Ambient surveillance

From national security to IPR, demand for increasingly pervasive surveillance technologies continues to grow, fostering innovations only seen in some of literature's darkest nightmares:

Last month, Techdirt reported that NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg is working on a plan to allow New Yorkers to send cellphone pics of crimes directly to the NYPD (after a similar experiment in Malaysia). Reality is television now.

People Don't Want To Be Implanted With RFID Chips. Remember Tommy Thompson, the former HHS Secretary who had a chip implanted in his arm? This is his joint. Apparently, their IPO didn't exactly rock anyone's world.

But according to Technovelgy, Hitachi just announced the world's smallest RFID chip; at 0.05mm on a side (about the width of a human hair), it may be possible to just "dust" people to track them. I wonder how tempting that might be to those who feel threatened by public protests.

Also from Technovelgy, a mobile automated license plate recognition systems is now being tested in British Columbia. The "always on" system checks plates against a database, alerting officers when "hits" are found. It's not a new technology, but adding mobility would seem to introduce additional concerns.

Finally (for this post, at least), British and German engineers are developing an on-board surveillance system for airlines that uses tiny cameras and microphones (embedded in the back of every seat) with a pattern recognition system to look for "suspicious behavior" by anyone in the main cabin. The system identifies blinking, lip licking, hair stroking, and whispering as "classic symptoms" that someone has a secret. I wonder what that might do to their business class sales?

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

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