The Socio-Ethical Implications of Implantable Technologies in the Military Sector

The Ninth Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security (SINS16)

Human Factors Series - Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA)

Courtesy of Max Michaud-Shields in "Personal Augmentation – The Ethics and Operational Considerations of Personal Augmentation in Military Operations", Canadian Military Journal (2014)

Courtesy of Max Michaud-Shields in "Personal Augmentation – The Ethics and Operational Considerations of Personal Augmentation in Military Operations", Canadian Military Journal (2014)

Venue: Richard Newton Conference Room, Level 5, Building 193, The University of Melbourne

Date: 12 July 2016

About the RNSA Human Factors Workshop Series

The Social Implications of National Security workshop series began in 2006 funded by the Australian Research Council, Research Network for a Secure Australia. The RNSA funded the workshop until 2012, and spear-headed the “Human Factor Series” for the lifetime of the research network. Its proceedings have been deposited in a variety of key stakeholders, including the National Library, the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data Security in Victoria and the NSW Police Academy libraries of Australia. The workshops have been hosted in Wollongong, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto. There have been representatives from government, industry, defense, emergency services organisations, academia, and society at large at each of the workshops. The "Social Implications of National Security Workshops" were created and convened by Drs Katina Michael and MG Michael since their inception. More here

How to get to the Venue

Richard Newton Conference Room
Level 5, Building 193 Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Wilson Ave
The University of Melbourne

Foot directions:
From the Melbourne University Tram Stop (#1) on Swanston Street, enter the campus at Gate 4 and walk down Monash Road towards the road-about at the end. Once at the round-about, turn left and walk down Wilson Avenue. After approximately 150 metres, the entrance to Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Building 193) will be at the end of the building on your right. Enter at ground level, take the lift to level 5, then exit and turn left to reach the Richard Newton Conference Room.

General Directions to the University of Melbourne campus are available here:

Program Schedule

  • 9.00 AM Registration
    • 9.15 AM Welcome and Introduction, Professor Katina Michael
    • 9.45 AM Keynote Speaker: Human Information Appliance Schema, Professor R.E. Burnett, National Defense University
  • 10.30 AM Morning Tea
    • 11.00 AM NanoTech and the Military: National Threat or National Security? Professor Donna Dulo, Sofia University
    • 11.30 AM Soldier Enhancement, Dr Jai C. Galliot, University of New South Wales
    • 12.00 PM Nanotechnology Regulation for the Brain, Associate Professor Diana Bowman, Arizona State University
  • 12.30 PM Lunch
    • 1.30 PM Implantable Technologies in the Armed Forces: Some International Law Considerations, Dr Rain Liivoja, University of Melbourne
    • 2.00 PM Can Implants Be Weapons Under the Law?Tim McFarland, University of Melbourne
    • 2.30 PM Panel Discussion: Brain Implants in the Military Sector (Includes Professor Marcus Wigan, Mr Lindsay Robertson and Mr Jordan Brown)
    • 3.30 PM Military Insertables – Lessons from Civilian ExperiencesKayla Heffernan, University of Melbourne
  • 4.00 PM Afternoon Tea
  • 6.00 PM Dinner (walk to venue Kaprica - 19 Lincoln Square St, Carlton VIC 3053)

A note from the conveners...

There are 4 conveners of this year's workshop on implantables in the military sector. Professor Katina Michael is joined by honorary Associate Professor Dr MG Michael, Dr Jai Galliot and Dr Rob Nicholls. Katina and MG are colleagues at the University of Wollongong, and Jai and Rob are presently both with the University of New South Wales. Both Jai and Michael have served in various armies and national guards and both have philosophy backgrounds. While Katina and Rob have had a lot of experience with telecommunications regulation. 

This year's workshop theme was initially focused on the topic of implantables in the military sector, and broadened to be more inclusive of nanotechnology for implants and other applicatory functions such as exoskeletons. After a review of available literature on the topic of implantables for military personnel we became convinced that greater discussion was required to bring out the major issues into a public forum.

Human Information Appliance Schema: A Thought Experiment for Tactical, Strategic, and Ethical Contemplation

Title: "Human Information Appliance Schema: A Thought Experiment for Tactical, Strategic, and Ethical Contemplation"

Presenter: R.E. Burnett

Abstract: Jeff Raskin coined the term Information Appliance at Apple Computer in 1978. Martin Libicki advanced the concept of the Battlespace from his 1996 Telemetry of War essay in which our modern notion of netcentric warfare was advanced.  Using these concepts, we incorporate the modern information technology phenomena of everyware and persistent computing toward evolution in new forms of human enhancement. Given that most if not all humans will eventually equate to information devices in persistent computing architectures - we refer to them in this research as Human Information Appliance (HIA). This project is first and foremost a futures oriented product for the purpose of thinking about – in advance - risk and resilience analysis and management for a time that is beginning to feel familiar – if yet to come. We apply the HIA concept in a futures scenario where the arrival of exponential computational speed may produce effects to create novel solutions for human-machine environments/spaces.  This form of human enhancement may also pose significant risk that requires a public ethical analysis toward prescriptive policy work in the present. We seek to focus on one specific activity that is common to national security – homeland security and diplomacy – intelligence – for the purpose of investigating a future scenario where an advanced form of human-machine symbiosis provides extraordinary capability and yet extraordinary risk.  The thought experiment helps us to understand the evolution of this kind of critical infrastructure (intelligence-based information networks). Our purpose here is to think about how to integrate these components as important to the creation of a more resilient and robust system and outcomes in national security information products.  By definition – we are seeking to provide a better understanding of future states of technology and human interface for the purpose of attenuating risk. Our goal is to better understand how to assure resilience in a system where what is human and what is machine is more complicated.  Such a future technological reality faces disruption from interdiction threats to those complex IT infrastructures and potential disruption of another kind to present social ethical norms in our open society. In order to achieve resilience in these national security spaces – we must anticipate threats in advance – now – and to perform analysis in multiple dimensions of scientific – technological – policy – and human ethical areas of this futures scenario in anticipation of the evolution of this kind of human-technology interface. We begin with Libicki (1996) from Orbis and his “Telemetry of War” essay. Next – we incorporate Jeff Raskin’s (Apple Computer 1978) idea of the information appliance applied to modern information technologies and human intelligence operations and attempt to construct a futures scenario of cyborg-based intelligence operations.  We seek to explore human-hardware-software symbiosis solutions to advanced situational awareness and national power for the purpose of better understanding the complexity of these future national security IT critical infrastructures. Last, we compare this information systems example against an information system that is based upon a genetic technology for the purpose of examining similarities and differences in science and engineering and importantly in politics and policy.

Biography: R.E. Burnett is Associate Dean of Academics – Faculty and Professor of International Security Studies at National Defense University. He is an analyst and theoretician in the field of emerging technologies who has recently been a featured speaker and researcher to the National Intelligence Council’s science and technology committee. In 2015, Dr. Burnett was invited by the Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) to give the Keynote Lecture on Humans and Autonomous Systems to the Emerging Disruptive Technologies Assessment Symposium at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He also was the Plenary Speaker at a conference at the University of Melbourne. His recent publications include a chapter on UAVs and ubiquitous networks in Command and Control: Tools, Systems, and New Dimensions, Lexington/Rowan Books, 2015 and his work on the evolution of human-machine symbiosis for advanced situational awareness in intelligence and combat spaces was featured in the IEEE Technology & Society Magazine and Homeland Security Review in 2013. Dr. Burnett has conducted research and analysis for the National Intelligence Council, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Joint Military Intelligence College, and the Homeland Security and National Defense Education Consortium. He has also been an active defense community expert in the UAV policy community through the IEEE society in the United States and Australia. Dr. Burnett has previously been professor at Virginia Military Institute (2005-2013), where he was also Director of the Science and National Security Program in Washington, DC. He was also Director of the VMI-National Defense University of Hungary International Exchange Seminar in Budapest, in which he has taught for the last seven summers. In 2003, at VMI, he held the Moody-Northen Endowed Chair in Economics and was also the 2007 & 2009 winner of the Hinman Award for Excellence in Research. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Burnett was Associate Professor of Integrated Science & Technology at James Madison University, where he was awarded the Most Captivating Lecturer Award in 2005. From 1993 to 2000 he was Assistant Director and Assistant Professor of the Patterson School of Diplomacy & International Commerce.

Affiliation: Dr. R.E. Burnett is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of International Security Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.



Title: The Social Implications of Implantables in the Military Sector

Presenters: Katina Michael & M.G. Michael

Abstract: The military sector has been investing in nanotechnology solutions since their inception. Internal assessment committees in defense programmatically determine how much complex technology will be systematically diffused into the Armed Forces. The broad term nanotechnology is used to encompass a variety of innovations from special paint markers that can determine unique identity to RFID implants in humans. With the purported demand for these new materials, we have seen the development of a fabrication process that has catapulted a suite of advanced technologies in the military marketplace. These technologies were once the stuff of science fiction- everything from exoskeletons to wearable headsets with accelerated night vision, to armaments that have increased in durability in rugged conditions with the ability to be commanded centrally and without human intervention. But what of the emergence of the so-named supersoldier, a type of Iron Man? This workshop will focus on humancentric implantable technologies in the military sector. The key questions it will seek to discuss with respect to implants include: (1) What are the social implications of new proposed security technologies? (2) What are the rights of soldiers who are contracted to the defense forces? (3) Does local military law override the rights provided under the rule of law in a given jurisdiction, and thus, what are the possible legal implications? (4) How pervasive are these technologies in society at large? (5) And what might be some of the side effects experienced by personnel in using these devices that have not yet been tested under conditions of war and conflict? More broadly the workshop seeks to understand the socio-ethical implications (community), social contract (individual), and stakeholder (industry/government) perspectives.

Relevant Stories:

DARPA Implants Chips In U.S. Soldiers' Brains:

Moving the power of thought: (2015)

Stentrode: (2015)

Jose Delgado Experiments in the 1960s:

Medtronics Patient Education for DBS Therapy for Dystonia:

DBS On/Off Demo: Walking:

Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy (Parts 1-4):

Transformers: The Ultimate Doom (Parts 1-3):

Katina Michael is a Professor and Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She is the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine editor-in-chief and also serves as the senior editor of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. Since 2008 Katina has been a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation, and also served as Vice-Chair. Katina researches on the socio-ethical implications of emerging technologies. She has written and edited six books, guest edited a dozen special issue journals on themes related to radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, supply chain management, location-based services, innovation and surveillance and uberveillance. She has been published widely and was responsible for the creation of the human factors series of workshops hosted annually since 2006 on the “Social Implications of National Security”.

mgmichael - Copy.jpg

MG Michael Ph.D. (ACU), M.A (Hons) (MacqUni), M.Theol (SydUni), B.Theol (SCD), B.A.(SydUni), DipProfCouns (AIPC) is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Information Systems and Technology at the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. Michael is a theologian and historian with cross-disciplinary qualifications in the humanities and who introduced the concept of überveillance into the privacy and bioethics literature. Michael brings with him a unique perspective to Emerging Technologies. His formal studies include Ancient History, Theology, General Philosophy, Political Sociology, Ethics, Linguistics, and Government. Michael is a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and a life member of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF). He has written and edited six books and guest edited 5 special issue journals, among them Prometheus, Journal of Location-Based Services and IEEE Technology & Society Magazine. In 2016, Michael is co-convenor of a workshop on brain implants in the military sector, which is part of the human factors series in national security, originally funded by the Australian Research Council.

Affiliation: School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong


Twitter: @katinamichael; #mgmichael #uberveillance

NanoTech and the Military: National Threat or National Security?

Title: NanoTech and the Military: National Threat or National Security?

Presenter: Donna Dulo

Abstract: The use of nanotechnology by the military will create a revolution in military affairs when the technology reaches its full potential. It will migrate, as has many novel technological instruments of war, as a tactical battlefield and intelligencetool to the basis of strategy and policy due to its effectiveness, ease of deployment, and in many cases, stealth nature.  However, its use will cause myriad ethical issues as well as issues that will adversely impact national security, at both the micro and macro levels. This presentation will explore the basics of nanotechnology and will present various developing technologies that will be deployable in hostile environments as weapons, biological agents, methods of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cloaking technologies, information technology agents, as well as energy sources. It will explore the foundations of these technologies and merge technological concepts with the foundations and instruments of national policy and security. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on the ethics of using nanotechnology in the military domain.

Biography: Donna A. Dulo is a senior mathematician, computer scientist, and software/systems engineer for the US Department of Defense where she has worked for over 26 years in both military and civilian capacities. She is the lead author and editor of the American Bar Association's top selling seminal text "Unmanned Aircraft in the National Airspace: Critical Issues, Technology and the Law" which was published in 2015, and is currently writing on the ABA's second book entitled "Drones in the National Airspace: Emerging issues of Technology and the Law", due out in the Winter of 2016.. Dr. Dulo is a systems, software, and safety engineer for Icarus Interstellar where she designs spacecraft and integrates safety and resilience into spacecraft systems. Her focus is on long range spacecraft and the effects of long term stress on spacecraft systems. She is the founder of the Icarus Interstellar center for Space Law. Dr. Dulo is the Director of Advanced Computational technologies and a Computer Science professor at Sofia University. She is also a graduate and undergraduate faculty member in the area of computer security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Dr. Dulo provides consulting services to various entities such as NASA, as well as to technical organizations across Silicon Val-ley. She is an astronomer at the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy and has taught astronomy programs for the Lyceum of Monterey for over a decade. Dr. Dulo is a legal writer and scholar in the area of unmanned air-craft law and technology. She is currently the lead author and editor of the American Bar Association’s seminal text on unmanned aircraft law and technology, due out in February of 2015. She has published extensively in the areas of unmanned aircraft law and technology, astronomy, and computer science, and has published a book on computer programming. She has been featured on several national media programs this year including NPR, Slate, and the Discovery Channel. She lives in Monterey, CA.

Affiliation: US Naval Postgraduate School, Sofia University


Soldier Enhancement: A Brief Survey of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

Title: Soldier Enhancement: A Brief Survey of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

Abstract: The Spartan City State produced what is probably one of the most iconic and ruthless military forces in recorded history. They believed that military training and education began at birth. Post-World War II saw a shift to army tanks, fighter jets and missiles that would go on to fight the next huge battle in Northern Europe. Today, with the advent of unmanned systems, our hopes are attached to the idea that we can fight our battles with soldiers pressing buttons in distant command centres. However, soldiers must now be highly trained, super strong and have the intelligence and mental capacity to handle the highly complex and dynamic military operating environment. It is only now as we progress into the twenty-first century that we are getting closer to realising the Spartan ideal and creating a soldier that can endure more than ever before. In my talk, I provide a brief analysis of moral, legal and social questions concerning military human enhancement, with a view toward informing the following presentations and developing guidance and policy that may influence real-world decision making.

Biography: Dr. Jai Galliott is an Army-funded Research Fellow in Indo-Pacific Defence at the University of New South Wales, Kensington. He trained as a warfare officer in the Royal Australian Navy prior to resigning in order to undertake PhD studies in military affairs/ethics at Macquarie University.  He is author of more than two dozen books, chapters and journal articles on defence strategy and the ethics of emerging military technologies. His most recent books include Military Robots (Ashgate 2015), Super Soldiers (Ashgate 2015) and Ethics and the Future of Spying (Routledge 2016). He is Lead Editor of the Routledge book series on Emerging Technologies, Ethics and International Affairs and an Associate Editor of IEEE Technology & Society Magazine. He has spoken at Oxford University and the United Nations, regularly appears on television and radio, and is always happy to speak to those with bright ideas.

Diana Bowman

Title: pending

Abstract: pending

Biography: Diana M. Bowman is an Associate Professor in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the School for the Future of Innovation and Society at Arizona State University, and a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Law at KU Leuven. Diana’s research has primarily focused on the legal and policy issues associated with emerging technologies, and public health law. Diana has a BSc, a LLB and a PhD in Law from Monash University, Australia. In August 2011 she was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Australia).

Affiliation: School for the Future of Innovation and Society at Arizona State University


Rain Liivoja

Title: Implantable Technologies in the Armed Forces: Some International Law Considerations

Abstract: While international law extensively regulates the deployment and the conduct of armed forces, it does not specifically address the use of many emerging military technologies. But such technologies do not remain, as it were, legally inert. For one, their use is constrained by the existing general rules and principles of international law, especially the law of armed conflict and human rights law. And, in any event, even where the law does not place restrictions on these technologies, certain legal consequences flow from their use. Implantable technologies are a case in point. In this presentation, I will first consider the limitations on the use of implantables arising due to the service members' right to bodily integrity under international human rights law. Second, I will look at implications of the use of implantables for the protection of military medical personnel under the law of armed conflict.

Biography: Rain Liivoja is a Senior Lecturer and Branco Weiss Fellow at Melbourne Law School. He is also an Affiliated Research Fellow of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. Rain has published on the law of armed conflict, international criminal law, the law of state jurisdiction, the law of treaties and the regulation of private military contractors. He has taught international law at the Universities of Melbourne, Helsinki and Tartu, as well as the Estonian National Defence College and the Riga Graduate School of Law. Rain is the book review editor of the Finnish Yearbook of International Law and a member of the editorial boards of several journals. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, chair of the International Peace and Security Interest Group of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, and a member of the Australian Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Committee (Victorian Division). Rain is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Rain holds an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Tartu and masters, licentiate and doctoral degrees in public international law from the University of Helsinki. He has completed a Graduate Certificate in University Teaching at the University of Melbourne.

Affiliation: Branco Weiss Fellow at Melbourne Law School


Can Implants Be Weapons Under the Law?

Title: Can Implants Be Weapons Under the Law?

Abstract: International humanitarian law (IHL) imposes a raft of obligations on States and individuals in relation to their conduct in armed conflict. Some of the most stringent obligations (and harshest penalties) relate, unsurprisingly, to the use of weapons. Likewise, some of the most sacred and fundamental rights protected by international human rights law (IHRL) restrict the permissible uses of weapons by military and law enforcement personnel. Those rights include the rights to life, to health, and to freedom from torture, among others.

This paper asks whether there might be circumstances in which an implantable technology or device, intended to enhance performance of military personnel, could fall within the scope of restrictions on the use of weapons under either of those bodies of international law. Devices within that scope would enliven certain legal obligations for States and military personnel in relation to their development, possession and use. In an effort to identify general principles, the investigation takes a broad view of implantable technologies and does not discuss specific technologies or specific types of enhancements.

IHL requires States and their armed forces personnel to adhere to three fundamental principles in their use of weapons. The principle of distinction states that parties to a conflict must at all times distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and must direct attacks only against combatants. This principle relates both to the choice of weapons and the way in which they are used. The principle of proportionality states that parties to a conflict must not launch an attack which is expected to cause damage to civilians or civilian objects which would be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. Finally, parties to a conflict must refrain from using means and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause injury or suffering beyond what is necessary for an attack to succeed. In support of these principles, States must review all new means and methods of warfare for compatibility with their legal obligations, and must take adequate precautions during a conflict to ensure their obligations are met.

The key question is about the extent of what constitutes a weapon or the associated IHL notion of a ‘means or method’ of warfare. ‘Means’ of warfare refers broadly to weapons and related devices, while a ‘method’ of warfare refers to the manner in which a weapon is used, pursuant to military tactics, operating procedures, and so on. It is well established that the scope of the above legal obligations extends to ‘weapons in the widest sense, as well as the way in which they are used’. The judgement about whether a device falls within that scope would be made with respect to the intended purpose of the device, and the manner and purpose for which it is reasonably expected to be used. Two points in particular are important. First, it is widely considered that all components of ‘weapon systems’, and not just the weapon itself, are means of warfare which must be reviewed for compatibility with IHL obligations. Second, as ‘methods of warfare’ are also reviewable, it is arguable that devices which may reasonably be expected to influence the choice of tactics, or influence the manner in which weapons are used, would also be included.

In situations without a nexus to an armed conflict, the rules of IHRL still apply. The extent of what may be considered a weapon is poorly defined under IHRL, but the use of force is very much at issue in relation to fundamental rights. States must carefully regulate all factors which may influence the likelihood or type of force being used by military or law enforcement personnel.

The paper argues that States should consider any ‘weapon-like’ capabilities of implantable technologies in light of their obligations under IHL and IHRL. Such consideration should begin with development plans for new devices and should continue through to production and use.

Biography: Tim McFarland is a PhD candidate at Melbourne Law School and a member of the Program on the Regulation of Emerging Military Technology at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law. His PhD research addresses the legal implications of utilising increasingly autonomous weapon systems in armed conflict. Tim's background is a mixture of technical and legal work, having earned a degree in mechanical engineering and working for several years in a variety of information technology roles before returning to university to complete a Juris Doctor degree at Melbourne Law School. After his JD studies he worked in the International Humanitarian Law department of Australian Red Cross before commencing full-time PhD studies.


Affiliation: Research fellow (DSTO), Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne


Marcus Wigan

Title: Panel speaker on brain implants in the military.

Abstract: pending

Biography: Dr Marcus Wigan is Principal of Oxford Systematics, Professor of both Transport and of Information Systems at Napier University Edinburgh and Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and serves on the Ethics Task Force and the Economic Legal and Social Implications Committee of the Australian Computer Society, of which he is a Fellow. He has worked on the societal aspects of transport, surveillance and privacy both as an engineer and policy analyst and as an organisational psychologist. He has published for over 30 years on the interactions between intellectual property, identity and data integration in electronic road pricing and intelligent transport systems for both freight and passenger movements. Marcus Wigan has qualifications in a wide range of fields from physics to psychology, business to intellectual property law. He has served on Ministerial Advisory Councils, as expert advisor to Parliamentary Committees and chaired Standards Australia Committees. He has published, participated and researched in transport and communications issues for over forty years. A life member of Electronic Frontiers Australia and the Australian Privacy Foundation, he remains a long term advocate for civil liberties and equity with special reference to ICT, telecommunications and the internet. He was elected onto the board of ACCAN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network) in 2013.

Affiliation: Professor Emeritus at Napier University Edinburgh


Engineering Design Informed by Exposure

Title: Engineering Design Informed by Exposure: With applications to Connected Personal Devices

Presenter: Lindsay J. Robertson

Abstract: Engineering Design Informed by Exposure.  Research in progress considers the application of an "exposure metric" to technological systems.  The specific weaknesses and scope limitations of risk analysis are examined, and the advantages of the "exposure" metric explained. The proposed metric is defined and its derivation from the configuration of the target system is both explained and defended. Exposure is justified as a valid and useful measure of the vulnerability contributed to the individual who actually needs the outputs of the technological system. Conclusions from the preliminary application of this measure to examples, including implanted medical devices, are presented.  The applicability to a wider range of cases, and the development of general principles for reduction of exposure are also noted. Among the general conclusions, the significance of contributory (connected) systems to high levels of exposure are noted, and the consequent large contribution to the final user vulnerability is noted.

Biography:  Lindsay J. Robertson is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong with a particular interest in the vulnerabilites incurred by complex technological systems. Professionally, Lindsay is an engineer (mechanical) with significant involvement in large energy and power generation systems, and with the identification and evaluation of
emerging technologies.

Affiliation: School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia


Varied Perspectives on Implants in the Military

Title: Varied Perspectives on Implants in the Military

Presenter: Jordan Brown


Biography: Jordan Brown is an activist, artist and independent film-maker whose work focuses on the interface between the dominant culture and the impact on people, society and the natural environment. His work has been screened at environmental film festivals in Washington DC, California, Massachusetts, and Illinios US; as well as Bratislava, Slovakia; Poznań, Poland; and Melbourne, Australia; recently winning Audience Choice, Best First Filmmaker awards, and a Prize of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic. Jordan’s activism is currently supporting the ongoing protest against advertising in public space, called Democratic Media Please. He also writes for a research project called Uberveillance(.com) and publishes interviews about the social implications of technology on his website ( Jore’s music features on in documentaries like Street Politics 101.


Military Insertables – Lessons from Civilian Experiences

Title: Military Insertables – Lessons from Civilian Experiences

Abstract: Digital components, once large enough to fill a room, are now small enough to be inserted into the human body.  We have moved from luggables, digital devices humans must physically carry with them with effort, to wearables that can effortlessly be worn on a person. The next logical step is insertables; digital devices which go in, through or under the skin. We use the term insertables to specifically categorize devices that are voluntarily chosen to be inserted and are relatively easy, and minimally, invasive to insert or remove. Conversely, implantable is often used in the medical context to refer to an object grafted inside a person’s body during surgery by a trained medical professional. Thus, there are important ethical distinctions between insertable and implantable technologies. Insertables have a strong sense of personal agency and choice, while implants are often done to someone out of necessity.
Civilian hobbyists are voluntarily inserting devices into their bodies for non-medical, mostly convenience driven, purposes. Our research looks at how people are using insertable devices, and why, particularly with a human computer interaction (HCI) and user experience foci. In this talk we will explore how the civilian use of insertables could be re-appropriated for law enforcement or military contexts and briefly touch on whether these uses would fall under the category of insertables or implantables.

Biography: Kayla Heffernan is a UX designer at SEEK Limited  and also undertaking a PhD in Interaction Design at the University of Melbourne looking at digital insertables. Insertables is a term Kayla coined used to refer to voluntary devices that go in, through or underneath the skin. 

Affiliation: The University of Melbourne's Interaction Design Lab studies the design and use of digital technologies by people to understand the impact of ICT on human life.

Twitter: @kaylajheffernan

Implanting miltary rights and wrongs

Title: Implanting military rights and wrongs

Presenter: Rob Nicholls

Abstract: This article considers the issues that arise in the potential conflict of rights and curtailed rights under “military law”. It focuses on the matters that arise when services personnel are implanted with technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) devices. The work presented is based on Australian law. It shows that, based on statute and case law, compulsory RFID implantation of RFID devices for military personnel is likely to be enforceable.


Lane v Morrison [2009] HCA 29

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission v May [2016] HCA 19

White v Director of Military Prosecutions [2007] HCA 29

Haskins v The Commonwealth [2011] HCA 28

Re Colonel Aird; Ex parte Alpert [2004] HCA 44

Nicholas v The Commonwealth [2011] HCA 29

Working Paper:

Biography: Dr Rob Nicholls is a lecturer in business law at the UNSW Business School and is a research fellow at the Centre for Law, Markets and Regulation in the UNSW Law School. His research interests encompass competition law and policy as well as the regulation of networked industries and the financial services sector. Before this appointment, Rob was a research fellow at the Centre for International Finance and Regulation and at Swinburne University of Technology. He is also a visiting fellow at UTS Sydney Law. Rob has had a thirty-year career concentrating on competition, regulation and governance, particularly in networked industries and his first degree was in electronics engineering. Before moving to academia, he worked for Webb Henderson, the ACCC and spent twelve years as a client-facing consultant at Gilbert + Tobin. Rob is an accredited mediator and the Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator.

Affiliation: School of Taxation and Business Law UNSW Business School; Visiting fellow at UTS Sydney Law


Twitter: @rob2037

Recommendations on Implantables in the Military Sector - Soldier Rights

Title: Recommendations on Implantables in the Military Sector - Soldier Rights

Presenter: Sharon R. Bradley-Munn


Biography: Sharon R. Bradley-Munn is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong, based in Canada. Sharon has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of New Brunswick in 2010 and 15 MBA courses from the same institution. Sharon's current research interests are in body modification and the military. She has held several roles in industry, including in retail management.

Affiliation: School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences


Closing Remarks

Title: Closing Remarks

Presenter: Philip Hall

Biography: Philip specialises in the delivery and management of business-critical systems in complex technological and operational environments. His expertise is founded on over 30 years management experience in project/program delivery and technology operations across a wide range of industries, including Banking & Finance, Construction, Defence Aerospace, Emergency Management, Environment & Earth Sciences and Information Technology & Communications. A former Aeronautical Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), he holds a Bachelor Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Master of Engineering (Aeronautical) Degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), is a graduate of the Royal Navy Engineering College (UK) and the Australian Defence Command and Staff College, and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the RAN Active Reserve. His Defence experience includes aircraft operations at sea, major aircraft procurement and aviation infrastructure construction projects, and aircraft engineering policy development in Defence Headquarters. Philip is also a Principal Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne (Australia) where he participates in collaborative international research programs focused on the practical application of emerging technologies. Previously Philip held tenures as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at The University of Western Australia (2011 to 2015), and in the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at The University of the South Pacific (2008 to 2010). He is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM) and Engineers Australia (FIEAust), and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (SMIEEE). In IEEE he is a member of the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) and the Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). In AESS he is Vice Chair of the Unmanned Airborne Vehicle (UAV) Technical Panel, and in SSIT he is a Distinguished Lecturer and an elected member of the Board of Governors, where he is 2016 Vice President-elect and Chair of both the Distinguished Lecturer Program and the Conference and Events Program. He is also the SSIT member on the IEEE-USA Committee on Transportation and Aerospace Policy (CTAP), which advises the United States Administration and Congress, and authored the current CTAP Position Statement on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Related Technologies. Philip is a regular guest editor of the IEEE-SSIT Technology and Society Magazine, and an associate editor of the international Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (JUVS).

Affiliation: Principal Fellow, The University of Melbourne and Vice President, IEEE SSIT.

Nanotechnology Regulation in Armed Conflict

* This paper will not be presented at the workshop due to Kobi being in flight transit from Europe. Paper to be submitted as part of special issue.

Title: Nanotechnology Regulation in Armed Conflict

Author: Kobi Leins

Biography: Have managed programs and teams in the areas of administrative law & justice, humanitarian law, human rights law, and disarmament with the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and with International Service for Human Rights. In 2006, worked with an international NGO to advocate for the adoption of the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Rights. In 2005, liaised with States to implement the Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons Conventions. In 2004, worked as a Legal Officer at the United Nations Compensation Commission under the auspices of a Security Council Resolution analysing and presenting claims for environmental damage following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991. Originally worked in commercial litigation with (then) Deacons.

Affiliation: PhD student, Program on the Regulation of Military Technology (PREMT), University of Melbourne