Bots Trending Now: Disinformation and Calculated Manipulation of the Masses

Bot Developments

A bot (short for robot) performs highly repetitive tasks by automatically gathering or posting information based on a set of algorithms. Internet-based bots can create new content and interact with other users like any human would. Bots are not neutral. They always have an underlying intent toward direct or indirect benefit or harm. The power is always with the individual(s)/organization(s) unleashing the bot, and imbued with the developer's subjectivity and bias [1].

Bots can be overt or covert to subjects; they can deliberately “listen” and then in turn manipulate situations providing real information or disinformation (known also as automated propaganda). They can target individuals or groups and successfully alter or even disrupt group-think, and equally silence activists trying to bring attention to a given cause (e.g., human rights abuses by governments). On the flipside, bots can be used as counterstrategies in raising awareness of political wrongdoing (e.g., censorship) but also be used for terrorist causes appealing to a global theatre (e.g., ISIS) [2].

Software engineers and computer programmers have developed bots that can do superior conversational analytics, bots to analyze human sentiment in social media platforms such as Facebook [3] and Twitter [4], and bots to get value out of unstructured data using a plethora of big data techniques. It won't be long before we have bots to analyse audio using natural language processing, and commensurate bots to analyze and respond to uploaded videos on YouTube, and even bots that respond with humanlike speech contextually adapted for age, gender, and even culture. The convergence of this suite of capabilities is known as artificial intelligence [5]. Bots can be invisible, they can appear as a 2D embodied agent on a screen (avatar or dialog screen), or as a 3D object (e.g., toy) or humanoid robot (e.g., Bina [6] and Pepper).

Bots that Pass the Turing Test

Most consumers who use instant messaging chat programs to interact with their service providers very well might not realize that they have likely interacted with a chat bot that is able to crawl through a provider's public Internet page for information acquisition [7]. After 3–4 interactions with the bot, that can last anything between 5 to 10 minutes, a human customer service representative might intervene to enable a direct answer to a more complex problem. This is known as a hybrid delivery model where bot and human work together to solve a customer inquiry. The customer may detect a slower than usual response in the chat window, but is willing to wait given the asynchronous mode of communications, and the mere fact they don't have to converse with a real person over the telephone. The benefit to the consumer is said to be bypassing a human clerk and wait times for a representative, and the benefit to the service provider is in saving the cost of human resources, including ongoing training.

Bots that interact with humans and go undetected as being non-human are considered successful in their implementation, and are said to pass the Turing Test [8]. Devised in 1950, English mathematician, Alan M. Turing suggested the “imitation game,” which consisted of a remote human interrogator within a fixed time frame being able to distinguish between a computer and a human subject based on their replies to various questions posed by the interrogator [9].

Bot Impacts Across the Globe

Bots usually have Internet/social media accounts that look like real people, generate new content like any human would, and interact with other users. Politicalbots.org reported that approximately 19 million bot accounts were tweeting in support of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the U.S. presidential election [10]. Pro-Trump bots worked to sway public opinion by secretly taking over pro-Clinton hashtags like #ImWithHer and spreading fake news stories [11]. These pervasive bots are said to have swayed public opinion.

Yet bots have not just been utilized in the U.S. alone, but also the U.K. (Brexit's mood contagion [12]), Germany (fake news [1]), France (robojournalism [13]), Italy (popularity questioned [14]), and even in Australia (Coalition's fake followers [15]). Unsurprisingly, political bots have also been used by Turkey (Erdogan's 6000 robot army [16], [17]), Syria (Twitter spambots [18]), Ecuador (surveillance [19]), Mexico (Peñabots [20]), Brazil, Rwanda, Russia (Troll Houses [21]), China (tracking Tibetan protestors [22]), Ukraine (social bots [23]), Venezuela (6000 bots generating anti-U.S. sentiment [24] with #ObamaYankeeGoHome [25]).

Whether it is personal attacks meant to cause a chilling effect, spamming attacks on hashtags meant to redirect trending, overinflated follower numbers meant to show political strength, or deliberate social media messaging to perform sweeping surveillance, bots are polluting political discourse on a grand scale. So much so, that some politicians themselves are now calling for action against these autobots - with everything from demands for ethical conduct in society, to calls for more structured regulation [26] for political parties, to even implementation of criminal penalties for offenders creating and implementing malicious bot strategies.

Provided below are demonstrative examples of the use of bots in Australia, the U.K., Germany, Syria and China, with each example offering an alternative case whereby bots have been used to further specific political agendas.

Fake Followers in Australia

In 2013, the Liberal Party internally investigated the surge in Twitter followers that the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbot accumulated. On the night of August 10,2013, Abbot's Twitter following soared from 157 000 to 198 000 [27]. In the days preceding this period, his following was steadily growing at about 3000 per day. The Liberal Party had to declare on their Facebook page that someone had been purchasing “Fake Twitter followers for Tony Abbot's Twitter account,” but later a spokeswoman said it was someone not connected with the Liberal Party nor associated with the Liberal campaign and that the damage had been done using a spambot [27], an example of which is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Twitter image taken from [28].

 

The Liberals acted quickly to contact Twitter who removed only about 8000 “fake followers” and by that same evening, Mr. Abbot's followers had grown again to 197000. A later analysis indicated that the Coalition had been spamming Twitter with exactly the same messages from different accounts, most of these not even from Australian shores. The ploy meant that Abbot got about 100000 likes on Facebook in a single week, which was previously unheard of for any Liberal Party leader. Shockingly, one unofficial audit noted that about 95% of Mr. Abbot's 203000 followers were fake, with 4% “active” and only 1% genuine [15]. The audit was verified by social media monitoring tools, StatusPeople and SocialBakers that determined in a report that around 41 per cent of Abbott's most recent 50000 Twitter followers were fake, unmanned Twitter accounts [29]. The social media monitoring companies noted that the numbers of fake followers were likely even higher. It is well known that most of the Coalition's supporters do not use social media [30]. Another example of the suspected use of bots during the 2013 election campaign can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Twitter image taken from [31].

Fake Trends and Robo-Journalists in the U.K.

As the U.K.'s June 2016 referendum on European Union membership drew near, researchers discovered automated social media accounts were swaying votes for and against Britain's exit from the EU. A recent study found 54% of accounts were pro-Leave, while 20% were pro-Remain [32]. And of the 1.5 million tweets with hashtags related to the referendum between June 5 and June 12, about half a million were generated by 1% of the accounts sampled.

As more and more citizenry head to social media for their primary information source, bots can sway decisions this way or that. After the results for Brexit were disclosed, many pro-Remain supporters claimed that social media had had an undue influence by discouraging “Remain” voters from actually going to the polls [33], refer to Figure 3. While there are only 15 million Twitter users in the U.K., it is possible that robo-journalists (content gathering bots) and human journalists who relied on social media content that was fake, further propelled the “fake news,” affecting more than just the TwitterSphere.

 

Figure 3. Twitter image taken from [34].

Fake News and Echo Chambers in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed concern over the potential for social bots to influence this year's German national election [35]. She brought to the fore the ways in which fake news and bots have manipulated public opinion online by spreading false and malicious information. She said: “Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls - things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them” [36]. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) already has more Facebook likes than Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) combined. Merkel is worried the AfD might use Trump-like strategies on social media channels to sway the vote.

It is not just that the bots are generating fake news [35], but that the algorithms that Facebook deploys as content are shared between user accounts, creating “echo chambers” and outlets for reverberation [37]. However in Germany, Facebook, which has been criticized for failing to police hate speech, in 2016 has just been legally classified as a “media company,” which means it will now be held accountable for the content it publishes. While the major political parties responded by saying they will not utilize “bots for votes,” it is now also outside geopolitical forces (e.g., Russians) who are chiming in, attempting to drive social media sentiment with their own hidden agendas [35].

Spambots and Hijacking Hashtags in Syria

During the Arab Spring, online activists were able to provide eyewitness accounts of uprisings in real time. In Syria, protesters used the hashtags #Syria, #Daraa, and #Mar15 to appeal for support from a global theater [18]. It did not take long for government intelligence officers to threaten online protesters with verbal assaults and one-on-one intimidation techniques. Syrian blogger Anas Qtiesh wrote: “These accounts were believed to be manned by Syrian mokhabarat (intelligence) agents with poor command of both written Arabic and English, and an endless arsenal of bile and insults” [38]. But when protesters continued despite the harassment, spambots created by Bahrain company EGHNA were coopted to create pro-regime accounts [39]. The pro-regime messages then flooded hashtags that had pro-revolution narratives.

This essentially drowned out protesters' voices with irrelevant information - such as photography of Syria. @LovelySyria, @SyriaBeauty and @DNNUpdates dominated #Syria with a flood of predetermined tweets every few minutes from EGHNA's media server [40]. Figure 4 provides an example of such tweets. Others who were using Twitter to portray the realities of the conflict in Syria publicly opposed the use of the spambots (see Figure 5) [43].

Figure 4. Twitter image taken from [41].

Figure 5. Twitter image taken from [42].

Since 2014, the Islamic State terror group has “ghost-tweeted” its messages to make it look like it has a large, sympathetic following [44]. This has been a deliberate act to try and attract resources, both human and financial, from global constituents. Tweets have consisted of allegations of mass killings of Iraqi soldiers and more [45]. This activity shows how extremists are employing the same social media strategies as some governments and social activists.

Sweeping Surveillance in China

In May 2016, China was exposed for purportedly fabricating 488 million social media comments annually in an effort to distract users' attention from bad news and politically sensitive issues [46]. A recent three-month study found 13% of messages had been deleted on Sina Weibo (Twitter's equivalent in China) in a bid to crack down on what government officials identified as politically charged messages [47]. It is likely that bots were used to censor messages containing key terms that matched a list of banned words. Typically, this might have included words in Mandarin such as “Tibet,” “Falun Gong,” and “democracy” [48].

China employs a classic hybrid model of online propaganda that comes into action only after some period of social unrest or protest when there is a surge in message volumes. Typically, the task is left to government officials to do the primary messaging, with back up support from bots, methodically spreading messages of positivity and ensuring political security using pro-government cheerleading. While on average it is believed that one in every 178 posts is curated for propaganda purposes, the posts are not continuous and appear to overwhelm dissent only at key times [49]. Distraction online, it seems, is the best way to overcome opposition. That distraction is carried out in conjunction with making sure there is a cap on the number of messages that can be sent from “public accounts” that have broadcasting capabilities.

What Effect are Bots Having on Society?

The deliberate act of spreading falsehoods via the Internet, and more specifically via social media, to make people believe something that is not true is certainly a form of propaganda. While it might create short-term gains in the eyes of political leaders, it inevitably causes significant public distrust in the long term. In many ways, it is a denial of citizen service that attacks fundamental human rights. It preys on the premise that most citizens in society are like sheep, a game of “follow the leader” ensues, making a mockery of the “right to know.” We are using faulty data to come to phony conclusions, to cast our votes and decide our futures. Disinformation on the Internet is now rife - and if the Internet has become our primary source of truth, then we might well believe anything.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This article is adapted from an article published in The Conversation titled “Bots without borders: how anonymous accounts hijack political debate,” on January 24, 2017. Read the original article http://theconversation.com/bots-without-borders-how-anonymous-accounts-hijack-political-debate-70347 Katina Michael would like to thank Michael Courts and Amanda Dunn from The Conversation for their editorial support, and Christiane Barro from Monash University for the inspiration to write the piece. Dr. Roba Abbas was also responsible for integrating the last draft with earlier work.

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, "Bots Trending Now: Disinformation and Calculated Manipulation of the Masses", IEEE Technology and society Magazine, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 6-11.

Sociology of the docile body

Abstract

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

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

Section I. Introduction

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

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

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

Section II. Previous Work

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

A. Experimental Stages of Cybernetic Innovations

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

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

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

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

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

B. Human Versus Machine

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

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

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

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

Section III. Research Approach

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

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

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

Section IV. The Penal Metaphor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Section V. Discussion

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

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Conclusion

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

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

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

High-Tech Child's Play in the Cloud

Introduction

The “internet of things” mantra promotes the potential for the interconnectedness of everyone and everything [1]. The fundamental premise is that embedded sensors (including audio and image) will herald in an age of convenience, security, and quick response [2]. We have become so oblivious to the presence and placement of sensors in civil infrastructure (e.g., shopping centers and lampposts) and computing devices (e.g., laptops and smartphones) that we do not question their placement in places of worship, restrooms, and, especially, children's toys [3].

The risk with consumer desensitization over the “sensors everywhere” paradigm is, at times, complacency, but, for the greater part, apathy. When functionality is hidden inside a black box or is wireless, consumers can underestimate the potential for harm. The old adage “what you don't know won't hurt you” is not true in this context and neither is the “I have nothing to hide” principle. Form factors can play a significant role in disarming buyers of white goods for households and gifts for minors. In context, the power of a sensor looks innocent when it is located in a children's toy, as opposed to sitting atop a mobile closed-circuit television policing unit.

Barbie is Watching

The Mattel Vidster is a digital tapeless camcorder that was marketed as a children's toy. It features a 28-mm LCD display, a 2x digital zoom, and records into AVI 320 × 240 video files encoded with the M-JPEG codec at 15 frames/s, with 22-kHz monaural sound. It also takes still photos.

The Mattel Vidster is a digital tapeless camcorder that was marketed as a children's toy. It features a 28-mm LCD display, a 2x digital zoom, and records into AVI 320 × 240 video files encoded with the M-JPEG codec at 15 frames/s, with 22-kHz monaural sound. It also takes still photos.

An example of this shift in context is Mattel's Video Girl Barbie doll, launched in July 2010 [4]. It features a fully functional standard-definition pinhole video camera embedded in Barbie's chest, with a viewing screen on her back. Young children (Mattel is targeting ages six years and above) are supported by user design to make use of “doll's-eye-view” to record Barbie's point of view for up to 30 min. They can then create movies using the accompanying StoryTeller software. Video Girl comes with a (pink) USB plug-in cord for easy upload of the recorded footage. Initially, Mattel provided storage space for video makers in the cloud to share movies (http://barbie.com/videogirl), but the company later recanted and eliminated this video-sharing capability. We have speculated that one of Mattel's reasons for doing so was because it was faced with potential footage recorded at ground level that exposed young, carefree children at play.

The Barbie Video Girl doll—Create movies from Barbie's point-of-view with a real video camera inside the doll (the camera lens is in the necklace, and the video screen is on her back).

The Barbie Video Girl doll—Create movies from Barbie's point-of-view with a real video camera inside the doll (the camera lens is in the necklace, and the video screen is on her back).

In his book Cybercrime, Jonathan Clough makes it clear that offenses for child pornography are stipulated in Title 3, Article 9 of the Cybercrime Convention as producing, offering or making available, distributing or transmitting, procuring, or possessing child pornography [5], [p. 281]. While definitions of what constitutes an offense under child pornography laws vary greatly from one country to the next, court cases worldwide are providing clear precedents for unacceptable behaviors. It is quite possible that Mattel did not wish to find itself in the precarious situation of “offering or making available” debatable imagery of young children or as a potential, albeit accidental, accessory for possession. In essence, this places the manufacturer at the mercy of those who would label them as groomers or even procurers of child pornography, engineers of another insidious arm of the child pornographer. Three of the offenses that constitute the “making available” category of child pornography laws include to publish, make available, and show [5], [p. 287]. Mattel had obviously not thought through all the pros and cons associated with video sharing by minors. In fact, in most social media web sites, Facebook and Instagram included, policies preclude those under the age of 13 from registration and participation.

Four months after the official launch of Video Girl, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) privately issued a warning that the doll could be used to produce child pornography [6]. On 30 November 2010, in a situational information report “cybercrime alert,” from its Sacramento field office, the FBI publicly announced in a statement that there was “no reported evidence that the doll had been used in any way other than intended” [7], [8]. However, the report also stated that the FBI had revealed that there was an instance where an individual convicted of distributing child pornography had given the Barbie doll to a 6-year-old girl. In addition, there were numerous instances where a concealed video camera had recorded child pornography as well. All of these events are unsurprising [9]. The most obvious form of possession, with respect to the Barbie, would be if the accused had the item in his or her “present manual custody.” For example, if the defendant was found to be holding a Video Girl Barbie doll containing child pornography images or video, then, subject to the requirement of knowledge, he or she would be in possession of those images or video. In addition, if the doll was likewise found in the defendant's physical control (e.g., in his or her house), even that would constitute an offense.

There are professionals who have filmed Video Girl Barbie in a sexualized manner [10], but that in itself is not an offense. Although the YouTube video that compares the camera quality of the Canon 7D to Video Girl is unlisted (only people who know the link to the video can view it, and unlisted videos do not appear in YouTube search results), it sadly shows what distortion is possible through adult eyes, through using arguably borderline “adult” humor. In the YouTube comments for the video, Naxell wrote, “[t]hat USB in the back and the leg batteries make this seem like some kind of bizarre multipurpose sex gynoid,” while Marcos Vidal wrote, “Well, think on the Barbie's use; it can spy—with Cannon 7D, it's a lot harder.” While no one is claiming that Vidal was referring to the recording of a child for duplicitous reasons, it certainly suggests that Barbie could be used as a covert camera. Essentially, it is taking a form of child's play and making that an asset of the cloud for future use and possible manipulation. And this is just a fundamental issue in the new type of cybercrime—that “the advent of digital technology has transformed the way in which child pornography is produced and distributed” [5], [p. 251]. In essence, child pornography can be defined as “the sexual depiction of a child under a certain age” [5], [p. 255].

Marketing Mishaps

While we do not need to point to a video someone has made of Barbie and her super-power recording prowess “under the hood,” we can simply look at Mattel's poor taste in advertising strategy for the Video Girl doll as a children's toy. The key question is whether those who engineered the doll at Mattel understand that they are accountable for the purposeful user design and user experience they have created [11]. In a press release, the company stated, “Mattel products are designed with children and their best interests in mind. Many of Mattel's employees are parents themselves, and we understand the importance of child safety—it is our number one priority” [12].

The Barbie Video Girl doll is “doll vision” for ages 6 and above.

The Barbie Video Girl doll is “doll vision” for ages 6 and above.

At the time of the online media content review in early 2011, one of the authors, Katina Michael, was horrified to find some disturbing ways in which Mattel had softly launched the product. In fact, the doll sold out at Wal-Mart in its first release. The other author, Alexander Hayes, purchased a Barbie Video Girl in 2010 to inform his Ph.D. research on point-of-view technologies, and he told Katina that the doll was “hideous…a manifestation of the most cruel manner in which to permeate a child's play.” Katina agreed and noted that the purchased Barbie would remain forever unopened because the packaging itself formed a part of the bigger picture they would need to use for a stimulus for discussion to public audiences. Katina used the packaged Barbie during her presentation at the Fourth Regional Conference on Cybercrime and International Criminal Cooperation, which was well attended by law enforcement agencies, legal personnel, and scholars in the social implications of technology [13]. The Video Girl Barbie also made further appearances at the February 2012 SINS Workshop, “Point-of-View Technologies in Law Enforcement” [14], and an invited workshop at which Katina and Alexander spoke, the 2013 INFORMA Policing Technology Conference on the theme “Bring Your Own Body-Worn Device” [15].

In July 2010, Mattel released Barbie Video Girl, a doll with a pinhole video camera in its chest enabling clips up to 30 min to be recorded.

In July 2010, Mattel released Barbie Video Girl, a doll with a pinhole video camera in its chest enabling clips up to 30 min to be recorded.

Perhaps the most disturbing and disappointing aspect of the Video Girl Barbie was the way in which the doll was marketed. On the packaging was the statement “I am a real working video camera.” This vernacular is akin to adult sex workers and does not fit with societal moral and ethical frameworks by which we protect innocent children. It is questionable why the word working was introduced into the phraseology. In essence, Video Girl Barbie is a photoborg [16]. She is reminiscent of Mattel's Vidster video camera toy for kids [17], cloaked in the form of a Barbie doll. Elsewhere, Mattel mentions: “Necklace is a real camera lens!” But the location of the camera on the chest looks less like a necklace and more like cleavage with an additional statement: “This Barbie has a hidden video camera” [18]. There was also a picture of Barbie depicted on her knees with a visual didactic stating “for easy shooting,” indicating the three steps to making a movie. The storytelling video demo scenario Mattel used had to do with cats at the vet and was generally in poor taste. The cat was depicted getting her heartbeat monitored in one video scene, getting an X-ray in another, and then finding herself in a basket with another cat and finding love, with a heart symbol depicted above the cats' heads.

Comments varied for iJustine's video “OMG Video Girl,” which has more than 1.4 million YouTube views [19]. Here was a female adult commenting on a toy for kids. Taylor Johnson wrote, “My Favorite was the vet Barbie! Haha!” Mssjasmine commented, “That doll is kinda creepy (like a pedophile would buy that to watch little kids…ew).” Sam Speirs similarly wrote, “This ‘toy’ of yours will/could be used as a major predator trap! And I know that the idea was for the girls to have a camera [to] do stuff, but, seriously, it's a concealed camera in a popular little girl's toy…Creepy, if you ask me!” Another product reviewer of children's toys wrote: “Barbie sees everything from a whole different angle” [20]. There were several “Boycott Barbie” websites found in 2011: “Get Rid of Barbie Video Girl” Facebook page and “Boycott Porno Barbie.”

A child plays with traditional dolls. Today, we are making dolls that are connected to the cloud and use artificial intelligence to listen to questions from children and provide them answers over the Internet without human intervention. Soon, we will be asking the question “what is real?”

A child plays with traditional dolls. Today, we are making dolls that are connected to the cloud and use artificial intelligence to listen to questions from children and provide them answers over the Internet without human intervention. Soon, we will be asking the question “what is real?”

Perhaps the worst example of Mattel's approach in this product was its initial press release (sent to TechCrunch by the PR firm responsible), which stated: “Unsuspecting subjects won't know that Barbie is watching their every move…” [21]. Issues for Mattel to consider have much to do with corporate responsibility. Excluding the potential for pedophiles to use this technology to cause harm, what happens if innocents produce illegal content which would otherwise mean criminalization? Could the doll be used to groom and seduce victims of child pornography?

Hello? Barbie is Listening

But Mattel, like most high-tech manufacturers, has not stopped there. Convergence has become an integral part of the development cycle. If the Barbie Video Girl doll seemed amazing as a concept, then the Hello Barbie doll has outdone it. In its own words, Mattel states that the Hello Barbie is “a whole new way to play with Barbie!” She differs from Barbie Video Girl in several ways. The doll still comes equipped with a whole bunch of electronics, but Hello Barbie uses speech-recognition technology to hold a conversation with a child and only allows for still-shot photo capture. The product information page on Mattel's website reads:

Using Wi-Fi and speech-recognition technology, Hello Barbie doll can interact uniquely with each child by holding conversations, playing games, sharing stories, and even telling jokes! […] Use is simple after set up—push the doll's belt buckle to start a conversation, and release to hear her respond […] To get started, download the Hello Barbie companion app to your own smart device from your device's app store (not included). Parents must also set up a ToyTalk account and connect the doll to use the conversational features. Hello Barbie doll can remember up to three different Wi-Fi locations [22].

Thus, the doll transmits data back to a service called ToyTalk. Forbes reported that ToyTalk has terms of service and a privacy policy that allow it to “share audio recordings with third-party vendors who assist [Mattel] with speech recognition.” Customer “recordings and photos may also be used for research and development purposes, such as to improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms and create better entertainment experiences” [23]. There is, however, a “SafePlay” option, where parents and guardians are still “in control of their child's data and can manage this data through the ToyTalk account at any time” [22].

To manage SafePlay, parents must visit www.mattel.com/hellobarbiefaq to get more information, or call +1 888 256 0224—and every parent will certainly have time to do this [24]. “Parents must also set up a ToyTalk account and connect to use the conversational features…Use of Hello Barbie involves recording of voice data; see ToyTalk's privacy policy at http://www.toytalk.” Of course, it is not the parents who will end up downloading these apps but the children.

Continued Infiltration

This raises many questions about the trajectory of toys and everyday products that increasingly contain networked features that introduce new parameters to what was once innocent child's play, unseen and carefree. First, Samsung launched a television set that can hear household conversations [25], and now we are to believe that it is the real Barbie who is “chatting” with our children. Are we too blind to see what is occurring? Is this really play? Or is it the best way of gathering marketing data and instituting further manipulation into those too young to know that the Barbie talking to them is not real and actually a robot of sorts? Just like we were once oblivious to the fact that our typed entries in search boxes were being collated to study our habits, likes, and dislikes, we are presently oblivious to the onslaught of products that are trying to infiltrate our homes and even our minds.

A spate of products has entered the market doing exactly the same thing as Hello Barbie but targeting a variety of vertical segments—from Amazon Echo for families who allegedly need a cloud connector because they cannot spell words like cantaloupe [26], [27] to NEST's thermostat and smoke-detection capability that doubles as human activity monitoring and tracking (NEST says so openly in its promotional commercials) [28], to DropCam's reconnaissance video recordings of what happens in your household 24/7, just in case there is a perpetrator who dares to enter [29].

Cayla is Talking—And It's Not Always Pretty

Perhaps our “favorite” is the My Friend Cayla doll [30], which connects to the cloud like the Hello Barbie. She is seemingly innocent but has shown herself to be the stuff of nightmares, akin to the horror movie Child's Play featuring the character Chucky [31]. On the Australian Cayla page, potential buyers are again greeted by a splash page with a cat on it: “I love my cat Lily. I will tell you her story.” Cayla is depicted talking to two little girls. The British Christmas best seller is effectively a Bluetooth headset dressed as a doll. With the help of a Wi-Fi connection (like Hello Barbie), she can answer a whole lot of tough questions, Amazon Echo style, and you would be surprised at her capacity [32]. But security researcher Ken Munro from Pen Test Partners put Cayla to the test and identified some major security flaws that could give perpetrators a way in. In essence, Cayla was hacked. She was made to speak a list of 1,500 strong words and expletives, and her responses to questions were modified [33].

This reminds us of the 2015 article in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine by K. Albrecht and L. McIntyre on IP cameras that double as baby monitors [34]. The moral of the story is the same whether the cloud-connected device is a children's monitor, children's toy, desktop game for kids, television console, Q&A tool for households, or a plain-old Wi-Fi-enabled smoke detector or thermostat: if it's connected, then it's vulnerable to security hacks and breaches in privacy [35]. Worse still, if it can talk back to you in the spoken word, then you need to think about the logic behind the process and what we are teaching our children about what is human and what is not. If these electronics products are going back to the Internet seeking results, then don't be surprised if nonphysical autonomous software robots one day begin to spit out bizarre answers and manipulative responses based on what is out there on the Internet.

As Kate Darling said in a Berkman talk at Harvard University in 2013, “[s]o not to undermine everything that I've just said here, but I do wonder…Say McDonald's gets its hands on a whole bunch of children's toys that are social robots and interacts with the kids socially, and the toys are telling the kids…to eat more McDonald's, and the kids are responding to that. That is something that we also need to think about and talk about, when these things start to happen. They could be used for good and for evil” [36]. If only that is all they will be saying to the next generation!

Katina visited the My Friend Cayla website recently and found this message: “Due to changes in the external website which Cayla gets some information from, she is temporarily unable to answer some types of questions. Cayla can still talk about herself, do maths and spelling, and all other functions are unaffected. A free app update will be issued (for both iOS and Android users) within the next two weeks with a fix. Thank you for your understanding” [37]. Keeping our children safe and aware of the difference between virtual and real is one thing, but, if we aren't careful, we will soon welcome a future where My Friend Cayla might well be facing off against Hello Barbie in another Child's Play blockbuster.

References

1. K. Albrecht, K. Michael, "Connected to everyone and everything", IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 31-34, 2014.

2. M. G. Michael, K. Michael, C. Perakslis, "Uberveillance the Web of Things and People: What is the culmination of all this surveillance?", IEEE Consumer Electron. Mag., vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 107-113, 2015.

3. K. Michael, "Wearable computers challenge human rights", ABC Science, July 2013, [online] Available: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/07/24/3809675.htm.

4. Barbie's video girl, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://service.mattel.com/us/TechnicalProductDetail.aspx?prodno=R4807&siteid=27&catid1=508.

5. J. Clough, Principles of Cybercrime, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010.

6. A. Toor, FBI says video Barbie girl could be used for ‘child pornography production’, Dec. 2010, [online] Available: http://www.switched.com/2010/12/03/fbi-video-barbie-girl-could-be-used-for-child-pornography/.

7. FBI memo raises Barbie child pornography fears, BBC News, Dec. 2010.

8. M. Martinez, FBI: New Barbie ‘Video Girl’ doll could be used for child porn, CNN, Dec. 2010.

9. D. M. Hughes, "The use of new communications and information technologies for sexual exploitation of women and children", Hastings Women's Law J., vol. 13, pp. 127, 2002.

10. Canon 7D vs. Barbie Video Girl, Dec. 2010, [online] Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLmgXk4RlOc.

11. A. Hayes, FBI pornography Barbie, Dec. 2010, [online] Available: http://uberveillance.com/blog/2010/12/30/fbi-pornography-barbie.html?rq=barbie.

12. S. Fox, "FBI target new Barbie as child pornography threat", LiveScience, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://www.livescience.com/10319-fbi-targets-barbie-child-pornography-threat.html.

13. K. Michael, "The FBI's cybercrime alert on Mattel's Barbie video girl: A possible method for the production of child pornography or just another point of view", Conf. Cybercrime and Int. Criminal Cooperation, 2011-May-19–20.

14. K. Michael, M. G. Michael, "Point of view technologies in law enforcement" in The Social Implications of National Security, Sydney Univ., 2012. 

15. K. Michael, A. Hayes, "WORKSHOP | Body worn video recorders: The socio-technical implications of gathering direct evidence", INFORMA Police Technology Forum 2013, 2013-Mar.

16. K. Michael, "Wearables and lifeblogging: The socioethical implications", IEEE Consumer Electron. Mag., vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 80, 2015.

17. Mattel's Vidster is for kids, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://gizmodo.com/124713/mattels-vidster-is-for-kids.

18. VideoGirl, May 2011, [online] Available: http://www.barbie.com/videogirl/.

19. OMG Video Girl!, May 2011, [online] Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSCfbSKSxMc.

20. "TimeToPlayMag", Barbie video girl doll from Mattel, [online] Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKqrTycSHIQ&NR=1&feature=fvwp.

21. P. Carr, Feds finally closing the net on America's most wanted Barbie (since Klaus), May 2013, [online] Available: http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/03/you-can-brush-my-hair-arrest-me-anywhere/.

22. "Hello Barbie™ Doll—Light brown hair", Mattel Shop, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://shop.mattel.com/product/index.jsp?productId=71355596.

23. J. Steinberg, This new toy records your children's private moments—Buyer beware, Forbes, Mar. 2015.

24. High-tech Barbie sparks privacy concerns parental backlash, ABC News, Sept. 2015.

25. N. Grimm, Samsung warns customers new Smart TVs “listen in” on users' personal conversations, ABC News, Mar. 2015.

26. Introducing Amazon Echo, Dec. 2015, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkOCeAtKHIc.

27. Amazon Echo, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X4WHP5E?*Version*=1&*entries*=0.

28. L. Whitney, Google closes \$3.2 billion purchase of Nest, C|NET, Feb. 2014.

29. G. Kumpara, Google and NEST acquire Dropcam for \$555 Million, TechCrunch, June 2014.

30. My Friend Cayla, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://www.myfriendcayla.com/.

31. "MovieClips Extras", Child's play behind the scenes—Making a nightmare (1988)—HD, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EUwq9acGB8.

32. D. Moye, Talking Doll Cayla hacked to spew filthy things, Huffington Post, Sept. 2015.

33. N. Oakley, My Friend Cayla doll can be HACKED warns expert—Watch kids' toy quote 50 Shades and Hannibal, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/friend-cayla-doll-can-hacked-5110112.

34. K. Albrecht, L. McIntyre, "Privacy nightmare: When baby monitors go bad", IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 14-19, 2015.

35. K. Goldberg, "Cloud Robotics Intro", Talks at Google, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzUXT3_7tWc.

36. K. Darling, Kate Darling on near-term ethical legal and societal issues in robotics, Berkman Centre, Sept. 2015.

37. Meet Cayla, My Friend Cayla, Sept. 2015, [online] Available: http://myfriendcayla.co.uk/cayla.

Keywords: Cameras, Sensors, Consumer electronics, Motion pictures, Computer crime, YouTube, Context, social aspects of automation, cloud computing, Internet of Things, children toys, high-tech child play, cloud, Internet of Things, embedded sensors, civil infrastructure, computing devices

Citation: Katina Michael, Alexander Hayes, High-Tech Child's Play in the Cloud: Be safe and aware of the difference between virtual and real, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine ( Volume: 5, Issue: 1, Jan. 2016 ), pp. 123 - 128, Date of Publication: 11 December 2015. DOI: 10.1109/MCE.2015.2484878

Digital Wearability Scenarios: Trialability on the Run

Introduction

What happens when experimental technologies are deployed into society by market leaders without much forethought of the consequences on everyday life? When state-based regulations are deliberately ignored by rapid innovation design practices, giving birth to unconventional and radical production, a whole series of impacts play out in real life. One such example is Google's Glass product: an optical head-mounted display unit that is effectively a wearable computer. In early 2013, Google reached out to U.S. citizens asking potential Glass users to send a Twitter message with the #IfIHadGlass hashtag to qualify for consideration and to pay US$1,500 for the product if numbered among the eligible for its early adoption. About 8,000 consumers in the United States allegedly were invited to purchase the Explorer edition of Glass. By April 2013, Google had opened up Glass to its “Innovation in the Open” (I/O) developer community, and by May 2014, they allowed purchases of the product from anywhere in the world.

The early adopters of the open beta product quickly became tech evangelists for the Google brand. As was expected, the touted benefits of Glass, by the self-professed “Glassholes,” were projected as mainstream benefits to society via YouTube and Hangout. Tech-savvy value-added service providers who stood to gain from the adoption and citizens who wished to be recognized as forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, and cool came to almost instantaneous fame. There were, however, only a few dissenting voices that were audible during the trialability phase of diffusion, with most people in society either not paying much attention to “yet another device launch” by Google or ignoring folk who were just geeks working on hip stuff. About the biggest thought people had when confronted by one of these “glasses” in reality was “What's that?” followed by “Are you recording me?” The media played an interesting role in at least highlighting some of the potential risks of the technology, but for the most part, Glass was depicted as a next-generation technology that was here now and that even Australia's own then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard had to try out. Yep, another whiz-bang product that most of us would not dare to live without.

With apparently no limits set, users of Glass have applied the device to diverse contexts, from the operating theater in hospitals to preschools in education and evidence gathering in policing. Yes, it is here, right now. Google claims no responsibility for how its product is applied by individual consumers, and why should they—they're a tech company, right? Caveat emptor! But from the global to the local, Glass has received some very mixed reactions from society at large.

Scenario-Planning Approach

This article focuses on the social-ethical implications of Glass-style devices in a campus setting. It uses secondary sources of evidence to inspire nine short scenarios that depict a plausible “day in the life” of a person possessing a body-worn video camera. A scenario is “an internally consistent view of what the future might turn out to be” [1]. One gleans the current state of technology to map the future trajectory [2, p. 402]. Scenarios allow us two distinct qualities as researchers: 1) an opportunity to anticipate possible and desirable changes to society by the introduction of a new technology known as proactivity and 2) an opportunity to prepare for action before a technology is introduced into the mainstream, known as preactivity [3, p. 8]. While change is inevitable as technology develops and is diffused into society, we should be able to assess possible strategic directions to better prepare for expected changes and, to an extent, unexpected changes. This article aims to raise awareness of the possible social, cultural, and ethical implications of body-worn video recorders. It purposefully focuses on signs of threats and opportunities that body-worn recording devices presently raise in a campus setting such as a university [1, p. 59]. A similar approach was used successfully in [4] with respect to location-based services in 2007.

In February 2013, Katina and M.G. Michael were invited to write an opinion piece about the ethics of wearable cameras for Communications of the ACM (CACM) [5]. Upon the article's acceptance in September of the same year, the CACM editor provided the option of submitting a short video to accompany the article online, to act as a summary of the issues addressed. Encouraged by the University of Wollongong's videographer, Adam Preston from Learning, Teaching and Curriculum, after some initial correspondence on prospective scenarios, it was jointly decided to simulate the Glass experience with a head-mounted GoPro camera [6] and to discuss on camera some of the themes presented in the article within a university campus setting (Figure 1). A few months prior, in June, Katina hosted the International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS13) with wearable pioneer Prof. Steve Mann [7]. Ethics approval for filming the three-day international symposium with a variety of wearable recorders was gained from the University of Wollongong's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) for the University of Toronto-based event. Importantly, it must be emphasized that the scenarios themselves are fictitious in terms of the characters and continuity. They did not happen in the manner stated, but, like a tapestry, they have been woven together to tell a larger story. That story is titled: “Recording on the Run.” Each scenario can be read in isolation, but, when placed side by side with other scenarios, becomes a telling narrative of what might be with respect to societal implications if such recording devices proliferate.

Figure 1. A GoPro device clipped to an elastine headband ready to mount on a user. Photo courtesy of Katina Michael.

Figure 1. A GoPro device clipped to an elastine headband ready to mount on a user. Photo courtesy of Katina Michael.

Having hired the videographer for 2 h to do the filming for CACM, we preplanned a walkthrough on the University of Wollongong's campus (Figure 2). Deniz Gokyer (Figures 3 and 4) was approached to participate in the video to play the protagonist GoPro wearer, as he was engaged in a master's major project on wearables in the School of Information Systems and Technology. Lifelogging Web sites such as Gloggler.mobi that publish point-of-view (POV) video content direct from a mobile device were also used to support claims made in the scenarios. The key question pondered at the conclusion of the scenarios is, how do we deal with the ever-increasing complexity in the global innovation environment that continues to emerge around us with seemingly no boundaries whatsoever? The scenarios are deliberately not interpreted by the authors to allow for debate and discussion. The primary purpose of the article was to demonstrate that body-worn recording products can have some very significant expected and unexpected side effects, additionally conflicting with state laws and regulations and campus-based policies and guidelines.

Figure 2. (a) The making of a short video to discuss the ethical implications of wearable devices for CACM. (b) The simultaneous GoPro view emanating from the user's head-mounted device. Screenshots courtesy of Adam Preston.

Figure 2. (a) The making of a short video to discuss the ethical implications of wearable devices for CACM. (b) The simultaneous GoPro view emanating from the user's head-mounted device. Screenshots courtesy of Adam Preston.

Figure 3. Deniz Gokyer simulating an ATM withdrawal while wearing a GoPro. Photo courtesy of Adam Preston.

Figure 3. Deniz Gokyer simulating an ATM withdrawal while wearing a GoPro. Photo courtesy of Adam Preston.

Figure 4. The aftereffect of wearing a GoPro mounted on an elastic band for 2 h. Photo courtesy of Katina Michael.

Figure 4. The aftereffect of wearing a GoPro mounted on an elastic band for 2 h. Photo courtesy of Katina Michael.

Recording on the Run

Scenario 1: The Lecture

Anthony rushed into his morning lecture on structures some 10 min late. Everyone had their heads down taking copious notes and listening to their dedicated professor as he provided some guidance on how to prepare for the final examination, which was worth 50% of their total mark. Anthony was mad at himself for being late, but the bus driver had not accepted his AUD$20 note in lieu of the Opal Card now available. Prof. Markson turned to the board and began writing the practice equations wildly, knowing that he had so much to get through. Anthony made sure to keep his hands free of anything that would sidetrack him. Instead, he recorded the lecture with a GoPro on his head. Some of the girls giggled in the back row as he probably looked rather stupid, but the laughter soon subsided and everyone got back to work, copying down Markson's examples. At one stage, Markson turned to look at what the giggles were about, made startling eye contact with Anthony, and probably thought to himself: “What's that? Whatever it is, it's not going to help him pass—nothing but calculators are allowed in exam situations.”

Anthony caught sight of Sophie, who motioned for him to go to the back row, but by then, he thought it would probably be better recording from the very front and he would cause less disruption by just sitting there. Markson was a little behind the times when it came to innovation in teaching, but he was a brilliant lecturer and tutor. Anthony thought to himself, if anyone asks for the recording, he would make sure that it would be available to them. The other students took note of the device that was firmly strapped to his head with a band but were somewhat unphased. Anthony had always argued that recording with a GoPro is nothing more than recording with a mobile phone. He surfed a lot at Austinmer Beach, and he thought the video he took of himself on the board was just awesome, even though his girlfriend thought it was vain. It was like a motion selfie.

Scenario 2: The Restroom

It had been one long day, practically like any other, save for the fact that today Anthony had chosen to wear the GoPro on a head-mounted bandana to record his lectures. They were in the serious part of the session, and he wanted to make sure that he had every opportunity to pass. Anthony was so tired from pulling an all-nighter with assessment tasks that he didn't even realize that he had walked into the restroom toward the end of his morning lecture with the device switched on and recording everything in full view. Lucky for him, no one had been accidentally caught on film while in midstream. Instead, as he walked in, he was greeted by someone who was walking out and a second guy who avoided eye contact but likely noticed the camera on Anthony's head from the reflection in the mirror while washing his hands. The third one didn't even care but just kept on doing what he was doing, and the fourth locked his eyes to the camera with rage for a while. They didn't speak, but Anthony could sense what he thought—“what the heck?” Anthony was an attractive young man who sported tattoos and always tried to look different in some way. He hated conformity. Now that he had watched the video to extract the lecture material, he wondered why no one had stopped him to punch the living daylights out of him in the restroom. Anthony had thought people were getting used to the pervasiveness of cameras everywhere—not just in the street and in lecture theaters but also in restrooms and probably soon in their homes as well.

Scenario 3: The Corridor

By this time, Anthony was feeling rather hungry. In fact, he was so hungry that he was beginning to feel very weak. All of those late nights were beginning to catch up now. Sophie demanded that they go eat before the afternoon lecture. As they walked out of the main tower building, they bumped into an acquaintance from the previous session. Oxford, as he was known by his Aussie name, was always polite. The conversation went something like this. “Hello Oxford! How are you?” said Sophie. Oxford replied, “I'm fine, thank you. Good to see you guys!” Sophie quickly pointed to Anthony's head-mounted camera and said, “Oxford, can you believe how desperate Anthony has become? He's even recording his lectures with this thing now!” Oxford, who was surprised, remarked, “Oh yeah. I've never seen one of these before. Are you recording right now, Anthony?” “Yes, I am,” Anthony affirmed, “but to be honest, I completely forgot about it—I'm dreaming about food right now.” Anthony patted his tummy, which was by now making grumbling noises. “Want to come with us to the café near the gymnasium?” Anthony asked.

“He just filmed most of the structures lecture—I'm thinking like, this might be the coolest thing that might stick,” Sophie reflected, ignoring Anthony. “No kidding,” Oxford said, “You're recording me right now? I'm not exactly thrilled about this, but ‘hi,’ for what it's worth.” Oxford waved to the camera and smiled. Sophie interjected, “Oxford, it is not like he's making a movie of you, haha!” Sophie grabbed Oxford's arm to pull it toward her—the jab was signified to make it clear she was joking. But suddenly, things became serious instead of lighter. Oxford continued, “No, I'm not quite good in front of the camera…like I don't like pictures being taken of me or even recordings of my voice. It's probably the way I was raised back home.”

Anthony told Oxford not to worry because he was not looking at him, and so, therefore, nothing but his voice was really being recorded. Little did he realize that was breaking local New South Wales laws, or at least that was what he would find out later in the day when someone from security spotted him on campus. Sophie asked with curiosity, “Do you think someone should ask you if they want to record you on campus?” Oxford thought that was a no brainer—“Of course they should ask. You're wearing this thing on your head, and there's nothing telling people passing by whether you are watching them and recording them. C'mon Anthony, you're a smart guy, you should know this stuff; you're studying engineering, aren't you? We're supposed to be the ones that think of everything before it actually happens. You might as well be a walking CCTV camera.” There was dead silence among the friends. Then Anthony blurted out, “But I'm not watching you; you just happen to be in my field of view.”

Sophie began to consider the deeper implications while Anthony was getting flustered. He wanted to eat, and they were just beginning a philosophical conversation. “C'mon Oxford, come with us, we're starving…and we can talk more at lunch, even though we should be studying.” As they walked, Sophie continued: “It's not like this is the worst form of camera that could be watching. I saw this thing on the news a couple of weeks ago. The cameras are getting tinier; you cannot even see them. The company was called OzSpy, I think, and they're importing cheap stuff from Asia, but I don't think it's legal in every state. The cameras are now embedded in USBs, wristbands, pens, keyfobs, bags, and t-shirts. How do you know you're being recorded with that kind of stuff?” Oxford was beginning to feel uneasy. Anthony felt like taking off the contraption but left it on because he was just too lazy to put the thing back in its box and then back on again in less than 2 h. Oxford confessed again: “I feel uncomfortable around cameras, and it's not because I'm doing anything wrong.” They walked quietly for a few minutes and then got to the café. Sophie pointed to the wall as they queued. “Look up there. It's not like we're not always under surveillance. What's the difference if it is on a building wall versus on someone's head?”

Anthony wished they'd change the subject because it was starting to become a little boring to him. Oxford thoughtfully replied to Sophie, “Maybe it's your culture or something, but I even wave to CCTV cameras because it's only for security to see on campus. But if someone else is recording me, I don't know how he or she will use the footage against me. I don't like that at all. I think if you're recording me to show other people, then I don't think it's okay at all.” Sophie chuckled, “Hey, Oxford, this way Anthony will never forget you even when you have finished your degree and return to Thailand in ten years; when he is rich and famous, he'll remember the good old days.” The truth was that Oxford never wanted to return to Thailand; he liked the opportunities in Australia but added, “Okay, so you will remember me and my voice forever.”

By this time, Anthony was at the front of the queue. “Guys, can we forget about this now? I need to order. Okay, Oxford, I promise to delete it if that makes you feel better.” Oxford said, “No, Anthony, you don't understand me. I don't mind if you keep this for old times sake, but just don't put it on the Internet. I mean don't make it public, that's all. Guys, I just remembered I have to go and return some library books so I don't get a fine. It's been nice chatting. Sorry I cannot stay for lunch. Good luck in your finals—let's catch up and do something after exams.” “Sure thing,” Sophie said. “See ya.” As Oxford left and Anthony ordered food, she exclaimed, “Your hair is going to be great on the video!” Oxford replied, “I know my hair is always great, but this jacket I am wearing is pretty old.” Oxford continued from afar, “Anthony, remind me to wear something nicer next time. Bye now.” Sophie waved as Oxford ran into the distance.

Scenario 4: Ordering at the Cafe

Anthony ordered a cappuccino and his favorite chicken and avocado toastie. The manager, who was in his 50s, asked for Anthony's name to write on the cup. “That will be 10 note and waited for change. “And how are you today?” asked the manager. “I'm fine thanks.” “Yeah, good,” replied the manager, “Okay, see you later, and have a good one.” Anthony muttered, “I'll try.” Next it was Sophie's turn to order. “What's up with him?” asked the café manager. “What's that thing on his head? He looks like a goose.” Sophie cracked up laughing and struck up a conversation with the manager. She was known to be friendly to everyone.

Anthony went to the service area waiting for his cappuccino and toastie. For once, the line was not a mile long. The male attendant asked Anthony, “What's with the camera?” By then, Anthony had decided that he'd play along—sick of feeling like he had to defend himself, yet again. He wasn't holding a gun after all. What was the big deal? He replied, “What's with the camera, mate? Well, I'm recording you right now.” “Oh, okay, awesome,” said the male attendant. Anthony probed, “How do you feel about that?” The male attendant answered, “Well, I don't really like it man.” “Yeah, why not?” asked Anthony, trying to figure out what all the hoo-ha was about. There were CCTV cameras crawling all over campus, and many of them were now even embedded in light fixtures.

“Hey, Josie, Josie—how do you feel about being filmed?” exclaimed the male attendant to the female barista cheekily. “I don't really mind. I always wanted to be an actress when I was little, here's my chance!” “Yeah?!” asked Anthony, in a surprised tone. “Are you filming me right now? Are you going to make me look real good?” laughed the barista in a frisky voice. Anthony smiled and, by then, Sophie had joined him at the service area, a little jealous. “What's this for?” asked Josie. She had worked on campus for a long time and was used to serving all sorts of weirdos. “No reason. I just filmed my structures class. And now, well now, I've just decided to keep the camera rolling.” Josie asked again, “Are you really filming me right now?” Anthony reaffirmed, “Yes.”

Sophie looked on in disbelief. The camera had just become the focal point for flirtation. She wasn't liking it one bit. Josie asked Anthony again, “Why are you filming?” Anthony didn't know why he blurted out what he did but he said, “Umm…to sort of get the reactions of people. Like how they act when they see someone actually recording them.” The male attendant interrupted, “You know what you should do? You should go up to him,” pointing to the manager, “and just stare at him, like just stare him in the face.” “I will, I will,” said Anthony. Egging Anthony on, the male attendant smiled, “Stand in front of the queue there, and just stare at him. He'll love it, he'll love it, trust me. You'd make his day man.” “Hey, where's my cappuccino and toastie?” demanded Anthony. The male attendant handed the food over and got Sophie's food ready too. “And this must be yours.” “Yes,” Sophie replied. The male attendant insisted: “Focus on him now, don't focus on me, all right?” “Yup, ok, see you later. Cheers.” Anthony felt a little diminished; although he was surprised that the barista talked to him for as long as she did, he wasn't about to pick a fight with an old bloke. What he was doing was harmless, he thought; he left the counter to take a seat, but considered switching off the device.

Scenario 5: Finding a Table at the Cafe

Sophie found a table with two seats left in a sunny spot and put her things down. Lack of sleep during exam time meant that everyone generally felt cold. Anthony sat down also. At the large oblong table was a small group of three—two girls and a guy. Sophie went looking for serviettes, as they forgot them at the counter. As soon as Anthony pulled up a chair to sit down, one of the girls got up and said, “And you have a lovely afternoon.” Anthony replied, “Thank you and you too.” Speechless, the other two students at the table picked up whatever was left of their drinks and left not long after. As Sophie returned, she saw the small group leaving and whispered, “Anthony, maybe you should take that thing off. You're getting quite a bit of attention. It's not good. A joke's a joke. Alright, I could cope with the classroom situation, but coming to the café and telling people you're recording. Surely, you are not, right? You're just kidding, right?” “Listen, Sophie, I'm recording you now. The battery pack lasts a while, about an hour, before it needs replacing. I'm going to have to charge the backup during the next lecture.” “Anthony,” Sophie whined, “c'mon, just turn it off.” Anthony acted like he was turning it off reluctantly although he had not. “Now put it away,” Sophie insisted. “No, I'm going to leave it on my head,” Anthony said. “I couldn't be bothered, to tell you honestly. Just don't forget to remind me to turn it back on when we are in class.” “Good,” said Sophie.

By then, two girls asked if they could sit down at the table. “Sure,” said Sophie. The girls were known to Sophie, at the Residence but they merely exchanged niceties. “My name is Klara,” said one of the girls. “And my name is Cygneta,” said the other. “I'm Sophie, and this is my boyfriend Anthony. Nice to finally get to talk to you. That'd be right. Just when we should all be studying, we're procrastinating and socializing.” Anthony was happy for the change of conversation, so he thought.

“I know what that is, Anthony! It's a GoPro,” Cygneta exclaimed. “Sophie, Sophie, I wouldn't let my man carry that thing around on campus filming all those pretty ladies.” Cygneta giggled childishly, and Klara joined her in harmony but did not know anything about the contraption on Anthony's head. Sophie was reminded why she had never bothered approaching Cygneta at the Residence. Those two were inseparable and always too cute—the typical creative arts and marketing students. Sophie retorted, “Well, he's not filming right now. He just filmed the lecture we were in.” Anthony made Sophie think twice. “How do you know I'm not filming right now?” Sophie said, “Because the counter on the LCD is not ticking.” Cygneta had used a GoPro to film her major project and knew that you could toggle the LCD not to show a counter, sharing this with the group. Sophie didn't like it one bit. It made her doubt Anthony.

Anthony proceeded to ask Klara, “How do you feel when you see someone recording you?” “Yeah, not great. I feel, like, really awkward,” confessed Klara. Then Anthony asked the million dollar question: “What if most people wore a Google Glass on campus and freed themselves of having to carry an iPhone?” Klara at this point was really confused. “Google what?” Sophie repeated, “Google Glass” in unison with Anthony. Shaking her head from side to side, Klara said, “Nah, I'm not into that kind of marketing at all.” “But it's the perfect marketing tool to gather information,” considered Anthony. “Maybe you're going to start using it one day as well? Don't you think?” Klara looked at Sophie and Anthony and replied, “What do you mean? Sorry?” Anthony repeated, “Do you reckon you're gonna be using Google Glass in a couple of years?” Klara turned to Cygneta for advice. “What in the world is Google Glass? It sounds dangerous?” Anthony explained, “It's a computer that you can wear as glasses. But it's a computer at the same time.” Klara let out a sigh. “I had no idea that even existed, and I think I'm a good marketing student and on top of things.”

By this stage, Sophie was feeling slighted and decided to finish her food, which was now cold. Anthony, caught off guard by Klara's lack of awareness, reaffirmed, “So you don't reckon you'd be wearing glasses that can record and works as a phone or a headband capable of reading brain waves?” Cygneta said, “Probably not,” and Klara also agreed, “No. I like my phone just fine. At least I can choose when I want to switch it off. Who knows what could happen with these glasses? It's a bit too out there for me. That stuff's for geeks, I think. And anyway, there's nothing interesting in my life to capture—just one big boring stream of uni, work, and home.”

Sophie pointed out an interesting fact: “Hey girls, did you know that there's no law in Australia that forbids people from video recording others in public? If it's happening out on the street, then it ain't private.” Cygneta replied, “Yeah I heard this news the other day; one of the ministers was caught on video heavily cursing to another minister when he was listening to his speech. He was waiting for his turn to give a speech of his own, apparently, and he didn't even notice someone was recording him. What an idiot!”

Sophie asked Anthony to accompany her to the bank. Lunch was almost over, and the lecture was now less than an hour away. The pair had not studied, although at the very next table was a group of six buried in books from the structures class. Klara and Cygneta went to order a meal at the café and said goodbye. Anthony reluctantly got up from the table and followed Sophie to the study group. Sophie bravely asked, “Anyone got any solutions yet to the latest practice questions?” People looked up, and the “little master,” who was codenamed for his genius, said, “Not yet.” None of the other engineering students, mostly of Asian background, could even care less about the camera mounted on Anthony's head. Sophie found this disturbing and startling. She immediately thought about those little drones being developed and how men seemed to purchase these toys way more than any woman she knew. Who knows what the future would hold for humankind, she thought. Maybe the guys would end up loving their machines so much they'd forget spending time with real people! Sophie liked the challenge of engineering, but it was at times strange to be in a room full of guys.

The power to exclude, delete, or misrepresent an event is with the wearer and not the passive passerby.

Scenario 6: A Visit to the C.A.B. Bank

Sophie was beginning to really tire of the GoPro shenanigans. She asked Anthony to wait outside the bank since he would not take off the contraption. Sophie was being pushed to the limit. Stressed out with exams coming up and a boyfriend who seemed preoccupied with proving a point, whatever that point was, she just needed things to go smoothly at the bank. Luckily this was the less popular bank on campus, and there was hardly anyone in it. Sophie went right up to the attendant but called out for Anthony to help her with her bag while she rummaged in her handbag for her driver's license. Anthony sat down on one of the sitting cubes and, looking up, realized he was now in the “being recorded” position in the bank himself. One attendant left the bank smiling directly into the camera and at Anthony. He thought, “How's that for security?” The third teller leaned over the screen and asked Anthony, “Is there anything we can help you with?” Anthony said, “I'm waiting for my girlfriend,” which seemed to appease the teller too easily.

It was now time for Sophie to withdraw money at the teller. Anthony really didn't mind because Sophie was always there to support him, no matter how long it took. They reflected that they had not more than 30 min left to do a couple more errands, including visit the ATM and go to the library. There were four people in the queue at the ATM. Anthony grabbed Sophie's hand and whispered in her ear, “Sophie, do you realize something? If I was recording right now, I'd be able to see all the PIN numbers of all the people in front of us.” Sophie shushed Anthony. “You're going to get us in trouble today. Enough's enough.” “No really, Sophie, we've got to tell security. They're worried about tiny cameras looking down and skimming devices, but what about the cameras people are wearing now?” Sophie squeezed Anthony's hand—“Anthony, you are going to get us in serious trouble. And this is not the time to be saving the world from cybercriminals.” Anthony moved away from the queue, realizing that his face was probably being recorded on CCTV. The last thing he ever wanted was to be in trouble. He went to instantly budge the GoPro off his head; it was becoming rather hot even though it had been a cool day, and it was beginning to feel uncomfortable and heavy on his back and neck muscles. By the time he could get his act together, Sophie had made her transaction and they were hurriedly off to the library just before class.

Scenario 7: In the Library

As they rushed into the library to get some last-minute resources, Anthony and Sophie decided to split up. Sophie was going to the reserved collection to ask for access to notes that the special topics lecturer had put on closed reserve, and Anthony was going to do some last-minute bibliographic searches for the group assignment that was due in a few days. Why was it that things were always crammed into the last two weeks of the session? How on earth was any human being able to survive those kinds of demands? Anthony grabbed Sophie's bag and proceeded to the front computers. It was packed in the library because everyone was trying to do their final assignments. As Anthony hovered behind the other students, he remembered the shoulder-surfing phenomenon he had considered at the ATM. It was exactly the same. Anthony made sure not to look forward. As soon as there was an empty computer, he'd be next. He conducted some library searches standing up and then spotted two guys moving away from a sit-down desk area. Given all the stuff he was carrying, he thought he'd ask the guys nearby if they had finished. They said yes and tried to vacate the space as fast as they could, being courteous to Anthony's needs. By this time, Anthony was also sweating profusely and had begun to look stressed out.

The cameras are now embedded in USBs, wristbands, pens, keyfobs, bags, and t-shirts.

Anthony dumped his stuff on the ground, and the shorter of the two men said, “Are you wearing a camera on your head?” Anthony muttered to himself, “Oh no, not again.” Had he been able to take the device off his head effortlessly, he would have. After wearing it for over 2 h straight, it had developed an octopus-like suction to his forehead. “Yeah, yeah, it's a camera.” This camera had brought him nothing but bad luck all day. Okay, so he had taped most of the first lecture in the morning, but it had not been any good since. Sophie was angry with him over the café discussions, Oxford was not interested in being filmed without his knowledge, and Anthony's shoulders were really starting to ache and he was developing a splitting headache. “You guys would not happen to be from civil engineering?” Anthony asked in the hope that he and Sophie might get some hints for the forthcoming group assignment. “Nah, we're from commerce.” Both men walked away after saying goodbye, and Anthony was left to ponder. Time was running out quickly, so he left his things where they were and decided to go to the desk and ask for help directly.

“Hello, I am wondering if you would be willing to help me. My name is Anthony, and I am doing research on…” The librarian studied Anthony's head closely. “Umm…can I just ask what's happening here? Please tell me you are not recording this conversation,” asked the librarian politely. “What?” said Anthony, completely oblivious to the camera mounted on his head. He then came to his senses. “Oh that? That's just a GoPro. I've not got it on. See?” He brought his head nearer to the librarian, who put on her glasses. “Now, I'm looking for…” “I'm sorry, young man, I'm going to have to call down the manager on duty. You just cannot come into the library looking like that. In fact, even onto campus.”

Anthony felt like all of his worst nightmares were coming true. He felt like running, but his and Sophie's belongings were at the cubicle and besides, the library security CCTV had been recording for the last few minutes. His parents would never forgive him if anything jeopardized his studies. Sophie was still likely photocopying in closed reserve. What would she think if she came out to be greeted by all this commotion? The manager of “The Library”—oh he felt a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Anthony knew he had done nothing wrong, but that was not the point at this time. The librarian seemed less informed than even he was of his citizen rights, and while she was on the phone, hurriedly trying to get through to the manager, Sophie returned with materials.

“Where are our bags? My laptop is in there Anthony.” Anthony signaled over to the cubicle, didn't go into details, and asked Sophie to return to the desk to do some more searches while he was with the librarian. Surprisingly, she complied immediately given the time on the clock. Anthony was relieved. “Look,” he said to the librarian, “I am not crazy, and I know what I am doing is legal.” She gestured to him to wait until she got off the phone. “Right-o, so the manager's at lunch, and so I'll have to have a chat with you. First and foremost, when you're taking footage of the students, you need permission and all that sort of thing. I'm just here to clarify that to you.” “Look, umm, Sue, I'm not recording right now, so I guess I can wear whatever I want and look as stupid as I want so long as I'm not being a public nuisance.” “Young man, can I have your student ID card please?” Anthony claimed he did not have one with him, but was trying to avoid returning back to where Sophie was to get hit with even more questions. Anthony proceeded by providing the librarian his full name.

“Well, Anthony Fielding, it is against university policy to go around recording people in a public or private space,” stated the librarian firmly. Anthony, by now, had enough. “Look, Sue, for the second time, I've not recorded anyone in the library. I did record part of my lecture today with this device. It is called a GoPro. Why hasn't anyone but me heard about it?” “Well we have heard of Google Glass here, and we know for now, we don't want just anyone waltzing around filming indiscriminately. That doesn't help anyone on campus,” the librarian responded. “Okay, based on my experience today, I know you are right,” Anthony admitted. “But can you at least point me toward a library policy that clearly stipulates what we can and cannot do with cameras? And why is this kind of camera one that you're alarmed about rather than a more flexible handheld one like this one?” Anthony pulled out his iPhone 6. The librarian seemed oblivious to what Anthony was trying to argue. Meanwhile, Anthony glanced over to Sophie half-smiling, indicating they will have to make a move soon by pointing at his watch and then the exit.

“Look, I know you mean well. But…” Anthony was interrupted again by the librarian. “Anthony Fielding, it is very important you understand what I am about to tell you; otherwise you might end up getting yourself in quite a bit of trouble. If you're recording students, you actually have to inform the student and ask if it's okay, because quite a lot of them are hesitant about being filmed.” Anthony retorted, “I know, I know, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you, but I already told you, I'm not recording…But which policy do you want to refer me to and I'll go and read it, I promise.” The librarian hesitated and murmured behind her computer, “Ah…I'll have to look…look…look and find it for you, but I just…I just know that…” The librarian realized the students were going to be late for a lecture. “Look, if you're right and there is no policy, assuming I've not made an error, then we need to develop one.” “Look, Sue, I don't mean to be rude, but we've already filmed in a lecture theater today. I wouldn't call a public theater, private in any capacity. Sure people can have private conversations in a theater, but they shouldn't be talking about private things unless they want to actively share it during class discussion time.” “Look, that's a bit of a gray area,” the librarian answered. “I think I am going to have to ask security to come over. It's just that I don't think the safety of others is being put first. For starters, you should take that thing off.” Anthony realized that things were now serious. He attempted to take off the band, which was soaking wet from sweat given his latest predicament.

Sophie realized something was wrong when she was walking with the bags back to the information desk. “Anthony, what's happening?” Sophie had a worried look on her face. “I've been asked to wait for security,” said Anthony. “Can you please not worry and just leave for class? I won't feel so bad if you go on without me.” Sophie responded, “Anthony, I told you this thing was trouble—you should have just taken it off—oh Anthony!” “What now?” said Anthony. “Your forehead…are you okay? It's all red and wrinkly and sweaty. Are you feeling okay?” Sophie put her hand on Anthony's forehead and realized he was running a fever. “Look, is this really necessary? My boyfriend has not done anything wrong. He's taken off the device. If you want to see the lecture footage, we'll show you. But really, the guy has to pass this subject. Please can we go to the lecture theater?” The librarian was unequivocally unemotional. Anthony looked at Sophie and she nodded okay and left for class with all the bags. “Please ring me if you need anything, and I'll be here in a flash.” Sophie kissed Anthony goodbye.

Scenario 8: Security on Campus

Moments later, security arrived on the scene. Anthony challenged the security guards and emphasized that he had done nothing wrong. Anthony was escorted back to the security office on campus some 500 m away. At this point, he was told he was not being detained, that simply university security staff were going to have a chat with him. Anthony became deeply concerned when several security staff greeted him at the front desk. They welcomed him inside and asked him to take a seat and whether or not he'd like a cup of coffee.

“Anthony, there have been a spate of thefts on campus of late. We'd like to ask you where you got your GoPro camera.” “Well, it was a birthday present from my older brother a few months ago,” Anthony explained. “He knows I've always made home movies from when I was a youngster, and he thought I might use it to film my own skateboarding stunts.” “Right,” said the police officer, “Could you let me take a look at the serial number at the bottom of the unit?” “Sure,” said Anthony, “and then can I go? I haven't stolen anything.” The security staff inspected the device and checked the serial number against their database, handing it back to Anthony. “Ok, you're free to go now.” “What? And I thought you were going to interrogate me for the footage I took today!”

“Look Anthony, that's a delicate issue. Yeah, under the Surveillance Devices Act, for you to be able to record somebody you need their explicit permission, which is why you'll see wherever we've got cameras we've got signage that states you're being filmed, and even then we've got a strict policy about what we do with the recordings. We can't let anybody view it unless it's police and so on, but it's really strict.” Anthony replied, “What happens when Google Glass begins to proliferate on campus? The GoPro, which will be obvious, won't be what you're looking out for but rather Glass being misused or covert devices.” “Look, security, the way it works at universities is that you are concerned with the here and now. I can't predict what will happen in about three months' time, right?” At this point Anthony was thinking about his lecture and how he was running late, yet again, however, this time through no fault of his own.

“Is she with you?” asked the security manager. “Who do you mean?” questioned Anthony. “That young lady over there,” the manager replied, pointing through the screen door. “Oh, that's my girlfriend, Sophie. I reckon she was worried about me and came to see what was going on.” Sophie had her iPhone out and was recording the goings on. Anthony just had to ask, “Am I right? Is my girlfriend allowed to do that? She isn't trespassing. The university campus is a public space for all to enjoy.” The security manager replied, “Actually, she's recording me, but she's not really allowed to do that without giving me some sort of notification. We might have cameras crawling all over this campus for student and staff safety, but our laws state if people don't want to be recorded, then you should not be recording them. On top of this, you would probably realize that when you walk around the campus in large areas like the walkways, they're actually facing the road, they're not facing people. So yes, you need permission for what she's doing there or adequate signage explaining what is going on.”

Sophie put the phone down and knocked on the door. “Can I come inside?” “Of course you can,” said the security manager. “Join the party!” “Anthony, Prof. Gabriel is asking for you; otherwise, he'll count you absent and you won't get your 10% participation mark for the session. I told him I knew where you were. If we get back within 15 min, you're off the hook.” “Hang on Sophie,” Anthony continued, “I'd like to solve this problem now to avoid any future misunderstandings. After all, I'm about to enter the classroom and record it for my own learning and progress. What do you think? Is that against the law?” Anthony asked the security manager. The security manager pondered for a long while. “Look, we get lots and lots of requests asking us to investigate the filming of an individual; we take that very seriously. But there is no law against that taking place in a public space.” “Is a lecture theater a public space?” Anthony prompted. The security manager replied, “I think you should be allowed to use headmounted display video cameras if it's obvious what you're doing and unless a bystander asks you to cease recording. The lecture rooms are open and are usually mixed with the reception areas, which makes them public areas; so if you want to gain access to the room, obviously you can because it's a public area. You don't have to use a swipe card to get in, you see. But then there are still things that you can't do in a public area, like you can't ride a bicycle in there; or if someone is giving a lecture, you can't interrupt the lecture. That sort of thing.”

Anthony started speaking from the experience of his day. “I was queueing in front of the ATM today, and I realized that I could easily see the activities of the people in front of me and the same in the library. When I hover around somebody's computer, I can see their screen and what they're up to on the Internet. It bothered even me after my experience today; unintentionally I'm seeing someone's ATM PIN number, I'm seeing someone searching on Google about how to survive HIV, which is personal and highly sensitive private stuff. No one should be seeing that. I just wore my GoPro to record my lecture for study purposes, but these kinds of devices in everyday life must be very disturbing for the people being recorded. That's why I'm curious what would happen on campus.” The security manager interrupted, “We already have some policies in place. For example, you can make a video recording, but what are you going to do with it? Are you going to watch it yourself or are you going to e-mail it around? You can't do that using your university e-mail account. You can't download, transfer, or copy videos using university Internet, your university account, or your university e-mail account. Look it up; there are also rules about harassment…It's fairly strict and already organized in that regard. But if you're asking where the university is applying policies, you're asking the wrong people because we don't get involved in policy making. You should be talking to the legal department. We don't make the policies; we just follow the procedures. Every citizen of this nation also has to abide by state and federal laws.”

The explanation satisfied Anthony. He realized that the security manager was not the person to talk to for any further inquiries. “Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions; you've been very helpful,” Anthony said as he headed to the door to attend his class with Sophie. He did need that 10% attendance mark from Prof. Gabriel if he wanted to be in the running for a Distinction grade.

Scenario 9: Sophie's Lecture

After their last lecture together, Anthony was happy thinking he was almost done for the day and he would be heading back home but Sophie had one more hour of tutorial. Anthony walked Sophie to her last tutorial's classroom. “C'mon Anthony, it'll only take half an hour tops. After this class, we can leave together; bear with it for just a while,” Sophie insisted. “Okay,” said Anthony; his mind was overflowing with the thought of the final exams and questions raised in his mind by his unique experience with the GoPro all day.

They arrived a few minutes late. Sophie quietly opened the door as Anthony walked in behind her. The lecturer took a glimpse of Anthony with the GoPro on his head. The lecturer asked Anthony, “Are you in this class?” “No, I'm just with a friend,” replied Anthony as he was still trying to walk in and take a seat. “Okay and you're wearing a camera?” “Yeah?!” Anthony replied, confused by the tone of the lecturer. “Take it off!” the lecturer exclaimed. “You don't have permission to wear a camera in my class!” Silence fell over the classroom. As the lecturer's tone became more aggravated, everyone stopped, trying to understand what was going on. “Ok, but it's not…” The lecturer refused to hear any explanation. “You're not supposed to interrupt my class, and you're not supposed to be wearing a camera, so please take the camera off and leave the class!”

Anthony saw no point in explaining himself and left the class. Sophie, in shock, followed Anthony outside to check up on him and make sure he was all right. “Oh Anthony, I don't know how many times I told you to take it off all day…Are you ok?” Anthony was shocked as well. “I don't understand why he got so upset.” Anthony was facing the lecture theater's glass door; it opened and the lecturer stepped out and asked, “Excuse me, are you filming inside the class?” “Professor…” Anthony tried to say he was sorry for the trouble and that he wasn't even recording. “No! Were you filming inside the class?” the lecturer asked again. “I'm sorry if I caused you trouble, professor, the camera is not even on.” The professor, angry at both of them for interrupting his class with such a silly incident, asked them to leave and returned to the lecture theater. Sophie was surprised. “He's a very nice person; I don't understand why he got so upset.” Anthony's shock turned into anger. “I thought this was a public space and I don't think there's any policy that forbids me to record the lecture! Couldn't he at least say it nicely? You get back in, I'll see you after your class, and meanwhile I'll take this darn thing off.” Anthony kissed Sophie goodbye and left for the library without the GoPro on his head.

Conclusion

Wearable computers—digital glasses, watches, headbands, armbands, and other apparel that can lifelog and record visual evidence—tell you where you are on the Earth's surface and how to navigate to your destination, alert you of your physical condition (heart and pulse rate monitors), and even inform you when you are running late to catch a plane, offering rescheduling advice. These devices are windows to others through social networking, bridges to storage centers, and, even on occasion, companions as they listen to your commands and respond like a personal assistant. Google Glass, for instance, is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that acts on voice commands like “take a picture” and allows for hands-free recording. You can share what you see live with your social network, and it provides directions right in front of your eyes. Glass even syncs your deadlines with speed, distance, and time data critical to forthcoming appointments.

The slim-line Narrative Clip is the latest gadget to enter the wearable space.

But Google is not alone. Microsoft was in the business of lifelogging more than a decade ago with its SenseCam device, which has now been replaced by the Autographer. Initially developed to help those suffering with dementia as a memory aid, the Autographer takes a 5-mp picture about 2,000 times a day and can be replayed in fast-forward mode in about 5 min. It is jam-packed with sensors that provide a context for the photo including an accelerometer, light sensor, magnetometer, infrared motion detector, and thermometer as well as a GPS chipset. The slim-line Narrative Clip is the latest gadget to enter the wearable space. Far less obtrusive than Glass or Autographer, it can be pinned onto your shirt, takes a snapshot every 30 s, and is so lightweight that you quickly forget you are even wearing it.

These devices make computers part of the human interface. But what are the implications of inviting all this technology onto the body? We seem to be producing innovations at an ever-increasing rate and expect adoption to match that cycle of change. But while humans have limitations, technologies do not. We can keep developing at an incredible speed, but there are many questions about trust, privacy, security, and the effects on psychological well-being that, if left unaddressed, could have major risks and often negative societal effects. The most invasive feature of all of these wearables, however, is the image sensor that can take pictures in an outward-looking fashion.

The claim is often made that we are under surveillance by CCTV even within leisure centers and change rooms. But having a Glass device, Autographer, or Narrative Clip recording while you are in a private space, like a “public” washroom, provides all sorts of nightmare scenarios. The camera is looking outward, not at you. Those who believe that they will remember to turn off the camera, will not be tempted to keep the camera “rolling,” or will “delete” the data gathered at a later date are only kidding themselves. We can hardly delete our e-mail records, let alone the thousands of pictures or images we take each day. The recording of sensitive data might also increase criminality rather than reduce it. The power to exclude, delete, or misrepresent an event is with the wearer and not the passive passerby. There is an asymmetry here that cannot be rectified unless the passive participant becomes an active wearer themselves. And this is not only unfeasible, but we would argue undesirable. At what point do we say enough is enough?

We are challenging fundamental human rights through the thoughtless adoption of new technologies that are enslaving us to a paradigm of instantaneous reality-TV-style living. We are seduced into providing ever more of our personal selves without any concerns for the protection of our personal data. Who owns the data emanating from these devices if the information is stored somewhere other than the device itself? Does that mean I lose my capacity to own my own set of histories relating to my physiological characteristics as they are sold on to third-party suppliers? Who will return my sense of self after I have given it away to someone else? We need to face up to these real and proportional matters because they not only have lawful implications but implications for our humanity.

IEEE Keywords: Wearable computing, Market research, Product design, Product development, Consumer behavior,Supply and demand, Digital computers, Google, Marketing and sales

References

[1] M. Lindgren and H. Bandhold, Scenario Planning: The Link Between Future and Strategy. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, p. 22. 

[2] S. Inayatullah, “Humanity 3000: A comparative analysis of methodological approaches to forecasting the long-term,” Foresight, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 401–417, 2012. 

[3] M. Godet, “The art of scenarios and strategic planning,” Technol. Forecast. Social Change, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 3–22, 2000. 

[4] L. Perusco and K. Michael, “Control, trust, privacy, and security: Evaluating location-based services,” IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 4–16, 2007. 

[5] K. Michael and M. G. Michael. (2013). No limits to watching. Commun. ACM. [Online]. 56(11), 26–28. Available: http://cacm.acm.org/ magazines/2013/11/169022-no-limits-to-watching/abstract 

[6] Y. Gokyer, K. Michael, and A. Preston. Katina Michael discusses pervasive video recording in the accompaniment to “No Limits to Watching” on ACM’s vimeo channel. [Online]. Available: http://vimeo. com/77810226 

[7] K. Michael. (2013). Social implications of wearable computing and augmediated reality in every day life. In Proc. IEEE Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS13), Toronto,

INSPEC: wearable computers, helmet mounted displays, innovation management, wearable computer, digital wearability scenarios, experimental technologies, market leaders, state-based regulations, innovation design practices, radical production, Google Glass product, optical head-mounted display unit

Citation:  Deniz Gokye, Katina Michael, Digital Wearability Scenarios: Trialability on the run, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Year: 2015, Volume: 4, Issue: 2, pp. 82-91, DOI: 10.1109/MCE.2015.2393005 

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.

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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