Heaven and Hell: Visions for Pervasive Adaptation

Abstract

With everyday objects becoming increasingly smart and the “info-sphere” being enriched with nano-sensors and networked to computationally-enabled devices and services, the way we interact with our environment has changed significantly, and will continue to change rapidly in the next few years. Being user-centric, novel systems will tune their behaviour to individuals, taking into account users’ personal characteristics and preferences. But having a pervasive adaptive environment that understands and supports us “behaving naturally” with all its tempting charm and usability, may also bring latent risks, as we seamlessly give up our privacy (and also personal control) to a pervasive world of business-oriented goals of which we simply may be unaware.

1. Visions of pervasive adaptive technologies

This session considered some implications for the future, inviting participants to evaluate alternative utopian/dystopian visions of pervasive adaptive technologies. It was designed to appeal to anyone interested in the personal, social, economic and political impacts of pervasive, ubiquitous and adaptive computing.

The session was sponsored by projects from the FET Proactive Initiative on Pervasive Adaptation (PerAda), which targets technologies and design methodologies for pervasive information and communication systems capable of autonomously adapting in dynamic environments. The session was based on themes from the PerAda book entitled “This Pervasive Day”, to be published in 2011 by Imperial College Press, which includes several authors from the PerAda projects, who are technology experts in artificial intelligence, adaptive systems, ambient environments, and pervasive computing. The book offers visions of “user heaven” and “user hell”, describing technological benefits and useful applications of pervasive adaptation, but also potential threats of technology. For example, positive advances in sensor networks, affective computing and the ability to improve user-behaviour modeling using predictive analytics could be offset by results that ensure that neither our behaviour, nor our preferences, nor even our feelings will be exempt from being sensed, digitised, stored, shared, and even sold. Other potentially undesirable outcomes to privacy, basic freedoms (of expression, representation, demonstration etc.), and even human rights could emerge.

One of the major challenges, therefore, is how to improve pervasive technology (still in its immature phase) in order to optimise benefits and reduce the risks of negative effects. Increasingly FET research projects are asked to focus on the social and economic impacts of science and technology, and this session aimed to engage scientists in wider issues, and consider some of the less attractive effects as well as the benefits from pervasive adaptation. Future and emerging technology research should focus on the social and economic impacts of practical applications. The prospect of intelligent services increasingly usurping user preferences as well as a certain measure of human control creates challenges across a wide range of fields.

2. Format

The networking session took the form of a live debate, primed by several short “starter” talks by “This Pervasive Day” authors who each outlined “heaven and hell” scenarios. The session was chaired by Ben Paechter, Edinburgh Napier University, and coordinator of the PerAda coordination action. The other speakers were as follows:

Pervasive Adaptation and Design Contractualism.

Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London, UK, editor of “This Pervasive Day”.

This presentation described some of the new channels, applications and affordances for pervasive computing and stressed the need to revisit the user-centric viewpoint of the domain of Human-Computer Interaction. In dealing with the issues of security and trust in such complex systems, capable of widespread data gathering and storage, Pitt suggested that there is a requirement for Design Contractualism, where the designer makes moral and ethical judgments and encodes them in the system. No privacy or security model is of any value if the system developers will not respect the implicit social contract on which the model depends.

Micro-chipping People, The Risk vs Reward Debate

Katina Michael, University of Wollongong, Australia

Michael discussed the rise of RFID chip implantation in people as a surveillance mechanism, making comparisons with the CCTV cameras that are becoming commonplace in streets and buildings worldwide. These devices are heralding in an age of “Uberveillance”, she claims, with corporations, governments and individuals being increasingly tempted to read and record the biometric and locative data of other individuals. This constant tracking of location and monitoring of physical condition raises serious questions concerning security and privacy that researchers will have to face in the near future.

Who is more adaptive: the technology or ourselves?

Nikola Serbedzija, Fraunhofer FIRST, Germany

Serbedzija discussed how today's widespread information technologies may be affecting how we are as humans. We are now entering a world where information is replacing materiality, and where control over our individual data allows us to construct ourselves as we wish to be seen by others. Serbedzija then presented examples of research into ethically critical systems, including a reflective approach to designing empathetic systems that use our personal, physical data to assist us in our activities, for example as vehicle co-driving situations.

3. Conclusion

Following the presentations, the discussion was opened out and panellists answered questions from conference delegates. This was augmented by the use of a “tweet wall” which was open to delegates to send comments and opinions using a Twitter account. This was displayed on screen during the discussion session.

Keywords: Pervasive adaptation, ubiquitous computing, sensor networks, affective computing, privacy, security

Citation: Ben Paechter, Jeremy Pitt, Nikola Serbedzija, Katina Michael, Jennifer Willies, Ingi Helgasona, 2011, "Heaven and Hell: Visions for Pervasive Adaptation", Procedia Computer Science: The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition 2011, Vol. 7, pp. 81-82, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2011.12.025

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

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

Abstract

6c89c-social-networking-informatics.jpg

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

Section 1. Introduction

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

Section 2. Background

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

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

Section 3. Classification Model

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

Figure 1. Classification Model

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

Section 4. Socio-Technical Network Influences

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

4.1. Definition of Social Informatics

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

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

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

4.2. The Development of Social Informatics

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.3. Examples of Social Informatics Research

Figure 2. Bidirectional Shaping between Context and ICT Design

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

4.4. Social Informatics as a Framework

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

4.4.1. Key Features of Social Informatics Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.5. Justification for Using the Social Informatics Framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

Section 5. Online Social Networking Sites

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

5.1. Purpose, Motivation and Patterns of Use

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

5.1.1. Purpose of Online Social Networking

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

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

5.1.2. Motivation Behind the Use of Online Social Networking

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

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

5.1.3. Patterns of Use of Online Social Networking

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

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

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

5.2. The Effect of Online Social Networking on Interpersonal Relationships

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

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

5.3. Implications of Use- Privacy, Trust and Security

5.3.1. Privacy

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

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

5.3.2. Trust

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

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

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

5.3.3. Security

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

Section 6. Location Based Services

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

6.1. Context of Use of Location Based Services

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

6.2. Implications of Using Location Based Services

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

6.2.1. Trust

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

6.2.2. Control

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

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

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

6.2.3. Security

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

6.2.4. Privacy

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

Section 7. Location Based Social Networking

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

7.1. Disclosure of Location Information

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

7.2. LBSN User Studies

7.2.1. LBSN Studies Based on Perceptions and Closed Environments

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

7.2.2. Semi-Automated and Customizable LBSN Studies

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

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

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

7.2.3. Real-time LBSN Studies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TABLE 2. A List of LBSN Applications [89]

8.1. Trust and Technology

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

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

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

8.2. Social Theory

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

8.2.1. Trust

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

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

8.2.2. Trust and Friendship

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

Section 9. Conclusion

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

References

1. R. Kling, "What is social informatics and why does it matter?", The Information Society, vol. 23, pp. 205-220, 2007.

2. K. Robert, K. Sara, "Internet paradox revisited", Journal of Social Issues, vol. 58, pp. 49-74, 2002.

3. A. Drummond, Teenager missing after Facebook meeting, 14 May 2010.

4. B. Misztal, Trust in Modern Societies - The Serach for the bases of Social Order, Cambridge:Blackwell Publishers, 1998.

5See where your friends are with Google Latitude, February 2009.

6. R. Kling, H. Rosenbaum, "Social informatics in information science: An introduction", Journal of the American Society for Information Science, vol. 49, pp. 1047-1052, 1998.

7. R. Kling, "Social Informatics", Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, pp. 2656-2661, 2003.

8. R. Kling, "Learning About Information Technologies and Social Change: The Contribution of Social Informatics", The Information Society, vol. 16, pp. 217-232, 2000.

9. R. Kling, "Social Informatics: A New Perspective on Social Research about Information and Communication Technologies", Prometheus, vol. 18, pp. 245-264, 2000.

10. D. Mackenzie, D. Mackenzie, "Introductory Essay: The Social Shaping of Technology" in The Social Shaping of Technology, Philadelphia:Open University Press, pp. 2-27, 1999.

11. S. Russell, R. Williams, K. Sorensen, R. Williams, "Social Shaping of Technology: Frameworks Findings and Implications for Policy With Glossary of Social Shaping Concepts" in Shaping Technology Guiding Policy: Concepts Spaces and Tools, Chetenham:Elgar, pp. 37-131, 2002.

12. R. Williams, D. Edge, "The Social Shaping of Technology", Research Policy, vol. 25, pp. 856-899, 1996.

13. S. Sawyer, K. Eschenfelder, "Social informatics: Perspectives examples and trends", Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, vol. 36, pp. 427-465, 2002.

14. R. Kling, L. Covi, "Electronic journals and legitimate media in the systems of scholarly communication", The Information Society, vol. 11, pp. 261-271, 1995. 

15. W. Orlikowski, "Learning from notes: Organizational issues in GroupWare implementation", The Information Society, vol. 9, pp. 237-250, 1993.

16. B. Kahin, J. Keller, Public Access to the Internet, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

17. G. Piccoli, B. Ives, "Trust and the Unintended Effects of Behavior Control in Virtual Teams", MIS Quarterly, vol. 27, pp. 365-395, 2003.

18. S. Sawyer, A. Tapia, "From Findings to Theories: Institutionalizing Social Informatics", The Information Society, vol. 23, pp. 263-275, 2007.

19. O. K. Ngwenyama, A. S. Lee, "Communication Richness in Electronic Mail: Critical Social Theory and the Contextuality of Meaning", MIS Quarterly, vol. 21, pp. 145-167, 1997.

20. S. Hansen, N. Berente, "Wikipedia Critical Social Theory and the Possibility of Rational Discourse", The Information Society, vol. 25, pp. 38-59, 2009.

21. D. Cecez-Kecmanovic, "Doing critical IS research: the question of methodology" in Qualitative Research in Information Systems: Issues and Trends, Hershey:Idea Group Publishing, pp. 141-163, 2001.

22. D. M. Boyd, "Friendster and publicly articulated social networking" in CHI '04 on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vienna, Australia:, 2004.

23. S. Counts, K. E. Fisher, "Mobile Social Networking: An Information Grounds Perspective", Proceedings of the 41st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2008.

24. A. C. Weaver, B. B. Morrison, "Social Networking", Computer, vol. 41, pp. 97-100, 2008.

25. C. Lampe, N. Ellison, C. Steinfield, "A face(book) in the crowd: social Searching vs. social browsing", Proceedings of the 2006 20th Anniversary Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2006.

26. C. Lampe, N. B. Ellison, C. Steinfield, "Changes in use and perception of facebook", Proceedings of the ACM 2008 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, 2008.

27. A. N. Joinson, Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2008.

28. J. T. Hancock, C. L. Toma, "I know something you don't: the use of asymmetric personal information for interpersonal advantage", Proceedings of the ACM 2008 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, 2008.

29. Y.-Y. Ahn, S. Han, Proceedings of the 16th international conference on World Wide Web, 2007.

30. C. N. Chapman, M. Lahav, "International ethnographic observation of social networking sites" in CHI '08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, Florence, Italy:, 2008.

31. R. Arjan, U. Pfeil, P. Zaphiris, "Age differences in online social networking", Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2008.

32. J. Schrammel, C. Kaffel, Tscheligi, "How much do you tell?: information disclosure behavior indifferent types of online communities", Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Communities and technologies, 2009.

33. J. DiMicco, D. R. Millen, "Motivations for social networking at work", Proceedings of the ACM 2008 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, 2008.

34. M. M. Skeels, J. Grudin, "When social networks cross boundaries: a case study of workplace use of facebook and linkedin", Proceedings of the ACM 2009 international conference on Supporting group work, 2009.

35. I. Liccardi, A. Ounnas, "The role of social networks in students' learning experiences" in Working group reports on ITiCSE on Innovation and technology in computer science education, Dundee, Scotland:, 2007.

36. S. Bystein, J. Rose, "The Role of Social Networking Services in eParticipation", Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Electronic Participation, 2009.

37. R. M. Beth, M. C. John, "wConnect: a facebook-based developmental learning community to support women in information technology", Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Communities and technologies, 2009.

38. J. Donath, D. Boyd, "Public displays of connection", BT Technology Journal, vol. 22, pp. 71-82, 2004.

39. D. Boyd, "Reflections on Friendster Trust and Intimacy", Ubiquitous Computing Workshop application for the Intimate Ubiquitous Computing Workshop, 2003.

40. C. Dwyer, "Digital Relationships in the “MySpace” Generation: Results From a Qualitative Study", Proceedings of the 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2007.

41. H. Chun, H. Kwak, "Comparison of online social relations in volume vs interaction: a case study of cyworld", Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGCOMM conference on Internet measurement, 2008.

42. N. Ellison, C. Steinfield, C. Lampe, "The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students Use of Online Social Network Sites", Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 12, pp. 1143-1168, 2007.

43. K. Subrahmanyam, P. Greenfield, "Online communication and adolescent relationships", The Future of Children, vol. 18, pp. 119-128, 2008.

44. R. Gross, A. Acquisti, "Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social Networks", Workshop on Privacy in Electronic Society, 2005.

45. J. Snyder, D. Carpenter, " MySpace.com - A Social Networking Site and Social Contract Theory ", Information Systems Education Journal, vol. 5, pp. 3-11, 2007.

46. C. Dwyer, S. Hiltz, Passerini, "Trust and privacy concern within social networking sites: A comparison of Facebook and MySpace", Proceedings of the Thirteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), 2007.

47. D. Rosenblum, "What Anyone Can Know: The Privacy Risks of Social Networking Sites", IEEE Security & Privacy, vol. 5, pp. 40-49, 2007.

48. M. Mohammad, C. O. Paul, "Privacy-enhanced sharing of personal content on the web", Proceeding of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web, 2008.

49. S. Katherine, L. H. Richter, "Strategies and struggles with privacy in an online social networking community", Proceedings of the 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference on HCI 2008: People and Computers XXII: Culture Creativity Interaction, vol. 1, 2008.

50. A. Levin, M. Foster, The Next Digital Divide: Online Social Network Privacy, 2008.

51. J. Golbeck, U. Kuter, "The Ripple Effect: Change in Trust and Its Impact Over a Social Network", Computing with Social Trust, pp. 169-181, 2009.

52. C. James, L. Ling, "Socialtrust: tamper-resilient trust establishment in online communities", Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE-CS joint conference on Digital libraries, 2008.

53. S. Gambi, W. Reader, "The Development of Trust in Close Friendships Formed within Social Network Sites", Proceedings of the WebSci'09: Society On-Line, 2009.

54. L. Bilge, T. Strufe, Balzarotti, Kirda, "All your contacts are belong to us: automated identity theft attacks on social networks", Proceedings of the 18th international conference on World wide web, 2009.

 55. G. Kaupins, R. Minch, "Legal and ethical implications of employee location monitoring", International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, vol. 2, pp. 16-20, 2006.

56. G. D. Smith, "Private eyes are watching you: with the implementation of the E-911 mandate who will watch every move you make? (Telecommunications Act of 1996: Ten Years Later Symposium)", Federal Communications Law Journal, vol. 58, pp. 705-721, 2006.

57. E. Troshynski, C. Lee, Dourish, "Accountabilities of presence: reframing location-based systems", Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2008.

58. C. Strawn, "Expanding The Potential for GPS Evidence Acquisition", Small Scale Digital Device Forensics Journal, vol. 3, pp. 1-12, 2009.

59. Y. Xiao, B. Shen, "Security and Privacy in RFID and application in telemedicine", IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 44, pp. 64-72, 2006.

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

61. B. Brown, A. Taylor, "Locating Family Values: A Field Trial of the {Whereabouts} Clock", UbiComp 2007, 2007.

62. L.-D. Chou, N.-H. Lai, Y.-W. Chen, Y.-J. Chang, L.-F. Huang, W.-L. Chiang, H.-Y. Chiu, J.-Y. Yang, "Management of mobile social network services for families with Developmental Delay Children", 10th International Conference on e-health Networking Applications and Services: HealthCom 2008, 2008.

63. D. J. Glasser, K. W. Goodman, "Chips tags and scanners: Ethical challenges for radio frequency identification", Ethics and Information Technology, vol. 9, pp. 101-109, 2007.

64. L. Nan, C. Guanling, "Analysis of a Location-Based Social Network", International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, 2009.

65. X. Page, A. Kobsa, "The Circles of Latitude: Adoption and Usage of Location Tracking in Online Social Networking", International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, 2009.

66. M. G. Michael, S. J. Fusco, K. Michael, "A Research Note on Ethics in the Emerging Age of überveillance", Computer Communications, vol. 31, pp. 1192-1199, 2008.

67. L. Perusco, K. Michael, "Humancentric applications of precise location based services", International Conference on eBusiness Engineering, 2005.

68. J. Weckert, "Trust and monitoring in the workplace", IEEE Symposium on Technology and Society, 2000.

69. G. Borriello, "RFID: tagging the world", Communications of the ACM, vol. 48, pp. 34-37, 2005.

70. J. E. Dobson, P. F. Fisher, "Geoslavery", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, vol. 22, pp. 47-52, 2003.

71. P. Joore, "Social aspects of location-monitoring systems: the case of Guide Me and of My-SOS", Social Science Information, vol. 47, pp. 253-274, 2008.

72. J. E. Dobson, P. F. Fisher, "The Panopticon's Changing Geography", The Geographical Review, vol. 97, pp. 307-323, 2007.

73. E. M. Dowdell, "You are here! Mapping the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment with GPS technology", Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, vol. 32, pp. 109-131, 2005.

74. V. Lockton, R. Rosenberg, "RFID: The Next Serious Threat to Privacy", Ethics and Information Technology, vol. 7, pp. 221-231, 2005.

75. S. L. Garfinkel, A. Juels, "RFID Privacy: An Overview of Problems and Proposed Solutions", IEEE Security and Privacy, pp. 34-43, 2005.

76. M. Gadzheva, "Privacy concerns pertaining to location-based services", International Journal of Intercultural Information Management, vol. 1, pp. 49, 2007.

77. J. L. Wang, M. Loui, "Privacy and ethical issues in location-based tracking systems", Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Technology and Society, 2009.

78. L. Barkhuus, A. Dey, "Location-Based Services for Mobile Telephony: a study of user's privacy concerns", Proceedings of the INTERACT 9th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 2003.

79. A. Aloudat, K. Michael, R. Abbas, "Location-Based Services for Emergency Management: A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective", Eighth International Conference on Mobile Business (ICMB 2009), 2009.

80. S. A. Grandhi, Q. Jones, Karam, "Sharing the big apple: a survey study of people place and locatability" in presented at CHI '05 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, Portland, OR:, 2005.

81. S. J. Fusco, K. Michael, M. G. Michael, R. Abbas, "Exploring the Social Implications of Location Based Social Networking: An inquiry into the perceived positive and negative impacts of using LBSN between friends", International Conference on Mobile Business, 2010.

82. L. Barkhuus, "Privacy in Location-Based Services Concern vs. Coolness", HCI 2004 workshop: Location System Privacy and Control, 2004.

83. S. Patil, J. Lai, "Who gets to know what when: configuring privacy permissions in an awareness application", Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2005.

84. S. Consolvo, I. E. Smith, "Location disclosure to social relations: why when & what people want to share", Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2005.

85. L. Humphreys, "Mobile Social Networks and Social Practice: A Case Study of Dodgeball", Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 13, pp. 341-360, 2008.

86. L. Barkhuus, B. Brown, "From awareness to repartee: sharing location within social groups", Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2008.

87. J. Y. Tsai, P. Kelley, "Who's viewed you?: the impact of feedback in a mobile location-sharing application", Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2009.

88. S. Vihavainen, A. Oulasvirta, "I can't lie anymore!”: The implications of location automation for mobile social applications", 6th Annual International Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Networking & Services, 2009.

89. C. Schapsis, Location Based Social Networks Links: A list of Location Based Social Networks, 2010.

90. A. Vasalou, A. Hopfensitz, J. Pitt, "In praise of forgiveness: Ways for repairing trust breakdowns in one-off online interactions", International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol. 66, pp. 466-480, 2008.

91. D. Rousseau, S. Sitkin, "Not So Different After All: A Cross-Discipline View of Trust", Academy of Management Review, vol. 22, pp. 393-404, 1998.

92. R. C. Mayer, J. H. Davis, "An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust", Academy of Management Review, vol. 20, pp. 709-734, 1995.

93. K. Bijlsma-Frankema, A. C. Costa, "Understanding the Trust-Control Nexus", International Sociology, vol. 20, pp. 259-282, 2005.

94. J. D. Lewis, A. Weigert, "Trust as a Social Reality", Social Forces, vol. 63, pp. 967-985, 1985.

Acknowledgments

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

Keywords

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

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

 

 

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

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

Abstract

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

SECTION 1. Introduction

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

SECTION 2. Conceptual Framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION 3. Background: What is Biometrics?

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

SECTION 4. What is Fingerprinting?

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

4.1. Fingerprinting as Applied to Criminal Law

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

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

SECTION 5. What is DNA?

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

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

Figure 2.  A typical DNA sequence

Figure 2. A typical DNA sequence

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

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

5.1. DNA as Applied to Criminal Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION 6. Comparing DNA and Fingerprinting

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

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

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

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

6.1.1. The United States and Other Biometrics

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

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

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

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

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

6.1.2. Britain and DNA

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

6.2. Continuity of Evidence

Table 2. Ways to mitigate the effect of DNA evidence

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION 7. The Difference Between Databases and Databanks

7.1. Of Profiles and Samples

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

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

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

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

7.2. Of Databases and Databanks

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

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

Table 3. The NDNAD database attributes [30]

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

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

SECTION 8. Legal, Ethical and Social Concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION 9. Conclusion

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

SECTION 10. Afterword

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

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15The Innocence Project-Home, 2009, [online] Available: http://www.innocenceproject.org/.

16. N. Rudin, K. Inman, An Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis, London:CRC Press, 2002.

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

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

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

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

21. S. Ireland, "What Authority Should Police Have to Detain Suspects to take Samples?", DNA and Criminal Justice, pp. 80, 1989.

22. I. Feckelton, J. Vernon, B. Selinger, "DNA Profiling: Forensic Science Under the Microscope" in DNA and Criminal Justice, Canberra:, vol. 2, pp. 29, 1989.

23. K. Raina, J. D. Woodward, N. Orlans, J. D. Woodward, N. M. Orlans, P. T. Higgins, "How Biometrics Work", Biometrics, pp. 29, 2002.

24Identity DNA Tests, 2009, [online] Available: http://www.800dnaexam.comlIdentity_dna_tests.aspx.

25Profiling, 2009, [online] Available: http://www.dnacenter.comldna-testing/profiling.html.

26. "Biosciences Federation and The Royal Society of Chemistry", Forensic Use of Bioinformation: A response from the Biosciences Federation and the Royal Society of Chemistry to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, January 2007, [online] Available: http://www.rsc.org/images/ForensicBioinformation_tcm18-77563.pdf.

27. J. C. Nader, "Data bank" in , Prentice Hall's Illustrated Dictionary of Computing, pp. 152, 1998.

28DNA Safeguarding for security and identification, 2009, [online] Available: http://www.dnatesting.comldna-safeguarding/index.php.

29. "The British Academy of Forensic Sciences", response to the Nuffield Bioethics Council Consultation-The Forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues between November 2006 and January 2007, 2007, [online] Available: http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/fileLibrary/pdf/British_Academy-of_Forensic_Sciences.pdf.

30What happens when someone is arrested?, 2009, [online] Available: http://www.genewatch.org/sub-539483.

31. "The Future of Forensic DNA Testing: Predictions of the Research and Development Working Group", National Institute of Justice, 2000.

32. A. Iversen, K. Liddell, N. Fear, M. Hotopf, S. Wessely, "Consent confidentiality and the Data Protection Act", British Medical Journal, vol. 332, pp. 169, 2006.

33. C. McCartney, "The DNA Expansion Programme and Criminal Investigation", The British Journal of Criminology, vol. 46, pp. 175-189, 2006.

34. D. Meyerson, "Why Courts Should Not Balance Rights Against the Public Interest", Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 33, pp. 897, 2007.

35. "Grand Chamber I Case of S. and Marper v. The United Kingdom (Applications nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04) Judgment", European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg, December 2008.

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

Keywords

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abstract

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

1.  Introduction

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

Exhibit 1.1     Manual versus Automatic Identification Techniques

Exhibit 1.1     Manual versus Automatic Identification Techniques

2.  Literature Review

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

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

3.  Method

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

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

4. Towards Ubiquitous Computing

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Social Issues

5.1 Privacy Concerns and Big Brother Fears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.2 Mandatory Proof of Identification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.3 Health Risks

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

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

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

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

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

6. Cultural Issues

6.1 The Net Generation

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

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

6.2 Science Fiction Genre

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.3 Shifting Cultural Values

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.4 Medical Marvels or Human Evolution

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

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

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

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

7 Religious Issues

7.1 The Mark of the Beast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ethical Issues

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

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

8.1 The Prospect of International ID Implants

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

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

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

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

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

8.2 Beyond Chip Implants

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

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

Exhibit 1.5     The Process of Transformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Exhibit 1.6     Marketing Campaigns that Point to the Electrophorus

Exhibit 1.6     Marketing Campaigns that Point to the Electrophorus

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Conclusion

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

10. References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Biographical Note

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

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

The Auto-ID Trajectory - Abstract

Traditionally the approach used to analyse technological innovation focused on the application of the techno-economic paradigm with the production function as its foundation. This thesis explores the rise of the evolutionary paradigm as a more suitable conceptual approach to investigating complex innovations like automatic identification (auto-ID) devices. Collecting and analysing data for five auto-ID case studies, (bar codes, magnetic-stripe cards, smart cards, biometrics and RF/ID transponders), it became evident that a process of migration, integration and convergence is happening within the auto-ID technology system (TS). The evolution of auto-ID is characterised by a new cluster of innovations, primarily emerging through the recombination of existing knowledge. Using the systems of innovation (SI) framework this study explores the dynamics of auto-ID innovation, including organisational, institutional, economic, regulatory, social and technical dimensions. The results indicate that for a given auto-ID innovation to be successful there must be interaction between the various stakeholders within each dimension. The findings also suggest, that the popular idea that several technologies are superseded by one dominant technology in a given selection environment, does not hold true in the auto-ID industry. 

Read More

The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter One Introduction

This thesis is concerned with the automatic identification (auto-ID) industry which first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Auto-ID belongs to that larger sector known as information technology (IT). As opposed to manual identification, auto-ID is the act of identifying a living or nonliving thing without direct human intervention. Of course the process of auto-ID data capture and collection requires some degree of human intervention but the very act of authenticating or verifying an entity can now be done automatically. An entity can possess a unique code indicating personal identification or a group code indicating conformity to a common set of characteristics. Some of the most prominent examples of auto-ID techniques that will be explored in this thesis include bar code, magnetic-stripe, integrated circuit (IC), biometric and radio-frequency identification (RF/ID). The devices in which these techniques are packaged include labels and tags, card technologies, human feature recognition, and implants. Generally the devices are small in size, not larger than that of a standard credit card.

Read More

The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Ten: Conclusion

The principal conclusions from the findings given in chapter nine are threefold. First, that an evolutionary process of development is present in the auto-ID technology system (TS). Incremental steps either by way of technological recombinations or mutations have lead to revolutionary changes in the auto-ID industry- both at the device level and at the application level. The evolutionary process in the auto-ID TS does not imply a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach,[1] rather a model of coexistence where each particular auto-ID technique has a path which ultimately influences the success of the whole industry. The patterns of migration, integration and convergence can be considered either mutations or recombinations of existing auto-ID techniques for the creation of new auto-ID innovations. Second, that forecasting technological innovations is important in predicting future trends based on past and current events. Analysing the process of innovation between intervals of widespread diffusion of individual auto-ID technologies sheds light on the auto-ID trajectory. Third, that technology is autonomous by nature has been shown by the changes in uses of auto-ID; from non-living to living things, from government to commercial applications, and from external identification devices in the form of tags and badges to medical implants inserted under the skin.

Read More