supply chain, allowing manufacturers to obtain instant access to information that allows them to issue targeted recalls of only affected products. Subsequently, suppliers can maintain a strong and trusted brand name. Tagged items that require repair and are covered by a warranty can be authenticated, ensuring that the warranty period of the product has not expired. The item can also be monitored as the product moves back up the supply chain to the manufacturer or authorized repairer, allowing customers to receive detailed information on where their item is in the process.

4.3 Reliability

The reliability of RFID tags is an issue that could determine the technology's ultimate success. A multitude of pilot tests already have been carried out under a variety of operating environments. Airports are testing the technology to help track baggage and supplies, while manufacturers are using the technology to manage incoming and outgoing inventory. While some RFID tags are currently not achieving satisfactory read rates, there are numerous applications wherein RFID is performing at a high reliability with accurate read rates. The RFID community has devoted a large amount of research to airport baggage tracking trials. After performing numerous trials and modifying their RFID system, San Francisco International Airport has been able to reach read rates consistently above 99.5% in a production environment [11]. Despite many promising applications, John Brand, a consultant from Meta Group, notes that tags are still not 100% reliable with anything from 3–5% error rates.

Section V

Tag and Data Characteristics

5.1 Quality Control and Regulation

RFID empowers organizations to monitor the quality of products not only internally within their manufacturing process, but also as their goods move along the supply chain. The technology permits the collection of real-time information in the manufacturing process for quality control purposes, lowering the chance of customers receiving poor quality products as well as reducing the time spent monitoring and reworking orders. Tags can monitor things like temperatures, bacteria levels and provide tamper evidence, regardless of the product position in the supply chain. This is an important capability in modern supply chains where many products are shipped around the world, exposing them to countless environmental stresses, all of which could hamper the quality of the finished good. Smart semi-active or active RFID tags can monitor these environmental forces and can automatically detect events without necessitating the inspection of every single product. For example, the U.S. army is piloting the use of RFID tags with “battery-powered sensors that can monitor temperatures in the areas where goods are shipped and stored” [12]. The tags are being placed with food sent to troops in the field and are designed to ensure that food is used before the shelf life is exceeded. The RFID technology ensures troops receive food fit for consumption. RFID tags used within the EPC Network can also reduce the incidence and negate the impact of counterfeiting.

5.2 Yard, Warehouse & Factory Management

In today's operating environment, it is important that business achieve the maximum productivity available from their assets. Organizations often have large levels of capital tied up in yards and factories and as such, they need to be managed efficiently. It is often difficult for these organizations to know what goods are on which truck without first unloading the truck, which also makes it complicated to direct the truck to the right drop off or parking yard location. RFID tags can be placed on truck trailers and RFID readers placed at entry and exit points of yards allowing management systems to log the incoming and outgoing data in real-time. The incoming truck driver can then be directed to the most efficient drop-off location. Items are unloaded faster with the yard being managed in the most resourceful manner, maximizing an organization's utilization of the asset and order fulfillment capabilities. The same principle applies to forklift drivers at warehouses. Amcor Fibre Packaging successfully uses RFID to manage its warehouse [13]. Before the warehouse management system (WMS) was implemented, their warehouse would often reach 2500 pallets, 500 more than what the warehouse was designed for, requiring production to be stopped. In addition to this, there would be between 15 and 25 trucks waiting to be loaded. The new RFID capable WMS has reduced the typical number of pallets in the warehouse to 800 with no more than 2 to 5 trucks waiting. Since the systems inception, production has not been stopped.

5.3 Improved Inventory Management

Manufacturers persistently struggle to get the right products to the right retailers at the right time. RFID can help solve this problem while reducing inventory levels and lowering distribution and handling costs by providing accurate and real-time information on inventory quantities and movement. The technology promises to transform the way organizations currently “forecast demand, manage inventory and distribution, and market to consumers within the store” [14]. Item level tracking is pivotal to effective inventory management. Smart-shelves would allow exact inventory stock takes to be carried out instantaneously, thanks to RFID's non-line-of-sight property. It can relay “data about location, design and history” [14]. This can help companies avoid out-of-stock situations. With research revealing that out-of-stocks can be as high as 17% for some fast-moving items, the prevention of these occurrences is important.15 RFID can enhance inventory management in a number of ways, for example, RFID systems can improve the ability to forecast product demands by 10–20% when compared to traditional systems. In addition to this, RFID systems could help lower inventory levels by 10–30% and increase sales by 1–2% through reduced occurrences of out-of-stock scenarios [6].

5.4 Security

RFID tags are virtually impossible to copy, making them suitable to security applications. With the cost of goods ‘lost’ within the supply chain estimated to cost European companies 50 million euros a day, securing SCM with RFID technology is paramount [16]. It is estimated that airlines will “have to spend about $5 billion over the next 10 years to upgrade baggage screening systems to comply with laws passed after 9/11” [17]. Theft that occurs in the supply chain is referred to as product shrinkage. Product shrinkage is rampant, with up to US$30 billion being lost each year, the majority from the middle of the supply chain. The EPC Network allows products to be monitored, alerting SCM systems with specific details in real-time when products go missing, allowing the organization to take anti-theft measures in future occurrences. RFID can also provide theft prevention in retail outlets and distribution centers. For example, numerous uniforms were being stolen from Star City Casino, so officials placed RFID tags inside employee uniforms to prevent such theft.

5.5 Ability to Withstand Harsh Environments

“When environmental issues come in to play, RFID will be a godsend to read” [Participant 1]. RFID tags are extremely durable and can be read through almost all non-metallic materials. Tags can continue to work flawlessly in harsh conditions, whether the temperature is minus 40 degrees or plus 200 degrees centigrade, and will also survive in most acids [18]. This means that tags can be inbuilt into objects such as wire baskets that can travel through any number of environments. The durability of RFID tags makes them ideal for “dirty, oily, wet, or harsh industrial and commercial environments” [19]. The technology can last for extensive periods, often longer than the items they are attached to. Chrysler had attempted using barcodes in its vehicle assembly process, with limited success due to the environmental demands. However, as tags can survive very high temperatures their use is now common within the automotive industry. This means that manufacturers can continue to track vehicles regardless the demands of the manufacturing process.

5.6 Information Properties

The data capacity of RFID tags permits them to vary in size, from holding only a few bits to thousands of bits. Tags can have the capacity to store and handle the needs and wants of most users. This data capacity is what makes the identification of individual products feasible. Tags can hold vast quantities of information, ranging from “an item's serial number, color, size, manufacture data and current price as well as a list of all distribution points the item touched before arriving at a store” [9]. In addition to this, tags can be updated dynamically, storing new information from RFID readers as they move across the supply chain.

Section VI

Cost Considerations

6.1 Cost Savings

Cost savings through RIFD systems are derived through many of the areas already discussed in this paper, namely labor reduction, enhanced inventory management, advanced security and more efficient management of assets. Through deploying RFID domestically, it is estimated that the U.S. economy stands to save over US$500 billion annually, solely through RFID's superior inventory management capabilities [17].European companies are set to reap billions of dollars in savings upon RFID's wide acceptance, just through reduced inventory levels [16]. While the anticipated total savings expected from RFID range significantly, most reports predict that there will be considerable savings. AMR has estimated that Wal-Mart's supply chain costs are in the vicinity of 10% of all sales. AMR expects Wal-Mart to realize a saving of around 6–7% of supply chain costs through the use of RFID, equating to around US$1.4 billion [20].

6.2 Software and Equipment Upgrades

The integration of RFID into existing practices requires considerable investment from organizations [Participant 1]; reengineering the business and aligning the systems takes time. The process of implementing the technology will affect all facets of the organization, with the entire process expected to cost millions of dollars. Wal-Mart has come under fire from many of its suppliers, as it is believed that the cost of compliance with the retailer's mandate will reach US$9 million [7]. Gartner has indicated that companies should allow a five-year period and US$20 million to integrate RFID technology into current processes [21]. Some parties are concerned that there is a skills shortage in the RFID industry as well, which will become apparent when the number of firms installing RFID equipment increases. Capital outlays required by RFID are likely to deter the cash strapped airline industry from using the technology in their baggage handling systems. Many airline networks span a large number of airports generating significant financial implications.

6.3 Cost of Technology

Presently, RFID technology is expensive and the price of RFID tags has traditionally been a significant obstacle to its widespread deployment in SCM. An Accenture survey found cost to be one of the two primary barriers to the implementation of RFID [22]. Reports on the current cost of RFID tags vary, however they all find common ground in noting that the current cost of tags is too high to justify tagging all items. This is why most companies mandating the use of RFID are focusing on tagging pallets and cases, as opposed to item-level tracking, which is years away. Current passive tag cost estimates range from US0.75, with the volume of tags purchased having a significant impact on the cost.

Section VII

Deployment Issues

7.1 Manufacturing Sector Concerns

A large portion of the push for RFID uptake is coming from retailers who are forcing manufacturers to absorb the additional costs associated with tagging items and processing the information they generate. Many consumer goods manufacturers are struggling to see any short-term gain from upgrading to RFID technology on their packaging and distribution systems. Consequently, it is being viewed as the cost of doing business with major customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Albertsons and the U.S. Department of Defense, which have mandated that suppliers phase in the use of RFID from 2005. Some manufacturers are investigating the 'slap and ship’ option where they keep their current processes in place. This involves only tagging items as they are shipped, in an effort to minimize costs and meet mandated requirements.However, even such minimal approaches can cause problems such as errors with the placement and engineering of tags that need to be readable by customers [8]. Clearly, organizations lack standards for integrating RFID into their daily practices.

7.2 Supplier and Retailer Cooperation

RFID tags using the EPC standard only contain a serial number. Databases linking these serial numbers to further information are then required to make use of this information. “Data synchronization, integration, transformation, and communication are huge barriers in making the technology work for organizations”.23 Previous endeavours to collaborate across organizations have been unsuccessful as information could not be readily extracted and shared. All parties are required to collaborate with one another to decipher specifically what information they need and how it should be disseminated.

7.3 Lack of Standards

While RFID technology has been around for decades, it has only been recently that its uptake in SCM has been touted. As a result, there is an apparent lack of standards hindering the technology's adoption and support for widespread use in supply chains. Participant 1 noted that as past RFID products did not possess interoperable qualities, they could not be easily integrated into the supply chain between partners and as such they did not add value. The development of standards has progressed somewhat through the formation of the EPCglobal network, a member based organization comprised of numerous large firms funding its operations. However, EPCglobal's standard is yet to be backed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). There is still no standard supported by all stakeholders that meets the needs of all users. Incompatible systems exist across different industries, from rail, truck, toll collection, retail and manufacturing. Hence, interoperability is a foremost concern for the seamless use of RFID across supply chains. The EPC standard is of paramount importance to the success of RFID. Ongoing refinements and the backing of numerous multinational organizations mean that it will most likely become the adopted standard in SCM [Participant 1]. Another perplexing issue is radio spectrum allocation. Radio spectrum is a finite resource and although numerous institutions try to ensure spectrum management, it is ultimately in the control of government agencies in different countries.

7.4 Interference and Reading Considerations

As RFID uses the radio spectrum to transmit its signals, it is susceptible to interference, hindering its ability to transmit clear and reliable information to RFID readers [Participant 1]. Similarly, RFID suffers from the inherent range limitations associated with the radio spectrum. Tagging is also not simply a matter of attaching RFID tags to items. Readers are only able to read tags that are facing a particular way, so items need to be packed accordingly [Participant 1]. Another problem arises when a pallet containing different packaged items is read, as the reader needs to be aware it is reading multiple types of items. However, RFID's ability to read through most packaging material such as plastic wraps and cardboard containers is one of its most valuable assets. Metal and liquid have been described as the “kryptonite to RFID” as they can play havoc with RFID signals [23]. Determining the best position for RFID tags can be time consuming, with one company testing six areas on a liquid product, with only one or two of those giving a best read [8]. Procter & Gamble created “RF-friendly” and “RF-unfriendly” product categories, with those containing some form of metal packaging or liquid often making the RF-unfriendly category [24].

7.5 Privacy Concerns

Privacy issues loom as one of the biggest threats to the unbridled success of RFID.Privacy concerns have the potential to “stop a technology dead in its tracks” [23]. Current RFID protocols are designed to offer the most optimal performance between readers and tags, neglecting to address consumer privacy concerns. Privacy advocates are worried that if RFID tags are placed in common items, the product may continue to be tracked once purchased by consumers [25]. Human rights organizations have already raised their disquiet over the technology. In an effort to counter privacy concerns, the Auto-Id Center has published a paper outlining three fundamental privacy policies for all users of EPC technology [26]. Clothing retailer Benetton came under fire for placing RFID tags in its clothes. Once the public was made aware of this, consumers called for a boycott against Benetton, causing the retailer to abandon its RFID plans. One of the public's biggest concerns with the plan was that there was a lack of information about how the tags could be 'turned off’ once an item was purchased [27].

Section VIII

Conclusion

The results of this paper are relevant to all organizations concerned with optimizing their supply chain through the adoption of RFID. Recently, a number of the world's largest retailers and government agencies such as Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense introduced mandates for RFID adoption. As the use of RFID for SCM is relatively new and undocumented with only a limited number of RFID deployments, many businesses are unsure what they stand to gain. Compounding this issue is the fact that most large organizations have already invested heavily in barcode systems and are skeptical about RFID technology. This paper provided an extensive investigation into the pros and cons of RFID technology within an SCM context, giving businesses the opportunity to weigh up the costs and benefits.

References

1. "LLC" no. 2001,

2. Improving Extended Supply Chain Performance Through Better Control 2002, [online] Available: http://www.manufacturing.net/scmlcontents/pdf/softchain_wp.pdf

3. A. Keith, Focus on the Supply Chain: Applying Auto-ID within the Distribution Center, IBM Business Consulting Services, Auto-ID Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002

4. K. Mills, "Tags Weigh in for Landfill Trucks", The Australian, p. 3, 2004

5. J. Teresko, "Winning with Wireless", Industry Week, vol. 252, no. 6, 2003

6. Zebra's RFID Readiness Guide: Complying with RFID Tagging Mandates, p. 3,

7. A. Donoghue, "RFID: Proceed with Caution", ZDNet, http://www.zdnet.com.au/insight/hardwareI0

8. B. Albright, "RFID Tag Placement", [online] Available:
http://www.frontlinetoday.com/frontline/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=98552

9. "RFID Technology In Retail", p. 3, 2002

10. "The EPC Network: Enhancing the Supply Chain", p. 4,

11. P. Foster,Aviation Security Manager, 2004, International Airport

12. B. Brewin, "Army to Test Passive RFID Tags on Food Shipments", Computerworld, 2003, [online] Available:
http://www.computerworld.comlsoftwaretopics/erp/story/0108018762300.html

13. G. Wind, R. F. LD. World, 2004

14. "Streamlining the Supply Chain Using Radio Frequency Identification", pp. 2-5,

15. M. Roberti, "Analysis: RFID-Wal-Mart's Network Effect", 2003, [online] Available:
http://www.cioinsight.com/print_article/0,1406,a=61672,00.asp>

16. C. Atock,"Where's My Stuff?", Manufacturing Engineer, p. 23, 2003

17. M. Chandrashekhar, "It Fits the Bill?",Businessline,

18. S. D'Hont, "The Cutting Edge of RFID Technology and Applications for Manufacturing and Distribution", Texas Instrument, [online] Available:
http://www.ti.com/tiris/docs/manuals/whtPapers/manuf_dist.pdf

19. "Electro-Magnetic RFID: Everything You Need to Know About Inductively Coupled RFID", p. 1, 1997

20. R. Shim, "Wal-Mart to Throw its Weight Behind RFID",CNET News, 2003, [online] Available:
http://news.com.com/2102-1022_3-1013767.html

21. "Return of RFID Investment will Require Creativity", [online] Available:
http://www.com/frontline/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=125499=

22. "High-Performance Enabled through Radio Frequency Identification", [online] Available:
http://www.accenture.com/xdoc/en/services/rfidlcapabilities/rfid_maximize.pdf

23. M. McGinity, "RFID: Not Your Father's Bar Code", IEEE Distributed Systems Online, [online] Available: http://dsonline.computer.org/0308/f/newsp.htm

24. B. Brewin, "Consumer Packaged Goods Firms: No Quick ROI from RFID", Computerworld, [online] Available:http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2004/0,4814,91797,00.html

25. R. Want, "Enabling Ubiquitous Sensing with RFID", Visible Computing, p. 84

26. M. Roberti, "RFID: Mark Benneton on Privacy Woes", no. 2003,

27. V. Sanford, "Pervasive Computing Goes the Last Hundred Feet with RFID Systems", IEEE CS and IEEE ComSoc, 2003

IEEE Keywords: Costs, Inventory management, Logistics, Privacy, Radio frequency, Radiofrequency identification, Raw materials, Standardization, Supply chain management, Supply chains

INSPEC: inventory management, radiofrequency identification, supply chain management, RFID, inventory management, item-level tracking, line-of-sight scanning, radio-frequency identification, supply chain management

Citation: K. Michael and L. McCathie, ICMB 2005. International Conference on Mobile Business, 2005. Date of Conference: 11-13 July 2005, Sydney, Australia, DOI: 10.1109/ICMB.2005.103

The Social, Cultural, Religious and Ethical Implications of Automatic Identification

Katina Michael, School of Information Technology & Computer Science, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia 2500, katina@uow.edu.au

M.G. Michael, American Academy of Religion, PO Box U184, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia 2500, mgm@uow.edu.au

Full Citation: Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, 2004, The Social, Cultural, Religious and Ethical Implications of Automatic Identification, Seventh International Conference on Electronic Commerce Research (ICER-7), University of Texas, Dallas, Texas, USA, June 10-13. Sponsored by ATSMA, IFIP Working Group 7.3, INFORMS Information Society.

Abstract

The number of automatic identification (auto-ID) technologies being utilized in eBusiness applications is growing rapidly. With an increasing trend toward miniaturization and wireless capabilities, auto-ID technologies are becoming more and more pervasive. The pace at which new product innovations are being introduced far outweighs the ability for citizens to absorb what these changes actually mean, and what their likely impact will be upon future generations. This paper attempts to cover a broad spectrum of issues ranging from the social, cultural, religious and ethical implications of auto-ID with an emphasis on human transponder implants. Previous work is brought together and presented in a way that offers a holistic view of the current state of proceedings, granting an up-to-date bibliography on the topic. The concluding point of this paper is that the long-term side effects of new auto-ID technologies should be considered at the outset and not after it has enjoyed widespread diffusion.

1.  Introduction

Automatic identification is the process of identifying a living or nonliving object without direct human intervention. Before auto-ID only manual identification techniques existed, such as tattoos [[i]] and fingerprints, which did not allow for the automatic capture of data (see exhibit 1.1). Auto-ID becomes an e-business application enabler when authorization or verification is required before a transaction can take place. Many researchers credit the vision of a cashless society to the capabilities of auto-ID. Since the 1960s automatic identification has proliferated especially for mass-market applications such as electronic banking and citizen ID. Together with increases in computer processing power, storage equipment and networking capabilities, miniaturization and mobility have heightened the significance of auto-ID to e-business, especially mobile commerce. Citizens are now carrying multiple devices with multiple IDs, including ATM cards, credit cards, private and public health insurance cards, retail loyalty cards, school student cards, library cards, gym cards, licenses to drive automobiles, passports to travel by air and ship, voting cards etc. More sophisticated auto-ID devices like smart card and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and transponders that house unique lifetime identifiers (ULI) or biometric templates are increasingly being considered for business-to-consumer (B2C) and government-to-citizen (G2C) transactions. For example, the United States (US) is enforcing the use of biometrics on passports due to the increasing threats of terrorism, and Britain has openly announced plans to begin implanting illegal immigrants with RFID transponders. Internationally, countries are also taking measures to decrease the multi-million dollar costs of fraudulent claims made to social security by updating their citizen identification systems.

 Exhibit 1.1     Manual versus Automatic Identification Techniques

Exhibit 1.1     Manual versus Automatic Identification Techniques

2.  Literature Review

The relative ease of performing electronic transactions by using auto-ID has raised a number of social, cultural, religious and ethical issues. Among others, civil libertarians, religious advocates and conspiracy theorists have long cast doubts on the technology and the ultimate use of the information gathered by it. Claims that auto-ID technology impinges on human rights, the right to privacy, and that eventually it will lead to totalitarian control of the populace have been put forward since the 1970s. This paper aims to explore these themes with a particular emphasis on emerging human transponder implant technology. At present, several US companies are marketing e-business services that allow for the tracking and monitoring of individuals using RFID implants in the subcutaneous layer of the skin or Global Positioning System (GPS) wristwatches worn by enrollees. To date previous literature has not consistently addressed philosophical issues related to chip implants for humans in the context of e-business. In fact, popular online news sources like CNN [[ii]] and the BBC [[iii]] are among the few mainline publishers discussing the topic seriously, albeit in a fragmented manner. The credible articles on implanting humans are mostly interviews conducted with proponents of the technology, such as Applied Digital Solutions (ADSX) [[iv]] representatives who are makers of the VeriChip system solution [[v]]; Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading who is known for his Cyborg 1.0 and 2.0 projects [[vi]]; and implantees like the Jacobs family in the US who bear RF/ID transponder implants [[vii]]. Block passages from these interviews are quoted throughout this paper to bring some of the major issues to the fore using a holistic approach.

More recently academic papers on human transponder implants covering various perspectives have surfaced on the following topics: legal and privacy [[viii], [ix]], ethics and culture [[x]], technological problems and health concerns [[xi]], technological progress [[xii]], trajectories [[xiii], [xiv]]. While there is a considerable amount of other popular material available especially on the Internet related to human chip implants, much of it is subjective and not properly sourced. One major criticism of these reports is that the reader is left pondering as to the authenticity of the accounts provided with little evidence to support respective claims and conclusions. Authorship of this literature is another problem. Often these articles are contributed anonymously, and when they do cite an author’s name, the level of technical understanding portrayed by the individual is severely lacking to the detriment of what he/she is trying to convey, even if there is a case to be argued. Thus, the gap this paper seeks to fill is to provide a sober presentation of cross-disciplinary perspectives on topical auto-ID issues with an emphasis on human transponder implants, and second to document some of the more thought-provoking discussion which has already taken place on the topic, complemented by a complete introductory bibliography.

3.  Method

Articles on auto-ID in general have failed to address the major philosophical issues using a holistic approach. For instance, Woodward [[xv]] is one of the few authors to have mentioned anything overly substantial about religious issues, with respect to biometric technology in a recognized journal. Previously the focus has basically been on privacy concerns and Big Brother fears. While such themes are discussed in this paper as well, the goal is to cover a broader list of issues than the commonplace. This is the very reason why two researchers with two very different backgrounds, one in science and the other in humanities, have collaborated to write this paper. A qualitative strategy is employed in this investigation to explore the major themes identified in the literature review. It should be noted however that legal, regulatory, economic and related policy issues such as standards, have been omitted because the aim of this paper is not to inform a purely technical audience or an audience which is strictly concerned with policy. It is aimed rather at the potential end-user of auto-ID devices and at technology companies who are continually involved in the process of auto-ID innovation.

Original material is quoted extensively to ensure that the facts are presented “as is.” There is nothing lost in simplified translations and the full weight of argument is retained, raw and uncut. The authors therefore cannot be accused of bias or misrepresentation. The sheer breadth of literature used for this investigation ensures reliability and validity in the findings. The narrative reporting style helps to guide readers through the paper, allowing individuals to form their own opinions and interpretations of what is being presented. Evidence for the issues discussed has been gathered from a wide variety of sources including offline and online documentation. High level content analysis has been performed to aid in the grouping of categories of discussion including social, cultural, religious and ethical issues that form the skeleton of the main body of the article as a way to identify emerging trends and patterns. Subcategories are also useful in identifying the second tier themes covered, helping to reduce complexity in analysis. The subcategories also allow for links to be made between themes. A highly intricate thread runs through the whole paper telling the story of not just auto-ID but the impacts of the information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) revolution [[xvi]]. There is therefore a predictive element to the paper as well which is meant to confront the reader with some present and future scenarios. The ‘what if’ questions are important as it is hoped they will generate public debate on the major social, cultural, religious and ethical implications of RFID implants in humans.

4. Towards Ubiquitous Computing

Section 4 is wholly dedicated to providing a background in which to understand auto-ID innovation; it will also grant some perspective to the tremendous pace of change in IT&T; and note some of the more grounded predictions about the future of computing. The focus is on wearable and ubiquitous computing within which auto-ID will play a crucial role. This section will help the reader place the evidence presented in the main body of the article into an appropriate context. The reader will thus be able to interpret the findings more precisely once the basic setting has been established, allowing each individual to form their own opinions about the issues being presented.

From personal computers (PCs) to laptops to personal digital assistants (PDAs) and from landline phones to cellular phones to wireless wristwatches, miniaturization and mobility have acted to shift the way in which computing is perceived by humans. Lemonick [[xvii]] captures this pace of change well in the following excerpt:

[i]t took humanity more than 2 million years to invent wheels but only about 5,000 years more to drive those wheels with a steam engine. The first computers filled entire rooms, and it took 35 years to make the machines fit on a desk- but the leap from desktop to laptop took less than a decade… What will the next decade bring, as we move into a new millennium? That’s getting harder and harder to predict.

Once a stationary medium, computers are now portable, they go wherever humans go [[xviii]]. This can be described as technology becoming more human-centric, “where products are designed to work for us, and not us for them” [[xix]]. Thus, the paradigm shift is from desktop computing to wearable computing [[xx]]. Quite remarkably in the pursuit of miniaturization, little has been lost in terms of processing power. “The enormous progress in electronic miniaturization make it possible to fit many components and complex interconnection structures into an extremely small area using high-density printed circuit and multichip substrates” [[xxi]]. We now have so-named Matchbox PCs that are no larger than a box of matches with the ability to house fully functional operating systems [[xxii]]. “The development of wearable computer systems has been rapid. Salonen [[xxiii]], among others [[xxiv]] are of the belief that “quite soon we will see a wide range of unobtrusive wearable and ubiquitous computing equipment integrated into our everyday wear”. The next ten years will see wearable computing devices become an integral part of our daily lives, especially as the price for devices keeps falling. Whether noticeable or not by users, the change has already begun. Technology is increasingly becoming an extension of the human body, whether it is by carrying smart cards or electronic tags [[xxv]] or even PDAs and mobile phones. Furui [[xxvi]] predicts that “[p]eople will actually walk through their day-to-day lives wearing several computers at a time.” Cochrane described this phenomenon as technology being an omnipresent part of our lives. Not only will devices become small and compact but they will be embedded in our bodies, invisible to anyone else [[xxvii]]. For the time being however, we are witnessing the transition period in which auto-ID devices especially are being trialled upon those who either i) desperately require their use for medical purposes or ii) who cannot challenge their application, such as in the case of armed forces or prison inmates. Eventually, the new technology will be opened to the wider market in a voluntary nature but will most likely become a de facto compulsory standard (i.e. such as in the case of the mobile phone today), and inevitably mandatory as it is linked to some kind of requirement for survival. Upon reflection, this is the pattern that most successful high-tech innovations throughout history have followed.

Mark Weiser first conceived the term “ubiquitous computing” to espouse all those small information systems (IS) devices, including calculators, electronic calendars and communicators that users would carry with them every day [[xxviii]]. It is important to make the distinction between ubiquitous and wearable computing. They “have been posed as polar opposites even though they are often applied in very similar applications” [[xxix]]. Kaku [[xxx]] stated that ubiquitous computing, is the time “when computers are all connected to each other and the ratio of computers to people flips the other way, with as many as one hundred computers for every person.” This latter definition implies a ubiquitous environment that allows the user to seamlessly interface with computer systems around them. Environments of the future are predicted to be context-aware so that users are not disturbed in every context, save for when it is suitable [[xxxi]]. Kortuem [[xxxii]] stated that “[s]uch environments might be found at the home, at the office, at factory floors, or even vehicles.” There is some debate however of where to place sensors in these environments. For example, should they be located around the room or should they be located on the individual. Locating sensors around the room enforces certain conditions on an individual, while locating sensors on an individual means that that person is actually in control of their context. The latter case also requires less localized infrastructure and a greater degree of freedom. Rhodes et al. [29] argue that by “properly combining wearable computing and ubiquitous computing, a system can have the advantages of both.”

5.  Social Issues

5.1 Privacy Concerns and Big Brother Fears

Starner [[xxxiii]] makes the distinction between privacy and security concerns. “Security involves the protection of information from unauthorized users; privacy is the individual’s right to control the collection and use of personal information.” Mills [[xxxiv]] is of the opinion that some technology, like communications, is not non-neutral but totalitarian in nature and that it can make citizens passive. “These glamorous technologies extend and integrate cradle-to-grave surveillance, annihilating all concept of a right to personal privacy, and help consolidate the power of the national security state… every technology, being a form of power, has implicit values and politics…” Over the years terms like Big Brother [[xxxv], [xxxvi]] and function creep [[xxxvii]] have proliferated to correspond to the all-seeing eyes of government and to the misuse and abuse of data. In most western countries data matching programs were constructed, linked to a unique citizen ID, to cross-check details provided by citizens, claims made, and benefits distributed [[xxxviii], [xxxix]]. More recently however, the trend has tended towards information centralization between government agencies based around the auspices of a national ID to reduce fraud [[xl]] and to combat terrorism [[xli]]. Currently computers allow for the storage and searching of data gathered like never before [[xlii]]. The range of automated data collection devices continues to increase to include systems such as bar codes (with RF capabilities), magnetic-stripe card, smart card and a variety of biometric techniques, increasing the rapidity and ease at which information is gathered. RFID transponders especially have added a greater granularity of precision in in-building and campus-wide solutions, given the wireless edge, allowing information to be gathered within a closed environment, anywhere/ anytime, transparent to the individual carrying the RFID badge or tag.

Now, while auto-ID itself is supposed to ensure privacy, it is the ease with which data can be collected that has some advocates concerned about the ultimate use of personal information. While the devices are secure, breaches in privacy can happen at any level- especially at the database level where information is ultimately stored after it is collected [[xliii]]. How this information is used, how it is matched with other data, who has access to it, is what has caused many citizens to be cautious about auto-ID in general [[xliv]]. Data mining also has altered how data is filtered, sifted and utilized all in the name of customer relationship management (CRM). It is not difficult to obtain telemarketing lists, census information aggregated to a granular level, and mapping tools to represent market segments visually. Rothfeder [[xlv]] states:

[m]edical files, financial and personnel records, Social Security numbers, and telephone call histories- as well as information about our lifestyle preferences, where we shop, and even what car we drive- are available quickly and cheaply.

Looking forward, the potential for privacy issues linked to chip implants is something that has been considered but mostly granted attention by the media. Privacy advocates warn that such a chip would impact civil liberties in a disastrous way [[xlvi]]. Even Warwick, himself, is aware that chip implants do not promote an air of assurance:

Looking back, Warwick admits that the whole experiment [Cyborg 1.0] “smacked of Big Brother.” He insists, however, that it’s important to raise awareness of what’s already technically possible so that we can remain in the driver’s seat. “I have a sneaking suspicion,” he says, “that as long as we’re gaining things, we’ll yell ‘Let’s have Big Brother now!’ It’s when we’re locked in and the lights start going off- then Big Brother is a problem.” [[xlvii]]

In this instance, Warwick has made an important observation. So long as individuals are “gaining” they generally will voluntarily part with a little more information. It is when they stop gaining and blatantly start being taken advantage of that the idea of Big Brother is raised. On that point, chip implants promise the convenience of not having to carry a multitude of auto-ID devices, perhaps not even a wallet or purse.

According to McGinity [18] “[e]xperts say it [the chip] could carry all your personal information, medical background, insurance, banking information, passport information, address, phone number, social security number, birth certificate, marriage license.” This kind of data collection is considered by civil libertarians to be “crypto-fascism or high-tech slavery” [[xlviii]]. The potential for abuse cannot be overstated [[xlix]]. Salkowski agrees pointing to the ADSX VeriChip system, stating that police, parents and ADSX employees could abuse their power. “It might even be possible for estranged spouses, employers and anyone else with a grudge to get their hands on tracking data through a civil subpoena” [[l]]. Hackers too, could try their hand at collecting data without the knowledge of the individual, given that wireless transmission is susceptible to interception. At the same time, the chip implant may become a prerequisite to health insurance and other services. “You could have a scenario where insurance companies refuse to insure you unless you agree to have a chip implant to monitor the level of physical activity you do” says Pearson of British Telecom [[li]]. This should not be surprising given that insurance companies already ask individuals for a medical history of illnesses upon joining a new plan. Proponents say the chip would just contain this information more accurately [7]. Furthermore, “[c]ost-conscious insurance companies are sure to be impressed, because the portability of biomems [i.e., a type of medical chip implant] would allow even a seriously ill patient to be monitored after surgery or treatment on an outpatient basis” [[lii]]. Now a chip storing personal information is quite different to one used to monitor health 24x7x365 and then to relay diagnoses to relevant stakeholders. As Chris Hoofnagle, an attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Centre in Washington, D.C., pointed out, “[y]ou always have to think about what the device will be used for tomorrow” [[liii]]. In its essential aspect, this is exactly the void this paper has tried to fill.

5.2 Mandatory Proof of Identification

In the US in 2001 several bills were passed in Congress to allow for the creation of three new Acts related to biometric identification of citizens and aliens, including the Patriot Act, Aviation and Transport Security Act, and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act. If terrorism attacks continue to increase in frequency, there is a growing prospect in the use of chip implants for identification purposes and GPS for tracking and monitoring. It is not an impossible scenario to consider that one day these devices may be incorporated into national identification schemes. During the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Singapore [[liv]] and Taiwan [[lv]] considered going as far as tagging their whole population with RFID devices to monitor automatically the spread of the virus. Yet, independent of such random and sporadic events, governments worldwide are already moving toward the introduction of a single unique ID to cater for a diversity of citizen applications. Opinions on the possibility of widespread chip implants in humans range from “it would be a good idea,” to “it would be a good idea, but only for commercial applications not government applications,” to “this should never be allowed to happen”. Leslie Jacobs, who was one of the first to receive a VeriChip told Scheeres [[lvi]], “[t]he world would be a safer place if authorities had a tamper-proof way of identifying people… I have nothing to hide, so I wouldn’t mind having the chip for verification… I already have an ID card, so why not have a chip?” It should be noted that some tracking and monitoring systems can be turned off and on by the wearer, making monitoring theoretically voluntary [[lvii]]. Sullivan a spokesperson for ADSX, said: “[i]t will not intrude on personal privacy except in applications applied to the tracking of criminals” [49]. ADSX have claimed on a number of occasions that it has received more than two thousand emails from teenagers volunteering to be the next to be “chipped” [[lviii]]. There are others like McClimans [[lix]] that believe that everyone should get chipped. Cunha Lima, a Brazilian politician who also has a chip implant is not ignorant of the potential for invasion of privacy but believes the benefits outweigh the costs and that so long as the new technology is voluntary and not mandatory there is nothing to worry about. He has said, “[i]f one chooses to ‘be chipped,’ then one has considered the consequences of that action” [[lx]]. Lima argues that he feels more secure with an implant given the number of kidnappings in South America of high profile people each year- at least this way his location is always known.

Professor Brad Meyers of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University believes that the chip implant technology has a place but should not be used by governments. Yet the overriding sentiment is that chip implants will be used by government before too long. Salkowski [50] has said, “[i]f you doubt there are governments that would force at least some of their citizens to carry tracking implants, you need to start reading the news a little more often.” Black [53] echoes these sentiments: “Strictly voluntary? So far so good. But now imagine that same chip being used by a totalitarian government to keep track of or round up political activists or others who are considered enemies of the state. In the wrong hands, the VeriChip could empower the wrong people.” In a report written by Ramesh [[lxi]] for the Franklin Pierce Law Centre the prediction is made that: 

[a] national identification system via microchip implants could be achieved in two stages: Upon introduction as a voluntary system, the microchip implantation will appear to be palatable. After there is a familiarity with the procedure and a knowledge of its benefits, implantation would be mandatory.

Bob Gellman, a Washington privacy consultant, likens this to “a sort of modern version of tattooing people, something that for obvious reasons- the Nazis tattooed numbers of people- no one proposes” [49, [lxii], [lxiii]]. The real issue at hand as Gellman sees it is “who will be able to demand that a chip be implanted in another person.” Mieszkowski supports Gray by observing how quickly a new technological “option” can become a requirement. Resistance after the voluntary adoption stage can be rather futile if momentum is leading the device towards a mandatory role.

McMurchie [[lxiv]] reveals the subtle progression toward embedded devices:

[a]s we look at wearable computers, it’s not a big jump to say, ‘OK, you have a wearable, why not just embed the device?’… And no one can rule out the possibility that employees might one day be asked to sport embedded chips for ultimate access control and security…

Professor Chris Hables Gray uses the example of prospective military chip implant applications. How can a marine, for instance, resist implantation? Timothy McVeigh, convicted Oklahoma bomber, claimed that during the Gulf War, he was implanted with a microchip against his will. The claims have been denied by the U.S. military [[lxv]], however the British Army is supposedly considering projects such as APRIL (Army Personnel Rationalization Individual Listings) [51]. Some cyberpunks have attempted to counteract the possibility of enforced implantation. One punk known by the name of “Z.L” is an avid reader of MIT specialist publications like open|DOOR MIT magazine on bioengineering and beyond. Z.L.’s research has indicated that:

[i]t is only a matter of time… before technology is integrated within the body. Anticipating the revolution, he has already taught himself how to do surgical implants and other operations. “The state uses technology to strengthen its control over us,” he says. “By opposing this control, I remain a punk. When the first electronic tags are implanted in the bodies of criminals, maybe in the next five years, I’ll know how to remove them, deactivate them and spread viruses to roll over Big Brother” [25].

5.3 Health Risks

Public concern about electromagnetic fields from cellular phones was a contentious issue in the late 1990s. Now it seems that the majority of people in More Developing Countries (MDCs) have become so dependent on mobile phones that they are disregarding the potential health risks associated with the technology [[lxvi]]. Though very little has been proven concretely, most terminal manufacturers do include a warning with their packaging, encouraging users not to touch the antenna of the phone during transmission [[lxvii]]. Covacio [11] is among the few authors to discuss the potential technological problems associated with microchips for human ID from a health perspective. In his paper he provides evidence why implants may impact humans adversely, categorizing these into thermal (i.e. whole/partial rise in body heating), stimulation (i.e. excitation of nerves and muscles) and other effects most of which are currently unknown. He states that research into RFID and mobile telephone technology [11]:

...has revealed a growing concern with the effects of radio frequency and non-ionizing radiation on organic matter. It has been revealed a number of low-level, and possible high-level risks are associated with the use of radio-frequency technology. Effects of X-rays and gamma rays have been well documented in medical and electronic journals…

In considering future wearable devices, Salonen [[lxviii]] puts forward the idea of directing antenna away from the head where “there may be either a thermal insult produced by power deposition in tissue (acute effects) or other (long-term) effects” to midway between the shoulder and elbow where radiation can be pushed outward from the body. Yet chip implants may also pose problems, particularly if they are active implants that contain batteries and are prone to leakage if transponders are accidentally broken. Geers et al. [[lxix]] write the following regarding animal implants.

Another important aspect is the potential toxic effect of the battery when using active transponders. Although it should be clear that pieces of glass or copper from passive tags are not allowed to enter the food chain. When using electronic monitoring with the current available technology, a battery is necessary to guarantee correct functioning of sensors when the transponder is outside the antenna field. If the transponder should break in the animal’s body, battery fluid may escape, and the question of toxological effects has to be answered.

In fact, we need only consider the very real problems that women with failed silicon breast implants have had to suffer. Will individuals with chip implants, twenty years down the track, be tied up in similar court battles and with severe medical problems? Surgical implantation, it must also be stated, causes some degree of stress in an animal and it takes between four to seven days for the animal to return to equilibrium [69]. Most certainly some discomfort must be felt by humans as well. In the Cyborg 1.0 project, Warwick was advised to leave the implant under his skin for only ten days. According to Trull [[lxx]], Warwick was taking antibiotics to fight the possibility of infection. Warwick also reportedly told his son while playing squash during Cyborg 1.0: “Whatever you do, don’t hit my arm. The implant could just shatter, and you’ll have ruined your father’s arm for life” [[lxxi]]. It is also worthwhile noting Warwick’s appearance after the Cyborg 2.0 experiment. He looked pale and weary in press release photographs, like someone who had undergone a major operation. Covacio [11] believes ultimately that widespread implantation of microchips in humans will lead to detrimental effects to them and the environment at large. Satellite technology (i.e. the use of GPS to locate individuals), microwave RF and related technological gadgetry will ultimately “increase health problems and consequentially increase pressure on health services already under economic duress.”

6. Cultural Issues

6.1 The Net Generation

When the ENIAC was first made known to the public in February of 1946 reporters used “anthropomorphic” and “awesome characterizations” to describe the computer. The news was received with skepticism by citizens who feared the unknown. In an article titled “The Myth of the Awesome Thinking Machine”, Martin [[lxxii]] stated that the ENIAC was referred to in headlines as “a child, a Frankenstein, a whiz kid, a predictor and controller of weather, and a wizard”. Photographs of the ENIAC used in publications usually depicted the computer to completely fill a small room, from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. People are usually shown interacting with the machine, feeding it with instructions, waiting for results and monitoring its behavior. One could almost imagine that the persons in the photographs are ‘inside the body’ of the ENIAC [[lxxiii]]. Sweeping changes have taken place since that time, particularly since the mid 1980s. Consumers now own personal computers (PCs) in their homes- these are increasingly being networked- they carry laptop computers and mobile phones and chip cards, and closely interact with public automated kiosks. Relatively speaking, it has not taken long for people to adapt to the changes that this new technology has heralded. Today we speak of a Net Generation (N-Geners) who never knew a world without computers or the Internet [[lxxiv]]; for them the digital world is as ubiquitous as the air that they breathe. What is important to N-Geners is not how they got to where they are today but what digital prospects the future holds.

“[O]ur increasing cultural acceptance of high-tech gadgetry has led to a new way of thinking: robotic implants could be so advantageous that people might actually want to become cybernetic organisms, by choice. The popularization of the cyberpunk genre has demonstrated that it can be hip to have a chip in your head” [70].

6.2 Science Fiction Genre

The predictions of science fiction writers have often been promoted through the use of print, sound and visual mediums. Below is a list of sci-fi novels, films and television series that undoubtedly have influenced and are still influencing the trajectory of auto-ID. Chris Hables Gray tells his students “…that a lot of the best cyborgology has been done in the mass media and in fiction by science fiction writers, and science fiction movie producers, because they’re thinking through these things” [[lxxv]]. The popular 1970s series of Six Million Dollar Man, for instance, began as follows: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first Bionic man.” Today bionic limbs are a reality and no longer science fiction [[lxxvi]]. More recently AT&T’s Wireless mMode magazine alluded to Start Trek [[lxxvii]]:

They also talked about their expectations- one media executive summed it up best, saying, “Remember that little box that Mr. Spock had on Star Trek? The one that did everything? That’s what I’d like my phone to be…”

Beyond auto-ID we find a continuing legacy in sci-fi genre toward the electrification of humans- from Frankenstein to Davros in Dr Who, and from Total Recall to Johnny Mnemonic (see exhibit 1.2). While all this is indeed ‘merely’ sci-fi, it is giving some form to the word, allowing the imagination to be captured in powerful images, sounds and models. What next? A vision of a mechanized misery [[lxxviii]] as portrayed in Fritz Lang’s 1927 cult film classic Metropolis? Only this time instead of being at the mercy of the Machine, we have gone one step further and invited the Machine to reside inside the body, and marked it as a ‘technological breakthrough’ as well. As several commentators have noted, “[w]e live in an era that… itself often seems like science fiction, and Metropolis has contributed powerfully to that seeming” [[lxxix]].

 Exhibit 1.2     Sci-Fi Film Genre Pointing to the Electrification of Humans

Exhibit 1.2     Sci-Fi Film Genre Pointing to the Electrification of Humans

Some of the more notable predictions and social critiques are contained within the following novels: Frankenstein (Shelley 1818), Paris in the 20th Century (Verne 1863), Looking Backward (Bellamy 1888), The Time Machine (Wells 1895), R.U.R. (Kapek 1917), Brave New World (Huxley 1932), 1984 (Orwell 1949), I, Robot (Asimov 1950), Foundation (Asimov 1951-53, 1982), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Clarke 1968), Blade Runner (Dick 1968), Neuromancer (Gibson 1984), The Marked Man (Ingrid 1989), The Silicon Man (Platt 1991), Silicon Karma (Easton 1997). The effects of film have been even more substantial on the individual as they have put some form to the predictions. These include: Metropolis (Fritz Lang 1927), Forbidden Planet (Fred Wilcox 1956), Fail Safe (Sidney Lumet 1964), THX-1138 (George Lucas 1971), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick 1968), The Terminal Man (George Lucas 1974), Zardoz (John Boorman 1974), Star Wars (George Lucas 1977), Moonraker (Lewis Gilbert II 1979), Star Trek (Robert Wise 1979), For Your Eyes Only (John Glen II 1981), Blade Runner (Ridley Scott 1982), War Games (John Badham 1983), 2010: The Year We Make Contact (Peter Hyams 1984), RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987), Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven 1990), The Terminator Series, Sneakers (Phil Alden Robinson 1992), Patriot Games (Phillip Noyce 1992), The Lawnmower Man (Brett Leonard 1992), Demolition Man (Marco Brambilla 1993), Jurassic Park (Steven Speilberg 1993), Hackers (Iain Softley 1995), Johnny Mnemonic (Robert Longo 1995), The NET (Irwin Winkler 1995) [[lxxx]], Gattaca (Andrew Niccol 1997) Enemy of the State (Tony Scott 1998), Fortress 2 (Geoff Murphy 1999), The Matrix (L. Wachowski & A. Wachowski 1999), Mission Impossible 2 (John Woo 2000), The 6th Day (Roger Spottiswoode 2000). Other notable television series include: Dr Who, Lost in Space, Dick Tracy, The Jetsons, Star Trek, Batman, Get Smart, Six Million Dollar Man, Andromeda, Babylon 5, Gasaraki, Stargate SG-1, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FarScape, and X-Files.  

6.3 Shifting Cultural Values

Auto-ID and more generally computer and network systems have influenced changes in language, art [[lxxxi]], music and film. An article by Branwyn [[lxxxii]] summarizes these changes well.

Language [[lxxxiii]]: “Computer network and hacker slang is filled with references to “being wired” or “jacking in” (to a computer network), “wetware” (the brain), and “meat” the body”.
Music: “Recent albums by digital artists Brian Eno, Clock DVA, and Frontline Assembly sport names like Nerve Net, Man Amplified and Tactical Neural Implant.” See also the 1978 album by Kraftwerk titled “The Man Machine”.
Film: “Science fiction films, from Robocop to the recent Japanese cult film Tetsuo: The Iron Man, imprint our imaginations with images of the new.”

Apart from the plethora of new terms that have been born from the widespread use of IT&T and more specifically from extropians (much of which have religious connotations or allusions [[lxxxiv]]), it is art, especially body art that is being heavily influenced by chip implant technology. Mieszkowski [49] believes that “chipification” will be the next big wave in place of tattoos, piercing and scarification (see exhibit 1.3). In the U.S. it was estimated in 2001 that about two hundred Americans had permanently changed their bodies at around nine hundred dollars per implant, following a method developed by Steve Hayworth and Jon Cobb [25].

 Exhibit 1.3     The New Fashion: Bar Code Tattoos, Piercing & Chips

Exhibit 1.3     The New Fashion: Bar Code Tattoos, Piercing & Chips

Canadian artist Nancy Nisbet has implanted microchips in her hands to better understand how implant technology may affect the human identity. The artist told Scheeres [[lxxxv]], “I am expecting the merger between human and machines to proceed whether we want it to or not…” As far back as 1997, Eduardo Kac “inserted a chip into his ankle during a live performance in Sao Paulo, then registered himself in an online pet database as both owner and animal” [86]. Perhaps the actual implant ceremony was not Kac’s main contribution but the subsequent registration onto a pet database. Other artists like Natasha Vita More and Stelarc have ventured beyond localized chip implants. Their vision is of a complete prosthetic body that will comprise of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloning, and even nanobots [75]. More calls her future body design Primo 3M Plus. Stelarc’s live performances however, have been heralded as the closest thing there is to imagining a world where the human body will become obsolete [[lxxxvi]].

A Stelarc performance… usually involves a disturbing mix of amplified sounds of human organs and techno beats, an internal camera projecting images of his innards, perhaps a set of robotic legs or an extra arm, or maybe tubes and wires connecting the performer’s body to the internet with people in another country manipulating the sensors, jerking him into a spastic dance. It’s a dark vision, but it definitely makes you think [75].

Warwick [[lxxxvii]] believes that the new technologies “will dramatically change [art], but not destroy it.”

6.4 Medical Marvels or Human Evolution

As Sacleman wrote in 1967 “...the impact of automation on the individual involve[d] a reconstruction of his values, his outlook and his way of life” [[lxxxviii]]. Marshall McLuhan [[lxxxix], [xc]] was one of the first explorers to probe how the psycho-social complex was influenced by electricity. “Electricity continually transforms everything, especially the way people think, and confirms the power of uncertainty in the quest for absolute knowledge.” [[xci]]. Numerous examples can be given to illustrate these major cultural changes- from the use of electricity for household warmth, to wide area networks (WAN) enabling voice and data communications across long distances, to magnetic-stripe cards used for credit transactions [[xcii], [xciii], [xciv], [xcv]]. But what of the direct unification of humans and technology, i.e., the fusion between flesh and electronic circuitry [[xcvi], [xcvii], [xcviii]]? Consider for a moment the impact that chip implants have had on the estimated 23,000 cochlear recipients in the US. A medical marvel perhaps but it too, not without controversy. There are potentially 500,000 hearing impaired persons that could benefit from cochlear implants [[xcix]] but not every deaf person wants one.

Some deaf activists… are critical of parents who subject children to such surgery [cochlear implants] because, as one charged, the prosthesis imparts “the nonhealthy self-concept of having had something wrong with one’s body” rather than the “healthy self-concept of [being] a proud Deaf” [[c]].

Assistant Professor Scott Bally of Audiology at Gallaudet University has said: “Many deaf people feel as though deafness is not a handicap. They are culturally deaf individuals who have successfully adapted themselves to being deaf and feel as though things like cochlear implants would take them out of their deaf culture, a culture which provides a significant degree of support” [82].

Putting this delicate debate aside it is here that some delineation can be made between implants that are used to treat an ailment or disability (i.e. giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf), and implants that may be used for enhancing human function (i.e. memory). Some citizens are concerned about the direction of the human species as future predictions of fully functional neural implants are being made by credible scientists. “[Q]uestions are raised as to how society as a whole will relate to people walking around with plugs and wires sprouting out of their heads. And who will decide which segments of the society become the wire-heads” [82]? Those who can afford the procedures perhaps? And what of the possibility of brain viruses that could be fatal and technological obsolescence that may require people to undergo frequent operations? Maybury [[ci]] believes that humans are already beginning to suffer from a type of “mental atrophy” worse than that that occurred during the industrial revolution and that the only way to fight it is to hang on to those essential skills that are required for human survival. The question remains whether indeed it is society that shapes technology [[cii]] or technology that shapes society [[ciii]]. Inevitably it is a dynamic process of push and pull that causes cultural transformations over time.

7 Religious Issues

7.1 The Mark of the Beast

Ever since the bar code symbology UPC (Universal Product Code) became widespread some Christian groups have linked auto-ID to the “mark” in the Book of Revelation (13:18): “the number of the beast… is 666” [[civ], [cv], [cvi]]. Coincidentally, the left (101), centre (01010) and right (101) border codes of the UPC bars are encoded 6, 6, 6 (see exhibit 1.4). As it is now an established standard for every non-perishable item to be bar coded there was a close association with the prophecy: “so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark” (Rev 13:17). In full, verses 16-18 of chapter 13 of Revelation read as follows:

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666. [[cvii]]

According to some Christians, this reference would appear to be alluding to a mark on or in the human body, the prediction being made that the UPC would eventually end up on or under human skin [[cviii]]. As the selection environment of auto-ID devices grew, the interpretation of the prophecy further developed as to the actual guise of the mark. It was no longer interpreted to be ‘just’ the bar code (see exhibit 1.4). Some of the more prominent religious web sites that discuss auto-ID and the number of the beast include: http://www.666soon.com (2003), http://www.greaterthings.com (2003), http://www.countdown.com.org (2003), http://www.raidersnewsupdate.com (2003), http://www.light1998.com (2003) and http://www.av1611.org (1996). At first the sites focused on bar code technology, now they have grown to encompass a plethora of auto-ID technologies, especially biometrics and looming chip implants. For a thorough analysis of the background, sources and interpretation of the “number of the beast” see M.G. Michael’s thesis [[cix]].

Card technology such as magnetic-stripe and smart cards became the next focus as devices that would gradually pave the way for a permanent ID for all citizens globally: “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark…” (Rev 13:16). Biometrics was then introduced and immediately the association was made that the “mark” [charagma] would appear on the “right hand” (i.e. palmprint or fingerprint) or on the “forehead” (facial/ iris recognition) as was supposedly prophesied (Rev. 13:16). For the uses of charagma in early Christian literature see Arndt and Gingrich [[cx]]. Short of calling this group of people fundamentalists, as Woodward [15] refers to one prominent leader, Davies is more circumspect [[cxi]]:

“I think they’re legitimate [claims]. People have always rejected certain information practices for a variety of reasons: personal, cultural, ethical, religious and legal. And I think it has to be said that if a person feels bad for whatever reason, about the use of a body part then that’s entirely legitimate and has to be respected”.

Finally RF/ID transponders made their way into pets and livestock for identification, and that is when some Christian groups announced that the ‘authentic’ mark was now possible, and that it was only a matter of time before it would find its way into citizen applications [[cxii]]. Terry Cook [[cxiii]], for instance, an outspoken religious commentator and popular author, “worries the identification chip could be the ‘mark of the beast’, an identifying mark that all people will be forced to wear just before the end times, according to the Bible” [[cxiv]]. The description of an implant procedure for sows that Geers et al. [69] gives, especially the section about an incision being made on the skin, is what some religious advocates fear may happen to humans as well in the future.

When the thermistor was implanted the sows were restrained with a lasso. The implantation site was locally anaesthetized with a procaine (2%) injection, shaved and disinfected. After making a small incision in the skin, the thermistor was implanted subcutaneously, and the incision was closed by sewing. The position of the thermistor (accuracy 0.1C) was wire-connected to a data acquisition system linked to a personal computer.

“Religious advocates say it [i.e. transponder implants] represents ‘the mark of the Beast’, or the anti-Christ” [[cxv]]. Christians who take this mark, for whatever reason, are said to be denouncing the seal of baptism, and accepting the Antichrist in place of Christ [[cxvi], [cxvii], [cxviii]]. Horn [[cxix]] explains:

[m]any Christians believe that, before long, an antichrist system will appear. It will be a New World Order, under which national boundaries dissolve, and ethnic groups, ideologies, religions, and economics from around the world, orchestrate a single and dominant sovereignty… According to popular Biblical interpretation, a single personality will surface at the head of the utopian administration… With imperious decree the Antichrist will facilitate a one-world government, universal religion, and globally monitored socialism. Those who refuse his New World Order will inevitably be imprisoned or destroyed.

References discussing the New World Order include Barnet and Cavanagh [[cxx]], Wilshire [[cxxi]], and Smith [[cxxii]].

 Exhibit 1.4     The Mark of the Beast as Shown on GreaterThings.com

Exhibit 1.4     The Mark of the Beast as Shown on GreaterThings.com

Companies that specialize in the manufacture of chip implant solutions, whether for animals or for humans, have been targeted by some religious advocates. The bad publicity has not been welcomed by these companies- some have even notably “toned down” the graphic visuals on their web sites so that they do not attract the wrong ‘type’ of web surfers. While they are trying to promote an image of safety and security, some advocates have associated company brands and products with apocalyptic labels. Some of the company and product names include: Biomark, BioWare, BRANDERS, MARC, Soul Catcher, Digital Angel and Therion Corporation. Perhaps the interesting thing to note is that religious advocates and civil libertarians agree that ultimately the chip implant technology will be used by governments to control citizens. ADSX is one of the companies that have publicly stated that they do not want adverse publicity after pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into research and development and the multi-million dollar purchase of the Destron Fearing company. So concerned were they that they even appeared on the Christian talk show The 700 Club, emphasizing that the device would create a lot of benefits and was not meant to fulfill prophecy [60]. A spokesperson for ADSX said: “[w]e don’t want the adverse publicity. There are a number of privacy concerns and religious implications- fundamentalist Christian groups regard [i.e., implanting computer chips] as the Devil’s work” [51].  According to Gary Wohlscheid, the president of The Last Day Ministries, the VeriChip could well be the mark.  Wohlscheid believes that out of all the auto-ID technologies with the potential to be the mark, the VeriChip is the closest. About the VeriChip he says however, “[i]t’s definitely not the final product, but it’s a step toward it. Within three to four years, people will be required to use it. Those that reject it will be put to death” [56]. These are, of course, the positions of those who have entered the debate from the so-called fundamentalist literalist perspective and represent the more vocal and visible spectrum of contemporary “apocalyptic” Christianity. In this context the idea of fundamentalism seems to be a common label today, for anyone within the Christian community who questions the trajectory of technological advancement.

With respect to the potential of brain chips in the perceived quest for “immortality” [13, 14], many Christians across the denominational confession see this as an attempt to usurp the Eternal Life promised by God, in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. This is similar to the case of human cloning, where specialist geneticists are accused of trying to play God by usurping the Creator’s role. However, the area is notoriously grey here; when for instance, do implants for medical breakthroughs become acceptable versus those required for purposes of clear identification? In the future the technology in question could end up merging the two functions onto the single device. This is a real and very possible outcome, when all factors, both market and ethical, are taken on board by the relevant stakeholders. Ultimately, for most members of a believing religious community, this subject revolves around the most important question of individual freedom and the right to choose [[cxxiii], [cxxiv]].

8. Ethical Issues

In an attempt to make our world a safer place we have inadvertently infringed on our privacy and our freedom through the use of surveillance cameras and all other ancillary. We equip our children with mobile phones, attach tracking devices to them or make them carry them [[cxxv]] in their bags and soon we might even be implanting them with microchips [[cxxvi]]. This all comes at a price- yet it seems more and more people are willing to pay this price as heinous crimes become common events in a society that should know better. Take the example of 11-year old Danielle Duval who is about to have an active chip (i.e. containing a rechargeable battery) implanted in her. Her mother believes that it is no different to tracking a stolen car, simply that it is being used for another more important application. Mrs Duvall is considering implanting her younger daughter age 7 as well but will wait until the child is a bit older: “so that she fully understands what’s happening” [[cxxvii]]. One could be excused for asking whether Danielle at the age of 11 actually can fully comprehend the implications of the procedure she is about to undergo. It seems that the age of consent would be a more appropriate age.

Warwick has said that an urgent debate is required on this matter (i.e. whether every child should be implanted by law), and whether or not signals from the chips should be emitted on a 24x7 basis or just triggered during emergencies. Warwick holds the position that “we cannot prejudge ethics” [87]. He believes that ethics can only be debated and conclusions reached only after people become aware of the technical possibilities when they have been demonstrated. He admits that ethics may differ between countries and cultures [[cxxviii]]. The main ethical problem related to chip implants seems to be that they are under the skin [70] and cannot just be removed by the user at their convenience. In fact there is nothing to stop anyone from getting multiple implants all over their body rendering some applications useless. Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is convinced that if a technology is there to be abused, whether it is chip implants or national ID cards, then it will because that is just human nature [[cxxix]]. Similarly, Kidscape, a charity that is aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual abuse in children believe that implants will not act to curb crime. Kidscape hold the position that rather than giving children a false sense of security because they are implanted with a tracking device that could be tampered with by an offender, they should be educated on the possible dangers. Implanted tracking devices may sound entirely full-proof but deployment of emergency personnel, whether police or ambulance, cannot just magically appear at the scene of a crime in time to stop an offender from committing violence against a hostage.

8.1 The Prospect of International ID Implants

There are numerous arguments for why implanting a chip in a person is outright unconstitutional. But perhaps the under-explored area as Gellman puts it are the legal and social issues of who would have power over the chip and the information gathered by its means [49]. Gellman is correct in his summation of the problem but science has a proven way of going into uncharted territory first, then asking the questions about implications later. ADSX, for instance, have already launched the VeriChip solution. Sullivan, a spokesperson for the company told Salkowski [50]:

“I’m certainly not a believer in the abuse of power,” he offered, suggesting that Congress could always ban export of his company’s device. Of course, he admits he wouldn’t exactly lobby for that law. “I’m a businessman,” he said.

Black [53] makes the observation that the US government might well indeed place constraints on international sales of the VeriChip if it felt it could be used against them by an enemy. Consider the governance issues surrounding GPS technology that has been in operation a lot longer than human RFID implants.

“Good, neutral, or perhaps undesirable outcomes are now possible… Tension arises between some of the civil/commercial applications and the desire to preclude an adversary’s use of GPS. It is extremely difficult (technically, institutionally, politically, and economically) to combine the nonmilitary benefits of the system that require universality of access, ease of use, and low cost with military requirements for denial of the system to adversaries. Practical considerations require civil/commercial applications to have relatively easy access” [[cxxx]].

From a different angle, Rummler [[cxxxi]] points out that the monitoring and tracking of individuals raises serious legal implications regarding the individual’s capacity to maintain their right to freedom. He wrote: “[o]nce implanted with bio-implant electronic devices, humans might become highly dependent on the creators of these devices for their repair, recharge, and maintenance. It could be possible to modify the person technologically… thus placing them under the absolute control of the designers of the technology.” The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Dr. David Feigal has been vocal about the need for such devices as the VeriChip not to take medical applications lightly and that companies wishing to specialize in health-related implants need to be in close consultation with the FDA [[cxxxii], [cxxxiii]]. There is also the possibility that such developments, i.e. regulating chip implants, may ultimately be used against an individual. The Freedom of Information Act for instance, already allows U.S. authorities to access automatic vehicle toll-passes to provide evidence in court [2]; there is nothing to suggest this will not happen with RFID transponder implants as well, despite the myriad of promises made by ADSX.  Professor Gray is adamant that there is no stopping technological evolution no matter how sinister some technologies may appear, and that we need to become accustomed to the fact that new technologies will continually infringe upon the constitution [49].

8.2 Beyond Chip Implants

Luggables, like mobile phones, do create a sense of attachment between the user and the device but the devices are still physically separate; they can accidentally be left behind. Wearable computers on the other hand are a part of the user, they are worn, and they “create an intimate human-computer-symbiosis in which respective strengths combine” [[cxxxiv]]. Mann calls this human-computer-symbiosis, “human interaction” (HI) as opposed to HCI (human-computer interaction).

[W]e prefer not to think of the wearer and the computer with its associated I/O apparatus as separate entities. Instead, we regard the computer as a second brain and its sensory modalities as additional senses, which synthetic synesthesia merges with the wearer’s senses. [[cxxxv]]
 Exhibit 1.5     The Process of Transformation

Exhibit 1.5     The Process of Transformation

Human-computer electrification is set to make this bond irrevocable (see exhibit 1.5). Once on that path there is no turning back. If at the present all this seems impossible, a myth, unlikely, a prediction far gone, due to end-user resistance and other similar obstacles facing the industry today, history should teach us otherwise. This year alone, millions of babies will be born into a world where there are companies on the New York Stock Exchange specializing in chip implant devices for humans. “They” will grow up believing that these technologies are not only “normal” but also quite useful, just   like   other   high-tech technologies before them such as the Internet, PCs, smart cards etc. Consider the case of Cynthia Tam, aged two, who is an avid computer user:

“[i]t took a couple of days for her to understand the connection between the mouse in her hand and the cursor on the screen and then she was off… The biggest problem for Cynthia’s parents is how to get her to stop… for Cynthia, the computer is already a part of her environment… Cynthia’s generation will not think twice about buying things on the Internet, just like most people today don’t think twice when paying credit card, or using cash points for withdrawals and deposits” [[cxxxvi]].

But you do not have to be a newborn baby to adapt to technological change. Even grandmothers and grandfathers surf the web these days and send emails as a cheaper alternative to post or telephone [74]. And migrants struggling with a foreign language will even memorize key combinations to withdraw money even if they do not actually fully perceive the actions they are commanding throughout the process. Schiele [[cxxxvii]] believes that our personal habits are shaped by technological change and that over time new technologies that seem only appropriate for technophiles eventually find themselves being used by the average person. “[O]ver time our culture will adjust to incorporate the devices.” Gotterbarn is in agreement [10].

We enthusiastically adopt the latest gadget for one use, but then we start to realize that it gives us power for another use. Then there is the inevitable realization that we have overlooked the way it impacts other people, giving rise to professional and ethical issues.

What is apparent regardless of how far electrophoresis is taken is that the once irreconcilable gap between human and machine is closing (see exhibit 1.6).

Beyond chip implants for tracking there are the possibilities associated with neural prosthetics and the potential to directly link computers to humans [[cxxxviii]]. Warwick is also well aware that one of the major obstacles of cyber-humans are the associated moral issues [[cxxxix], [cxl]]- who gives anyone the right to be conducting complex procedures on a perfectly healthy person, and who will take responsibility for any complications that present themselves? Rummler [131] asks whether it is ethical to be linking computers to humans in the first place and whether or not limitations should be placed on what procedures can be conducted even if they are possible. For instance, could this be considered a violation of human rights? And more to the point what will it mean in the future to call oneself “human”. McGrath [[cxli]] asks “how human”?

As technology fills you up with synthetic parts, at what point do you cease to be fully human? One quarter? One third?... At bottom lies one critical issue for a technological age: are some kinds of knowledge so terrible they simply should not be pursued? If there can be such a thing as a philosophical crisis, this will be it. These questions, says Rushworth Kidder, president of the Institute for Global Ethics in Camden, Maine, are especially vexing because they lie at “the convergence of three domains- technology, politics and ethics- that are so far hardly on speaking terms.

At the point of becoming an electrophorus (i.e. a bearer of electricity), “[y]ou are not just a human linked with technology; you are something different and your values and judgment will change” [[cxlii]]. Some suspect that it will even become possible to alter behavior in people with brain implants [51], whether they will it or not. Maybury [101] believes that “[t]he advent of machine intelligence raises social and ethical issues that may ultimately challenge human existence on earth.”

 

 Exhibit 1.6     Marketing Campaigns that Point to the Electrophorus

Exhibit 1.6     Marketing Campaigns that Point to the Electrophorus

Gotterbarn [10] argues precisely that our view of computer technologies generally progresses through several stages:

1) naïve innocence and technological wonder, 2) power and control, and 3) finally, sometimes because of disasters during the second stage, an understanding of the essential relationship between technologies and values.

Bill Joy, the chief technologist of Sun Microsystems, feels a sense of unease about such predictions made by Ray Kurzweil in The Age of Spiritual Machines [138]. Not only because Kurzweil has proven technically competent in the past but because of his ultimate vision for humanity- “a near immortality by becoming one with robotic technology” [[cxliii]]. Joy was severely criticized for being narrow-sighted, even a fundamentalist of sorts, after publishing his paper in Wired, but all he did was dare to ask the questions- ‘do we know what we are doing? Has anyone really carefully thought about this?’ Joy believes [143]:

[w]e are being propelled into this new century with no plan, no control, no brakes. Have we already gone too far down the path to alter course? I don’t believe so, but we aren’t trying yet, and the last chance to assert control- the fail-safe point- is rapidly approaching.

Surely there is a pressing need for ethical dialogue [[cxliv]] on auto-ID innovation and more generally IT&T. If there has ever been a time when engineers have had to act socially responsibly [[cxlv]], it is now as we are at defining crossroads.

The new era of biomedical and genetic research merges the worlds of engineering, computer and information technology with traditional medical research. Some of the most significant and far-reaching discoveries are being made at the interface of these disciplines. [[cxlvi]]

9. Conclusion

The principal objective of this paper was to encourage critical discussion on the exigent topic of human implants in e-business applications by documenting the central social, cultural, religious and ethical issues. The evidence provided indicates that technology-push has been the driving force behind many of the new RFID transponder implant applications instead of market-pull. What is most alarming is the rate of change in technological capabilities without the commensurate response from an informed community involvement or ethical discourse on what these changes actually “mean”, not only for the present but also for the future. It seems that the normal standard now is to introduce a technology, stand back to see its general effects on society, and then act to rectify problems as they might arise. The concluding point of this paper is that the long-term side effects of a technology should be considered at the outset and not after the event. One need only bring to mind the Atomic Bomb and the Chernobyl disaster for what is possible, if not inevitable once a technology is set on its ultimate trajectory [103]. As citizens it is our duty to remain knowledgeable about scientific developments and to discuss the possible ethical implications again and again [10]. In the end we can point the finger at the Mad Scientists [75] but we too must be socially responsible, save we become our own worst enemy [[cxlvii]]. It is certainly a case of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

10. References

[1] Cohen, T., The Tattoo, Savvas, Sydney (1994).

[2] Sanchez-Klein, J., “Cyberfuturist plants chip in arm to test human-computer interaction”, CNN Interactive,  http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9808/28/ armchip.idg/index.html, [Accessed 28 August 1998], pp. 1-2 (1998).

[3] Jones, C., “Kevin Warwick: Saviour of humankind?”, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/uk/2000/newsmakers/1069029.stm, [Accessed 4 January 2003], pp. 1-4 (2000).

[4] ADSX, “Homepage”, http://www.adsx.com, Applied Digital Solutions, [Accessed 1 March 2004], p. 1 (2004).

[5] ADSX, “VeriChip Corporation”, Applied Digital Solutions, http://www.4verichip.com/, [Accessed 1 April 2004], p. 1 (2004).

[6] Warwick, K., “Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading”, Kevin Warwick, http://www.kevinwarwick.com, [Accessed 14 November 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[7] Goldman, J., “Meet ‘The Chipsons’: ID chips implanted successfully in Florida family”, ABC News: techtv, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/ TechTV/techtv_chipfamily020510.html, [Accessed 13 November 2003], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[8] Ramesh, E.M., “Time Enough: consequences of the human microchip implantation”, Franklin Pierce Law Centre, http://www.fplc.edu/risk/vol8/fall/ ramesh.htm, [Accessed 1 March 2004], pp. 1-26 (2004).

[9] Unatin, D., “Progress v. Privacy: the debate over computer chip implants”, JOLT: Notes, http://www.lawtechjournal.com/notes/2002/24_020819_ unatin. php, [Accessed 1 March 2004], pp. 1-3 (2002).

[10] Gotterbarn, D., “Injectable computers: once more into the breach! The life cycle of computer ethics awareness”, inroads- The SIGCSE Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 4, December, pp. 10-12, (2003).

[11] Covacio, S., “Technological problems associated with the subcutaneous microchips for human identification (SMHId), InSITE-“Where Parallels Intersect, June, pp. 843-853 (2003).

[12] Warwick, K., “I, Cyborg”, 2003 Joint Lecture: The Royal Society of Edinburgh and The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, pp. 1-16 (2003).

[13] Norman, D.A., “Cyborgs”, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 44, No. 3, March, pp. 36-37 (2001).

[14] Bell, G. & Gray, J., “Futuristic forecasts of tools and technologies: digital immortality”, Communications of the ACM, March, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 29-31 (2001).

[15] Woodward, J.D., “Biometrics: privacy’s foe or privacy’s friend?”, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 85, No. 9, pp. 1480-1492 (1997).

[16] Rosenberg, R.S., The Social Impact of Computers, Elsevier Academic Press, California (2004).

[17] Lemonick, M.D., “Future tech is now”, Time Australia, 17 July, pp. 44-79 (1995).

[18] McGinity, M., “Body of the technology: It’s just a matter of time before a chip gets under your skin”, Communications of the ACM, 43(9), September, pp. 17-19 (2000).

[19] Stephan, R., “The ultrahuman revolution”, MoneyZone.com, http://www. moneyzone.com/MTM_features3.28.cfm, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-3 (2001).

[20] Sheridan, J.G. et al., “Spectators at a geek show: an ethnographic inquiry into wearable computing”, IEEE The Fourth International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 195-196 (2000).

[21] Lukowicz, P., “The wearARM modular low-power computing core”, IEEE Micro, May-June, pp. 16-28 (2001).

[22] DeFouw, G. & Pratt, V., “The matchbox PC: a small wearable platform”, The Third International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 172-175 (1999).

[23] Salonen, P. et al., “A small planar inverted-F antenna for wearable applications”, IEEE Tenth International Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 1, pp. 82-85 (1997).

[24] Mann S., “Wearable computing: a first step toward personal imaging”, IEEE Computer, February, pp. 25-32 (1997).

[25] Millanvoye, M., “Teflon under my skin”, UNESCO, http://www.unesco. org/courier/2001_07/uk/doss41.htm, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (2001).

[26] Furui, S., “Speech recognition technology in the ubiquitous/wearable computing environment”, IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Vol. 6, pp. 3735-3738 (2000).

[27] Pickering, C., “Silicon man lives”, Forbes ASAP, http://www.cochrane.org.uk/opinion/interviews/forbes.htm, [Accessed 22 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (1999).

[28] Sydänheimo, L. et al., “Wearable and ubiquitous computer aided service, maintenance and overhaul”, IEEE International Conference on Communications, Vol. 3, pp. 2012-2017 (1999).

[29] Rhodes, B. J. et al., “Wearable computing meets ubiquitous computing: reaping the best of both worlds”, The Third International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 141-149 (1999).

[30] Kaku, M., Visions: how science will revolutionize the 21st century and beyond, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1998).

[31] van Laerhoven, K. & Cakmacki, O., “What shall we teach our pants?”, IEEE The Fourth International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 77-83 (2000).

[32] Kortuem, G. et al., “Context-aware, adaptive wearable computers as remote interfaces to ‘intelligent’ environments”, Second International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 58-65 (1998).

[33] Starner, T., “The challenges of wearable computing: part 2”, IEEE Micro, July-August, pp. 54-67 (2001).

[34] Mills, S. (ed.), Turning Away From Technology: a new vision for the 21st century, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco (1997).

[35] Davies, S., Big Brother: Australia’s growing web of surveillance, Simon and Schuster, Sydney (1992).

[36] Davies, S., Monitor: extinguishing privacy on the information superhighway, PAN, Sydney (1996).

[37] Hibbert, C., “What to do when they ask for your social security number”, in Computerization and Controversy: value conflicts and social choices, (ed.) Rob Kling, Academic Press, New York, pp. 686-696 (1996).

[38] Kusserow, R.P., “The government needs computer matching to root out waste and fraud”, in Computerisation and Controversy: value conflicts and social choices, (ed.) Rob Kling, Academic Press, New York, part 6, section E, pp. 653f (1996).

[39] Privacy Commissioner, Selected Extracts from the Program Protocol Data-Matching Program (Assistance and Tax), Privacy Commission, Sydney (1990).

[40] Jones, D., “UK government launches smart card strategy”, Ctt, Vol. 11, No. 6, February, p. 2 (2000).

[41] Michels, S., “National ID”, Online NewsHour, http://www.pbs.org/ newshour/bb/fedagencies/jan-june02/id_2-26.html, [Accessed 2 September 2001], pp. 1-8 (2002).

[42] Rosenberg, R.S., The Social Impact of Computers, Sydney, Elsevier, pp. 339-405 (2004).

[43] Brin, D., The Transparent Society: will technology force us to choose between privacy and freedom, Perseus Books, Massachusetts (1998).

[44] Branscomb, A. W., Who Owns Information: from privacy to public access, BasicBooks, USA (1994).

[45] Rothfeder, J., “Invasion of privacy”, PC World, Vol. 13, No. 11, pp. 152-162 (1995).

[46] Newton, J. “Reducing ‘plastic’ counterfeiting”, European Convention on Security and Detection, Vol. 408, pp. 198-201 (1995).

[47] Masterson, U.O., “A day with ‘Professor Cyborg’”, MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.com/news/394441.asp, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-6 (2000).

[48] Associated Press, “Chip in your shoulder? Family wants info device”, USA Today: Tech, http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2002/04/01/verichip-family.htm, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[49] Mieszkowski, K., “Put that silicon where the sun don’t shine”, Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/09/07/chips/, Parts 1-3, [Accessed 11 November 2001], pp. 1-3 (2000).

[50] Salkowski, J., “Go track yourself”, StarNet Dispatches, http://dispatches. azstarnet.com/joe/2000/0104-946929954.htm, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (2000).

[51] LoBaido, A.C. 2001, “Soldiers with microchips: British troops experiment with implanted, electronic dog tag”, WorldNetDaily.com, http://www.fivedoves. com/letters/oct2001/chrissa102.htm, [Accessed 20 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (2001).

[52] Swissler, M.A., “Microchips to monitor meds”, Wired, http://www.wired. com/news/technology/0,1282,39070,00.html, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-3 (2000).

[53] Black, J., “Roll up your sleeve – for a chip implant”, Illuminati Conspiracy, http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NWO/chip_implant.htm, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-6 (2002).

[54] RFID, “Singapore fights SARS with RFID”, RFID Journal, http://216.121.131.129/article/articleprint/446/-1/1/, [Accessed 1 May 2004], pp. 1-2 (2003).

[55] RFID, “Taiwan uses RFID to combat SARS”, RFID Journal, http://216.121.131.129/article/articleprint/520/-1/1/, [Accessed 1 May 2004], pp. 1-2 (2003).

[56] Scheeres, J. “They want their id chips now”, Wired News, http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,50187,00.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[57] Wherify, “Frequently Asked Questions”, Wherify Wireless, http://www.wherifywireless.com/faq.asp, [Accessed 15 April 2004], pp. 1-7 (2004).

[58] Scheeres, J., “Kidnapped? GPS to the rescue”, Wired News, http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,50004,00.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[59] McClimans, F., ‘Is that a chip in your shoulder, or are you just happy to see me?’, CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9809/02/chippotent. idg/index.html, [Accessed 22 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (1998).

[60] Scheeres, J., “Politician wants to ‘get chipped’”, Wired News, http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,50435,00.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[61] Horn, T., “Opinionet contributed commentary”, Opinionet, http://www. opinionet.com/commentary/contributors/ccth/ccth13.htm, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (2000).

[62] Levi, P., The Drowned and the Saved, trans. Raymond Rosenthal, Summit Books, London (1988).

[63] Lifton, R.J., The Nazi Doctors: medical killing and the psychology of genocide, Basic Books, New York (1986).

[64] McMurchie, L., “Identifying risks in biometric use”, Computing Canada, Vol. 25, No. 6, p. 11, (1999).

[65] Nairne, D., “Building better people with chips and sensors”, scmp.com, http://special.scmp.com/mobilecomputing/article/FullText_asp_ArticleID-20001009174, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (2000).

[66] National Radiological Protection Board, “Understanding radiation: ionizing radiation and how we are exposed to it”, NRPB, http://www.nrpb.org/radiation_ topics/risks/index.htm, [Accessed 1 May 2004], pp. 1-2 (2004).

[67] Australian Communications Authority, Human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy: information for manufacturers, importers, agents, licensees or operators of radio communications transmitters, Australian regulations, Melbourne (2000).

[68] Salonen, P. et al., “A small planar inverted-F antenna for wearable applications”, IEEE Tenth International Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 1, pp. 82-85 (1997).

[69] Geers, R. et al., Electronic Identification, Monitoring and Tracking of Animals, CAN International, New York (1997).

[70] Trull, D., “Simple Cyborg”, Parascope, http://www.parascope.com/ articles/slips/fs29_2.htm, [Accessed 20 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (1998).

[71] Witt, S., “Professor Warwick chips in”, Computerworld, 11 January, p. 89 (1999).

[72] Martin, C.D., “The myth of the awesome thinking machine”, Communications of the ACM, 36(4), pp. 120-133 (1993).

[73] Michael, K., “The automatic identification trajectory: from the ENIAC to chip implants”, in Internet Commerce: digital models for business, E. Lawrence et al., John Wiley and Sons, Queensland, pp. 131-134, 136 (2002).

[74] Tapscott, D., Growing up digital: the rise of the net generation, McGraw- Hill, New York (1998).

[75] Walker, I., “Cyborg dreams: Beyond Human”, Background Briefing ABC Radio National, 4 November, pp. 1-15 (2001)

[76] Anonymous, “Will a chip every day keep the doctor away?”, PhysicsWeb, http://physicsweb.org/article/world/14/7/11, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (2001).

[77] Goldberg, H., “Building a better mMode”, http://www.mmodemagazine. com/features/bettermmode.asp, mMode Magazine, [Accessed 1 April 2004), pp. 1-4 (2004).

[78] Wilmington, M., “Movie review, ‘Metropolis (Re-release)’”, Metromix.com, http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/search/mmx-17922_lgcy. story, [Accessed 3 May 2004], pp. 1-3 (2004).

[79] McRoy, J., “Science fiction studies”, DePauw University, Vol. 28, No. 3, http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/birs/bir85b.htm, [Accessed 3 May 2004], pp. 1-3 (2001).

[80] Anonymous, “The NET”, MovieWeb, http://movieweb.com/movie/thenet/ index.html, [Accessed 3 May 2004], pp. 1-5 (2001).

[81] King, B., “Robots: It’s an art thing” http://www.wired.com/news/print/ 0,1294,48253,00.html, [Accessed 4 January 2003], pp. 1-2 (2001).

[82] Branwyn, G., “The desire to be wired”, Wired, September/October (1993).

[83] Schirato, T. & Yell, S. Communication & Cultural Literacy: an introduction, Allen and Unwin, NSW (1996).

[84] Dery, M., Escape Velocity: cyberculture at the end of the century, Hodder and Stoughton, London (1996).

[85] Scheeres, J., “New body art: Chip implants”, Wired News, http://www. wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,50769,00.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[86] Tysome, T., “Dance of a cyborg”, The Australian, p. 35 (2001).

[87] Warwick, K., “Frequently asked questions”, Professor Kevin Warwick, http://www2.cyber.rdg.ac.uk/kevinwarwick/FAQ.html, [Accessed 20 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (2001).

[88] Sacleman, H. Computers, System Science, And Evolving Society: the challenge of man-machine digital systems, Wiley, New York (1967).

[89] McLuhan, M., Understanding Media: the extensions of man, The MIT Press, England (1999).

[90] McLuhan, M. & Powers, B.R., The Global Village: transformations in world life and media in the 21st century, Oxford University Press, New York (1989).

[91] McLuhan, E. & Zingrone, F., Essential McLuhan, BasicBooks, USA (1995).

[92] Ellul, J., The Technological Society, Vintage Books, New York (1964).

[93] Toffler, A., Future Shock, Bantam Books, New York (1970).

[94] Gates, B., The Road Ahead, The Penguin Group, New York (1995).

[95] Negroponte, N., Being Digital, Hodder and Stoughton, Australia (1995).

[96] Moravec, H., Mind Children: the future of robot and human intelligence, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1988).

[97] Moravec, H., Robot: mere machine to transcendent mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1999).

[98] Paul, G.S. & Cox, E.D. Beyond Humanity: cyberevolution and future minds, Charles River Media, Massachusetts (1996).

[99] Sorkin, D.L. & McClanahan, J. “Cochlear implant reimbursement cause for concern”, HealthyHearing, http://www.healthyhearing.com/healthyhearing/ newroot/articles/arc_disp.asp?id=147&catid=1055, [Accessed 3 May 2004], pp. 1-4 (2004).

[100] Weber, D.O., “Me, myself, my implants, my micro-processors and I”, Software Development Magazine, http://www.sdmagazine.com/print/ documentID=11149, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-6 (2000).

[101] Maybury, M.T., “The mind matters: artificial intelligence and its societal implications”, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, June/July, pp. 7-15 (1990).

[102] Bijker, W.E. & Law, J. (eds), Shaping Technology/Building Society: studies in sociotechnical change, The MIT Press, Massachusetts (1992).

[103] Pool, R. Beyond Engineering: how society shapes technology, Oxford University Press, New York (1997).

[104] Hristodoulou, M. Hieromonk, “In the last days”, in Geron Paisios, Mount Athos, Greece, (in Greek), pp. 181-192 (1994).

[105] Relfe, M.S., The New Money System, Ministries Inc., Alabama (1982).

[106] Relfe, M.S., When Your Money Fails, League of Prayer, Alabama (1981).

[107] Barker, K. et al. (eds), The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan, pp. 1939-1940 (1995).

[108] Watkins, T., “WARNING: 666 IS COMING!”, Dial-the-Truth Ministries,  http://www.secis.com/truth [Accessed 1 August 1996], now http://www.av1611. org, pp. 1-6 (1996).

[109] Michael, M.G., The Number of the Beast, 666 (Revelation 13:16-18): Background, Sources and Interpretation, Macquarie University, MA (Hons) Thesis, Sydney, Australia (1998).

[110] Arndt, W.F. & Gingrich, F.W., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, p. 876 (1979).

[111] Roethenbaugh, G., “Simon Davies- Is this the most dangerous man in Europe?”, Biometrics in Human Services, Vol. 2, No. 5, pp. 2-5 (1998).

[112] Decker, S., “Technology raises concerns: Pros and cons of scientific advances weighed as Christians discuss issue”, The Falcon Online Edition,  http://www.thefalcononline.com//story/2270, [Accessed 1 April 2003], pp. 1-3 (2002).

[113] Cook, T.L. The Mark of the New World Order, ASIN, USA (1999).

[114] Newton, C., “U.S. to weigh computer chip implant”, Netscape: Daily News, http://dailynews.netscape.com/mynsnews/story.tmpl?table=n&cat=51180 &id= 200202261956000188605, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[115] Associated Press, “Chip in your shoulder? Family wants info device”, USA Today: Tech, http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2002/04/01/ verichip-family.htm, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[116] Michael, M.G., “For it is the number of a man”, Bulletin of Biblical Studies, Vol. 19, January-June, pp. 79-89 (2000).

[117] Michael, M.G., “666 or 616 (Rev 13:18): Arguments for the authentic reading of the Seer's conundrum”, Bulletin of Biblical Studies, Vol. 19, July-December, pp. 77-83 (2000).

[118] Bauckham, R., The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation, T & T Clark: Edinburgh, pp. 384-452 (1993).

[119] Horn, T., “Opinionet contributed commentary”, Opinionet, http://www.opinionet.com/commentary/contributors/ccth/ccth13.htm, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-4 (2000).

[120] Barnet, R.J. & Cavanagh, J., Global Dreams: imperial corporations and the new world order, Simon and Schuster, New York (1994).

[121] Wilshire, B., The Fine Print, Brian Wilshire, Australia (1992).

[122] Smith, B., Warning, Smith Family Evangelism, New Zealand (1980).

[123] Stahl, W.A., God and the Chip: religion and the culture of technology, EDSR, Canada (1999).

[124] Noble, D.F., The Religion of Technology: the divinity of man and the spirit of invention, Penguin Books, England (1999).

[125] Sensormatic, “SafeKids™”, Sensormatic, http://www.sensormatic.com/ html/safekids/index.htm, [Accessed 3 June 1999], pp. 1-2 (1999).

[126] Raimundo, N., ‘Digital angel or big brother?’, SCU, http://cseserv.engr. scu.edu/StudentWebPages/NRaimundo/ResearchPaper.htm [Accessed 15th December 2002], (2002).

[127] Wilson, J., “Girl to get tracker implant to ease parents’ fears”, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4493297,00.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2 (2002).

[128] Ermann, M.D. et al. (eds), Computers, Ethics, and Society, Oxford University Press, New York (1997).

[129] Eng, P., “I, Chip? Technology to meld chips into humans draws closer”, ABCNEWS.com, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/  chipimplant020225.html, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-3 (2002).

[130] Pace, S. et al. (eds), The Global Positioning System: assessing national policies, Rand Corporation, New York (1996).

[131] Rummler, D.M., “Societal issues in engineering”, ENGR 300, pp. 1-3 (2001).

[132] Associated Press, “Company gets okay to sell ID-only computer chip implant”, The Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com/2002/technology/0204/ 05/technology-457686.htm, [Accessed 15 October 2002] (2002).

[133] Associated Press, “ID chip ready for implant”, USA Today: Tech, http:// www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2002/04/04/implant-chip.htm, [Accessed 15 October 2002], pp. 1-2.

[134] Billinghurst, M. & Starner T., “Wearable devices: new ways to manage information”, IEEE Computer, January, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 57-64 (1999).

[135] Mann, S., “Wearable computing: toward humanistic intelligence”, IEEE Intelligent Systems, May/June, pp. 10-15 (2001).

[136] Chan, T., “Welcome to the Internet, baby!”, Telecom Asia, p. 38 (2001).

[137] Schiele, B. et al., “Sensory-augmented computing: wearing the museum’s guide”, IEEE Micro, pp. 44-52.

[138] Kurzweil, R., The Age of Spiritual Machines: when computers exceed human intelligence, Penguin Books, New York (1999).

[139] Irwin, A., “Brain implant lets man control computer by thought”, Telegraph.co.uk, 1238, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=000118613908976, [Accessed 22 November 2001], pp. 1-3 (1998).

[140] Warwick, K., “Are chip implants getting under your skin?”, Compiler, http://www.synopsys.com/news/pubs/compiler/art3_chipimplan-mar03.html, [Accessed 1 March 2004], pp. 1-5 (2003).

[141] McGrath, P., “Technology: Building better humans”, Newsweek, http:// egweb.mines.edu/eggn482/admin/Technology.htm, [Accessed 29 November], pp. 1-3 (2001).

[142] Anonymous, “Professor Cyborg”, Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/tech/ feature/1999/10/20/cyborg/index1.html, 3 parts, [Accessed 29 November 2001], pp. 1-3 (1999).

[143] Joy, B. “Why the future doesn’t need us”, Wired, 8.04, http://www.wired. com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html, [Accessed 4 January 2003], pp. 1-19 (2000).

[144] Masey, S. “Can we talk? The need for ethical dialogue”, The IEE, p. 4/1, (1998).

[145] Wenk, E., “The design of technological megasystems: new social responsibilities for engineers”, IEEE, pp. 47-61 (1990).

[146] Boehringer, B., “Benefits of the OHSU/OGI merger”, The Oregon Opportunity: A New Era of Medical Breakthroughs, http://www.ohsu.edu/ about/opportunity/ohsu_ogi.htm, [Accessed 20 November 2001], pp. 1-2 (2001).

[147] Ebert, R., “Enemy of the State”, Ebert on Movies, http://www.suntimes. com/ebert/ebert_reviews/1998/11/112006.html, pp. 1-3 (2001).

 

Biographical Note

Dr Katina Michael is a lecturer in Information Technology at the University of Wollongong in Australia. In 1996 she completed her Bachelor of Information Technology degree with a co-operative scholarship from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and in 2003 she was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy with the thesis “The Auto-ID Trajectory” from the University of Wollongong. She has an industrial background in telecommunications and has held positions as a systems analyst with United Technologies and Andersen Consulting. Most of her work experience was acquired as a senior network and business planner with Nortel Networks (1996-2001). In this capacity she consulted for Asia’s largest telecommunication operators and service providers. Katina now teaches and researches in eBusiness and her main academic interests are in the areas of automatic identification devices, third generation wireless applications, geographic information systems, and technology forecasting.

Dr M.G. Michael is a church historian and New Testament scholar. He has spoken at numerous international conferences and has written two highly regarded dissertations on the Book of Revelation. His specialist interests are in apocalypticism, millennial studies, and Orthodox mysticism. He has completed a Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University, a Master of Arts (Honours) at Macquarie University, a Master of Theology and Bachelor of Arts at Sydney University and a Bachelor of Theology at the Sydney College of Divinity.

The importance of conducting geodemographic market analysis on coastal areas: a pilot study using Kiama Council

Katina Michael, School of Information Technology and Computer Science, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia, 2500

Full Citation: Katina Michael, 2003, The importance of conducting geodemographic market analysis on coastal areas: a pilot study using Kiama Council, eds. Colin Woodroffe, Ronald A. Furness, Coastal GIS 2003: an integrated approach to Australian coastal issues, Proceedings of the Workshop, University of Wollongong, 7-8 July 2003, Wollongong Papers on Maritime Policy No 14, pp. 481-496.

Abstract

In February of 2003 Kiama Council launched a preliminary survey to gather community attitudes on the future growth of Werri Beach and Gerringong, NSW (Nelson). The survey focused primarily on what actions Council should take to manage population growth within existing neighbourhoods. This paper aims to support the preliminary survey by proposing that a geodemographic market analysis be conducted to complement the findings of the study published in May 2003 (Wiggins). The use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) can add great value to the strategic decision-making process and it is the recommendation of this paper that GIS should become an integral component of Council’s day-to-day planning function. This type of analysis does not negate the requirement for community participation in local issues rather it enhances the planner’s ability to make more informed decisions using a holistic approach throughout the lifetime of a given project. The findings of this paper indicate that GIS is an important element of any coastal assessment. The process outlined here could be adopted by councils located all along the Australian coastline.

Introduction

Kiama Council covers a surface area of 256 square kilometres. Within its bounds is the rapidly expanding coastal town of Gerringong, located within the post code 2534. Gerringong is known for its picturesque rolling hills, lush evergreen dairy farms, and famous surf beach (Werri Beach), all of which make it a popular holiday destination and ideal for residential settlement. However, so many attractions undoubtedly place pressure on the environment as increasing numbers of tourists visit, and demand for housing continues to rise. Council is left with the challenging task of catering for the diverse range of needs both of the permanent local and temporary populations. This paper will identify the need to conduct geodemographic market analysis using a variety of statistical and spatial sources from different data suppliers, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It will explore how GIS could be applied by Kiama Council to better plan for the future growth of Werri Beach/ Gerringong and Gerroa and finally offer some preliminary findings. Throughout the paper space will also be dedicated to some of the more practical issues that the GIS analyst could be faced with in conducting such a study.

Background

Kiama Council is typical of most local councils. It has a small planning team and a defined annual budget for information technology (IT) requirements. In 2002 the need for Council to invest in a state-of-the-art GIS was investigated and several platforms evaluated. As a result GIS software and support hardware was purchased in 2003 and a newly-established GIS team was formed. Council is actively trying to incorporate GIS into a range of functions because it foresees positive flow-through effects through this type of inter-departmental collaboration. However, in the short-term resource constraints mean that specific applications of GIS pertaining to the planning function may be delayed, in preference to other core council requirements. One of the problems identified by the planning team was actually defining those important applications that would help them do their work more efficiently and effectively. This is a common hurdle that non-GIS professionals face as they are trying to come to terms with the value the software can bring to their organisation and more specifically, to their job role. The very positive attitude the planners have toward one day integrating GIS into their existing processes and practices means that successful implementation is likely. The following pilot study is representative of what is possible in the future.

Methodology

A semi-structured interview was conducted with one of Kiama Council’s strategic planners to ensure that a gap was being filled with the proposed pilot study. The interview was open-ended and probing questions were asked to determine the current state of GIS practice within the planning department in the Council. A subsequent literature review found the link between geodemographic market analysis and coastal issues to be severely lacking. Some of the more relevant publications included Maguire et al. (1991), Grimshaw (1994), Goss (1995) and Birkin et al. (1996). As an outcome of the interview and literature review it was decided to document the high level process required to build a GIS for geodemographic purposes and outline how spatial analysis could be used to aid Council’s strategic planning function. The contribution of this paper is not in its statistical output but in demonstrating the value of GIS for strategic planning in coastal areas. Admittedly one of its limitations is that it does not take into consideration longitudinal trends and patterns, but it does illustrate the power of GIS to represent cross-sectional demographic data.

Process

A work-in-progress custom GIS was created using the MapInfo Professional application with supporting data sets from a variety of suppliers and vintages. The following steps were taken to build the GIS:

(1)  understand the various spatial units of analysis and determine which level(s) of detail are appropriate and useful for Council;

(2)  identify and acquire the separate layers of spatial data required to conduct meaningful research and consider how these could be used in prospective applications (e.g. roads, parks, rivers and other features);

(3)  gather demographic data for residential and business market segments (either internally or externally available to the Council, and of primary or secondary research sources);

(4)  geo-reference demographic data to designated spatial units;

(5)  determine how the custom GIS can be used to shed light on issues of human geography and the environment; and

(6)  conduct geodemographic analysis using structured query language (SQL) and thematic mapping to uncover specific trends and patterns.

Spatial Units of Analysis

Prior to building a GIS for a specific area the planner must be able to identify all those important units of analysis that are relevant and meaningful to the study. Depending on the scope of the study, one may choose to start their analysis at a coarse level of detail, such as a local government area (LGA) unit and work their way down to a census collection district (CCD) level. The top-down approach is to be preferred in large-scale projects like the Comprehensive Coastal Assessment (CCA) initiative proposed by the Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources. Only in this manner can planners prioritise responses to pressing issues over a variety of locations. What is paramount, independent of the scope of the study is that recognized spatial units are used in the GIS, such as those defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) hierarchical list (Castles 1993). In the case of the Kiama Council pilot study, which focused on the post office area (POA) of Gerringong, planners specifically requested the need to use CCD level information, and if possible, to perform an even more granular investigation. This especially posed a challenge to the author, particularly because the public availability of demographic data at the street or dwelling unit (cadastral level) is very limited, save for internal Council intelligence information. Provided that strict controls were placed upon the access and use of the latter, Council would be adhering to Australia’s Information Privacy Principles.

Spatial Layers of Information

The three categories of layers in the pilot study included: natural features, non-natural features and government-defined spatial boundaries. The vector layers are represented as region, line or point objects dependent on what they are depicting. Natural features included layers like rivers, lakes, the coastline, parks and reserves, while non-natural features included layers like roads, bridges, railways, residential and business dwellings, and public amenities. As a general rule, the more layers of spatial information one can acquire for a particular study, the richer the results. Important to note however, is the scale of the map layer in question, its currency (in terms of lifetime), its quality, and its purpose to a given GIS project.

MapInfo (among many other suppliers, like ESRI) develop and supply spatial layers that proved to be useful in this pilot study. The first are the ASGC administrative spatial boundaries as defined by the ABS in the CDATA2001 product; everything from LGAs to CCDs, including POAs. The second is the detailed road network that is available in the StreetPro® Australia product that contains street addressing and an additional fourteen layers of data. The third is the MapInfo® CadastralPlus product that contains individual land parcels from which centroid longitude and latitude locations can be extracted. And finally the MapMarker® Australia product, which includes an intelligent address parser, and can be used to pinpoint dwelling locations using either internal Council address information or external sources like Brylar’s Australia on Disc (AOD) database. MapMarker’s capabilities differ significantly from the Cadastral spatial layer, in that the former allows for residential and business names to be geo-referenced to a street address (i.e. a longitude and latitude location). Apart from vector-based data, raster data like aerial photographs could also be used to enhance the planner’s perspective of a given problem. Other spatial data, like hardcopy building approval plans could be scanned and geo-referenced, although such a process would be time-consuming and expensive, it would in the longer-term pay for itself.

Demographic Data

There is usually a plethora of demographic data available at high levels of granularity, such as at the statistical local area (SLA) and POA levels. While the data at this level is considered coarse, by most regional Councils, the overall key indicators are helpful in establishing a background setting for the study. There are also two broad categories of demographic data that can be acquired; these are either primary or secondary in nature. In general, secondary data is usually a lot more affordable than primary research data. Examples of secondary data used in this study include: ABS CensusData and the Australian Business Register (ABR). Additional data sources that would prove useful include: the ABS Integrated Regional Database (IRDB), the ABS Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Salmat’s MarketFind database and Dun & Bradstreet’s Marketing List. The specific fields of data included in the above-mentioned sources are too many and varied to list, even in a tabular format- the CensusData data source alone would fill several pages. However the demographics can be categorised as pertaining to either the residential or business market segment.

Residential data that can be obtained includes (aggregated down to the CCD level) attributes like: the number of people, the number of household dwellings, resident age and background, the average individual/ household income, the number of employed/ unemployed persons, the qualification level reached by residents and their occupation, housing status and level of ownership. Other residential-specific databases aim at providing predefined target groups based on the level of income earned or other economic or education-based indicators. For example, Salmat’s Marketfind tool distinguishes 24 demographic profile types, ranging from the ‘Prestige’ category to ‘Suburban Welfare’ and also brings together customer lifestyle and attitudes profiles. Specific AC Nielsen data can be added to this as well, if required. Business data that can be obtained (down to the POA level) includes the size of business, in terms of the number of employees or annual turnover amount in dollars. The type of business, based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Code classification (ANZSIC) can be obtained at either the industry division (17 categories) level or subdivision (53 categories) level. At the individual company level, the industry classification can be acquired (as specified in the Australian Yellow Pages), including full postal address and telephone/ fascimile details, as well as a web site and email address if provided. The Dun and Bradstreet Marketing List also includes a contact name for each company, the line of business, revenue, exact number of employees and more.

As for internal intelligence sources, these were not obtained for the pilot study but it is assumed, that if Council adopted the findings of this paper, that they would be able to use appropriate internal data to further enhance the GIS. The attributes that would be useful, among others, include ratepayer information per dwelling/ land parcel, land-use zoning information (such as residential, commercial, industrial categories), specific building regulation constraints and the number of temporary versus permanent residents (for instance during public and school holiday periods).

Geo-referencing Demographic Data to Spatial Units

One of the fundamental uses of GIS is to bring spatial data together with aspatial data. Potentially this also presents the GIS administrator with one of the greatest challenges- how to integrate two or more sets of aspatial data sources that are not 100 per cent compatible with the designated spatial layers. While the use of ASGC boundaries has been encouraged in this paper, planners should be aware that boundaries like SLAs and CCDs are variable in nature, depending on the growth or decline of a given area over time. For instance, the 1996 and 2001 Australian SLA boundaries differed in number and in name. A SQL statement could easily identify the discrepancies in the spatial layers from year-to-year but this still does not resolve the problem of matching databases of various vintage successfully to base spatial layers. And this is not only a problem limited to ABS-defined boundaries; this same problem is recurrent in natural and non-natural spatial layers. Consider the case where new roads are added to a town as a result of a new housing estate being established, among many other examples. GIS users need to think about how their organisation will overcome ungeocoded records (i.e. those records that remain unlinked using a given primary key), without compromising the overall accuracy of the results. The ideal situation is to continue to upgrade data sources as they become available, although this becomes an expensive exercise and is not always feasible given that some databases do not follow a periodic release schedule. Whatever solution is sought, what is certain is that guidelines need to be drawn and implemented. These guidelines may also vary dependent on the type and size of database being geocoded. Sometimes manual manipulation is plausible, other times it is not. For example, hit rates for the geocoding of telemarketing information to street addresses commonly range between 60-70 per cent of total records dependent on the intelligent addressing product in question and how clean the database being geocoded is (Drummond 1995; Holloway 1998). Checking one hundred ungeocoded street address records manually (one-by-one) may be a manageable exercise, while one hundred thousand would be unacceptable.

Council Applications of GIS

Once a GIS inventory has been created and appropriate data sources geocoded to spatial locations, an organisation can begin to program automated applications, in order of priority. The planning function at Kiama Council has been identified as being made up of mainly routine tasks. GIS applications lend themselves well to such tasks, allowing for automated reports to be generated periodically that show results not only in tabular and graphical views but also in spatial ways as well. The spatial element, in a digital form, can add a lot of value to decision-making processes as it grants the planner an additional perspective to the problem(s) at hand. GIS can also be used for non-routine tasks that require specific inquiries to take place as requested by council members. The applications that may be considered for implementation by Kiama Council are described below.

§  Basic geodemographic profile: defining discrete places within Gerringong which are meaningful to Council planners and extracting demographic data based on these areas, such as “Gerringong Central Business District” (CBD) and “Werri Beach”. The statistics should incorporate both residential and business information over time. Forecasts of these figures should be calculated as well using appropriate types of trend analysis.

§  Re-evaluating land-use zoning development controls: the ability to consider whether a given area should be classified as a particular type of zone (e.g. residential or light industrial).

§  Considering building proposals: Council has the ability to either accept or reject a building proposal based on evidence provided in the GIS (using both raster and vector spatial layers of information). Geographic data such as the area of the dwelling in proportion to the rest of the block, the gradient of the driveway, the aspect the dwelling faces (i.e. energy-saving measures), even the distance between one dwelling and the next, can all be factored in to preserve the local character of the location in question.

§  Calculating the dwelling height: the ability to calculate the heights of existing dwellings within a given area and to determine whether proposed structures meet height restrictions (e.g. careful design of buildings that does not lead to overly dominant structures).

§  Considering residential redevelopment proposals: Council can consider residential subdivision, dual occupancy development, integrated housing and villa homes, based on perspectives offered by the GIS. Additional layers acquired from utilities would also be helpful, including water, sewerage and electricity pipeline locations.

§  Choosing areas suitable for housing development: Council can determine the most suitable location for a new housing estate and comply with current standards without compromising, despite the pressure for more land parcels to be made available to prospective residents on permanent housing waiting lists. The size of the block for instance, should remain as close as possible to the existing average land parcel. Roads and pathways as well as reserves should be intelligently scoped into new housing estate areas. For example, the new Elambra Estate (see figure 1).

§  Approving local business opportunities: considering the needs of local residents and acting according to these needs. For instance, the approval of the Independent Grocer’s Association (IGA) supermarket.

§  Ensuring adequate commercial and industrial floor space: calculating the availability of business floor space for particular types of companies, as increasing numbers of people reside in Gerringong.

§  Protecting the coastal strip: Council can ensure that development within the coastal strip meets all rules and regulations. The distance from the coastline can be measured precisely and appropriate action taken in a given scenario. For example, preserving the character of Werri Beach, despite the obvious opportunities to invest in high-rise apartments, such as on the southern headland.

§  Services to the community: identifying areas where particular services to the community are required and targeting those clients, dependent on the service. For example “meals on wheels”, or the possibility of a local high school or police station. The relocation of Gerringong Primary School to Greta Street is another example.

§  Demand for public amenities: understanding the need for amenities such as public pools, barbecues, toilets and bins in key locations or pathways leading to the beach to ensure that sand loss does not occur. For instance, the decision to rebuild the local surf club and associated bowling club on Pacific Avenue.

§  Catering to increasing traffic pressures: the consideration of adequate parking facilities that meld into the surrounding streetscape.

§  Sewerage and drainage schemes: identifying those residents that are yet to connect to the new Gerringong-Gerroa sewerage scheme and those areas that are prone to flooding after heavy rainfall.

§  Sustaining the needs of increasing numbers of visitors and temporary residents: determining whether there is enough temporary housing such as caravan parks and hotels as well as parks and reserves.

§  Affordable housing: determining the mix of housing available and planning for a range of options in terms of affordability.

 Figure 1 New housing estate areas: Using the GIS to assess prospective locations for new housing estate areas and planning for development that is in accordance with the local character. For example, Elambra Estate in southern Gerringong comprises of 250 sites with a range of land and house size and style options, including duplex and integrated sites. Elambra Estate is considered to be an environmentally responsible land development project initiated by Kiama Council.

Figure 1 New housing estate areas: Using the GIS to assess prospective locations for new housing estate areas and planning for development that is in accordance with the local character. For example, Elambra Estate in southern Gerringong comprises of 250 sites with a range of land and house size and style options, including duplex and integrated sites. Elambra Estate is considered to be an environmentally responsible land development project initiated by Kiama Council.

Summary Facts and Figures

Reports that have been commissioned by Council, such as those compiled by Wiggins (2003) and ESD (2002) would be aided by the use of a GIS. Not only could qualitative outcomes from the reports be captured spatially for future re-use by Council planners but quantitative data could also be extracted to enhance report outcomes with accurate facts and figures (both current and forecasted). The following is a summary of some of the fundamental cross-sectional data that was captured by the work-in-progress GIS for the post code of Gerringong (2534). The extracted data is shown by unit of analysis and should be considered in light of the GIS applications proposed above. While these figures do not depict clusters of typologies, nor consumer behaviour or attitudinal patterns, they do indicate the vital demographics any planner should be aware of before drilling down further. Only when a planner is comfortable with the high-level numbers, after laying the foundations of a basic GIS, can they fully appreciate the implications of particular geodemographic trends (Schensul 1999).

Post Code Analysis

The post code 2534 covers a surface area of about 86 square kilometers. There are 9 suburbs in the post code including: Gerringong, Gerroa, Werri Beach, Foxground, Toolijooa, Broughton, Omega, Rose Valley and Broughton Village. In 1996, the ABS census recorded 1458 residences and a total population of 4047. According to the ABS ABR, in 1998 there were 145 businesses operating in the post code and in 2001 there were 433 Australian Business Numbers (ABN) registered in the post code.

Collection District Analysis

There are 10 collection districts in post code 2534 which cover a surface area of about 82 square kilometers. The residential and business dwelling count per CCD can be found in a graduated thematic map in figure 2. In 1996, the median age was 40 years old and the median household income was between $500 and $699. Save for the United Kingdom and New Zealand, a very small proportion of persons residing in Gerringong were born outside Australia.

 Figure 2 Demographic distribution analysis: Understanding the distribution of residential and business dwellings by Census Collection District (CCD). Above can be seen a graduated thematic map (green dots) overlayed against a ranged thematic map (shades of red). This visual representation allows the planner to consider where there is peak demand for public amenities.

Figure 2 Demographic distribution analysis: Understanding the distribution of residential and business dwellings by Census Collection District (CCD). Above can be seen a graduated thematic map (green dots) overlayed against a ranged thematic map (shades of red). This visual representation allows the planner to consider where there is peak demand for public amenities.

Roads Analysis

There are 129 roads in post code 2534 stretching a total of 80 kilometres in length. Seventy-five percent of residential dwellings are located in 30 roads and streets. Four streets have over 100 residential dwellings each, including Belinda Street, Renfrew Road, Fern Street, and Stafford Street. Forty percent of businesses are located on three roads, including Fern Street, Belinda Street and Rowlins Road. The respective graphs representing these statistics can be found in figure 3.

 Figure 3 Targeting populated places: The graphs above depict the density profile of Gerringong by street. Typical of a regional coastal town in Australia, 50 per cent of residential and business dwellings are located in only about 10 per cent of roads. Viewing residential and business counts graphically in order of their prominence, such as in the above line graphs, can help the planner identify areas of peak traffic (both pedestrian and vehicle).

Figure 3 Targeting populated places: The graphs above depict the density profile of Gerringong by street. Typical of a regional coastal town in Australia, 50 per cent of residential and business dwellings are located in only about 10 per cent of roads. Viewing residential and business counts graphically in order of their prominence, such as in the above line graphs, can help the planner identify areas of peak traffic (both pedestrian and vehicle).

Dwelling Analysis

As of 2002 there were approximately 2000 residential dwellings in post code 2534, which equates to approximately 5200 permanent residents. Over 225 businesses are located in the area. Eight-four percent of businesses employ less than 5 employees. Over 50 per cent of business can be categorized as ANZSIC type Construction, Manufacturing or Retail.

 Figure 4 Household dwelling distribution: The thematic map above shows the distribution of households by road. The thicker the road segment and darker the shade of red, the more households are located on that street. This thematic map can help planners to strategically place parks, reserves and rest areas in positions that will be utilised by the neighbouring population.

Figure 4 Household dwelling distribution: The thematic map above shows the distribution of households by road. The thicker the road segment and darker the shade of red, the more households are located on that street. This thematic map can help planners to strategically place parks, reserves and rest areas in positions that will be utilised by the neighbouring population.

Conclusion

Local councils are beginning to understand the power of geographical information systems (GIS). While GIS is not a new concept, many councils are only now adopting the technology. Spatial analysis provides a whole new dimension to the strategic planning process that can aid in producing a holistic perspective rather than a piecemeal approach to solving real and anticipated problems. A top-down analysis of a given scenario is always to be preferred to gain a macro to micro perspective, without accidentally omitting pieces of information, important to making a particular decision. Councils located in coastal areas in particular can benefit from using GIS for both human geography and environmental geography issues. Considering both of these aspects together is paramount for the preservation and conservation of a given area. GIS can incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data and capture patterns and trends more readily than any other information system. While this pilot study was cross-sectional in nature (i.e. a snapshot), an ideal study would incorporate a longitudinal view and forecast population growth rates that were sustainable for the area based on Council parameters. The most important outcome of the study was demonstrating the need for Council to quickly adopt GIS into its planning practices. While the cost of acquiring the data sources and spatial boundaries identified throughout this paper would total in excess of one hundred thousand dollars (i.e., for a single user license for the area covered by Kiama Council alone), the investment would have positive long-term implications.

 Figure 5 Pinpointing company locations: The MapMarker® Australia product allows for intelligent address matching. In this pilot study, telemarketing business records from Brylar’s Australian on Disc (AOD) product were geocoded to street address locations. Council planners can query individual company records in the GIS or extract data to analyse the various types of businesses that are located in Gerringong. It can also help planners in re-zoning land parcels for re-development based on local business and employment demands.

Figure 5 Pinpointing company locations: The MapMarker® Australia product allows for intelligent address matching. In this pilot study, telemarketing business records from Brylar’s Australian on Disc (AOD) product were geocoded to street address locations. Council planners can query individual company records in the GIS or extract data to analyse the various types of businesses that are located in Gerringong. It can also help planners in re-zoning land parcels for re-development based on local business and employment demands.

References

Birkin, M., Clarke, G., Clarke, M. and Wilson, A. 1996. Intelligent GIS: Location Decisions and Strategic Planning. GeoInformation International, Cambridge.

Castles, I. (ed.) 1993. CDATA91: Data Guide. 1991 Census of Population and Housing. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

Drummond, W.J. 1995. Address matching: GIS technology for mapping human activity patterns. Journal of American Planning Association 61: 240-251.

Ecologically Sustainable Design [ESD] (ed.) 2002. The Charrette Report. Kiama Council, New South Wales.

Goss, J. 1995. We know who you are and we know where you live: the instrumentality of geodemographic systems. Economic Geography 71(2): 171-198.

Holloway, G. (ed.) 1998. The Math, Myth & Magic of Name Search and Matching. SearchSoftwareAmerica, Connecticut.

Maguire, D., Goodchild, M., and Rhind, D. 1991. Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications. Wiley, New York.

Nelson, P. (ed.) 2003. Preliminary Survey: Community Participation Process, Place-based residential Strategies for the Future Growth of Werri Beach/ Gerringong & Gerroa. Kiama Council, New South Wales.

Schensul, J.J., LeCompte, M.D., Trotter, R.T., Cromley, E.K., and Singer, M. 1999. Mapping Social Networks, and Spatial Data, & Hidden Populations. Sage Publications, London.

Wiggins, D. (ed.) 2003. Final Report: May 2003. Kiama Council Community Participation Process, Place-based Residential Strategies for the Future Growth of Gerringong and Gerroa. Kiama Council, New South Wales.

Suggested Resources for Spatial and Aspatial Data

ABS. 2003. 1353.0 Integrated Regional Data Base (IRDB), Australia. http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs%40.nsf/ca79f63026ec2e9cca256886001514d7/b27b00a2b3a79c42ca2568a900143de1!OpenDocument.

ABS. 2003. 1369.0.55.001 Australian Business Register - Counts of ABNs. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/CCF2C8379B1EC773CA256B87008134D5?Open&Highlight=0,ABR.

ABS. 2003. CadastralPlus — Overview. http://www.mapinfo.com/au/products/Overview.cfm?productid=866.

ABS. 2003. CDATA 2001 – Brochure. http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3110124.NSF/24e5997b9bf2ef35ca2567fb00299c59/1bfc550a6d37a700ca256bd600063d37!OpenDocument.

ABS. 2003. Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas 96 (SEIFA). http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3110142.NSF/654f973dc0676ad3ca2566ac001ffe93/29ce159bcbb882d3ca2566ad0002229e!OpenDocument.

Data Dependables Data. 2003. Brylar’s Australia on Disc. http://www.australiaondisc.com.au/.

Dun & Bradstreet Australia. 2003. D&B Australian Marketing Lists. http://www.dnb.com/AU/dbproducts/ProdDesc.asp?id=175&ver=481.

MapInfo. 2003. CDATA 2001 - Detailed Base Map — Overview. http://www.mapinfo.com/au/products/Overview.cfm?productid=1675.

MapInfo. 2003. MapInfo Professional® — Overview. http://www.mapinfo.com/au/products/Overview.cfm?productid=1044.

MapInfo. 2003. MapMarker® Australia — Overview. http://www.mapinfo.com/au/products/Overview.cfm?productid=152.

MapInfo. 2003. StreetPro® Australia — Overview. http://www.mapinfo.com/au/products/Overview.cfm?productid=138.

Salmat. 2003. Marketfind. http://www.salmat.com.au/Services/Customer_Contact/CustomerTargeting.html.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank sales representative Brinda Rabi of MapInfo Australia who supplied free GIS software and associated spatial databases to the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Wollongong for research purposes in 2002. I would also like to thank the University of Wollongong who funded a New Researcher, and Start-up Researcher grant for the Spatial Database National Australia (S-DNA) project to the total value of $7,500 of which this study is a part of. Strategic planner, Peter Nelson, of Kiama Council was also helpful in establishing the scope for this GIS pilot study.