"...Take a picture of your face and upload it to a mobile app managed by your city’s government. Tap in your ID card number and, if you live in Shanghai, within 24 hours you will receive all of the information the government has about you. If you have been a good boy and you have your papers in order, you will be rewarded. Your reward may be a discount coupon on your next flight back home, or free access to an exclusive arline lounge. But, what happens if you have been bad? We don’t yet know." - Read more > http://china-social-credit.com/2017/06/from-china-to-facebook/
Groups of citizens wielding cameras take to the streets of New York to document the systemic police brutality and racism facing the public. The cops hate it and so they push back hard.
This is how police accountability plays out in the real world. Take heed Australia:
This short video explores how the online world has overwhelmingly become the popular outlet for public rage by briefly illustrating some of the many stories of everyday people which have suddenly become public enemy number one under the most misunderstood of circumstances and trivial narratives. With the web acting like a giant echo-chamber, amplifying false stories and feeding on the pent-up aggression of the audience watching the spectacle, The Outrage Machine shows how these systems froth the mob mentality into a hideous mess, as a good example of where the spectacle goes and how its intensity has to keep ratcheting up in order maintain the audience attention, in a culture of dwindling attention spans, distraction and triviality.
Filmmaker and author Jon Ronson also recently wrote a book about this topic too, which is quite good. So You've Been Publicly Shamed. His TED talk is essentially a 17 min overview:
And a longer presentation with interview and Q&A from earlier this year:
"...In football-mad Argentina, fans are known for belting out an almost amorous chant to their favourite clubs: "I carry you inside me!" First-division side Tigre said it had decided to take that to the next level and is offering fans implantable microchips that will open the stadium turnstiles on match days, no ticket or ID required. "Carrying the club inside you won't just be a metaphor," the club wrote on its Twitter account. - Read more
"Alphabet's [Google] executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently joined a Department of Defense advisory panel. Facebook recently hired a former director at the U.S. military's research lab, Darpa. Uber employs Barack Obama's former campaign manager David Plouffe and Amazon.com tapped his former spokesman Jay Carney. Google, Facebook, Uber and Apple collectively employ a couple of dozen former analysts for America's spy agencies, who openly list their resumes on LinkedIn.
These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech's leaders -- even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance -- are still seen as mostly U.S. firms that back up American values. Christopher Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, said low-level employees' government connections matter less than leading executives' ties to government. For instance, at least a dozen Google engineers have worked at the NSA, according to publicly available records on LinkedIn. And, this being Silicon Valley, not everyone who worked for a spy agency advertises that on LinkedIn. Soghoian, a vocal critic of mass surveillance, said Google hiring an ex-hacker for the NSA to work on security doesn't really bother him. "But Eric Schmidt having a close relationship with the White House does..."
We are free if we opt out of an endless regime of upgrades. Make the choice today to opt-out. I am not saying don't use and don't exploit the brilliance of mobile telephony, wi-fi, iphones and ipads and the Internet... I am talking about keeping oneself in check. Our feet are on the ground but sometimes we act as if we live in the Clouds. #getreal
Image: Katina Michael 2015
So here we are in 2015, where one of the most respected and lead media agencies of Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Commission is encouraging children to switch their webcams on and record themselves to be alongside the characters "....not essential to the game but it allows you to enjoy an extra special experience."
If it wasn't that the fact that it is ABC app developers distributing the message I'm sure we would have the Australian Federal Police shutting it down and sending out a international trigger alert.
So lets take a step back and revisit the case where Matel thought it would be a great idea to build an SD camera into the womb or chest of a Barbie doll, USB plug in it's butt and encourage kids to upload their lap play!
The BBC brought this to the attention of the world in 2010 - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-11930727
The post on this harks back a bit but it's well worth revisiting what Associate Professor Katina Michael had to say at the time on the matter - https://goo.gl/uYQP8W
Both cases bring some serious considerations to the forefront for debate and these could be framed within the socio-ethical context.
Did the developers at the time of bringing these inventions to the marketplace, for even a minute, consider building in socio-ethical reasoning, using an adaptive framework that is cross-cultural, contextual to thwart the release of these technologies that are obviously in breach or likely to be in breach of national or international laws?
For that matter, does it cross the minds of engineers in their race to realise the dreams of the science fiction writers dystopia, that there are childrens well being at stake here?
So lets look at another case where this "load-your-yourself-for-further-fun' is occurring in other areas of the gaming world.
Namco Bandai Games Inc. has a similar such strategy employed on their sit-down car racing games that pepper many nations and entertainment venues.
The premise is that when you swipe your credit card to start the game it prompts you to use the accelerator pedal to "capture" a photo of your self seated, up close and portrait in style that is then loaded into the game interface as a player visual place holder. Each player is then able to "see" the others they are competing with on that bank of 5 gaming machines....but wait, there is more.
On the virtual car track there might be 20 or thirty cars racing around the track and each and every one of those cars also has images hovering above each car containing the facial features of children (players) who may have long left the game and in fact even left the premises. As you will see in image one (1) above I have depicted in true sousveillance style the general scale and composition as to what is captured of the player.
In the other photos you will identify children peering up into the camera which proceeds to take up to ten images at a time and then present them back to the player to select from.
In essence, the gaming machine is a networked device (internet enabled) that for all intents and purposes does nothing more than take a series of photos of the player and then they use that for the entertainment of the others seeing themselves and in competition racing against each other - literally.
It begs the question of the provider, summed up here as a series of questions unanswered:
- Where was the privacy declaration that childrens images were NOT being stored for the re-marketing of the game to players in new and prospective proximal, walk by marketing?
- Are images captured of innocent people who are captured amongst these high definition depictions of players seated used also and elsewhere?
- Are these games networked and the images being transmitted across the internet to other gaming machines and therefore peoples identity being used to market this and potentially many other products based on age, geolocation, facial identity and any number of other body sensing capabilities built into these machines?
- When the game is "over" can we then be assured as a consumer that our facial identity will not re-appear and be used for further marketing of the game?
In conclusion, we live in a society that has become accustomed to the unanswerable, where our basic rights as a human to feel our way forward using our instinct has been denied. Our proximity to everyday locations such as shopping centres have become a multiplicity of feeds, or re-picturing, of an imbued distrust of whereabouts never mind whom we are.
We have accepted that even a simple children's game is now potentially an identify harvesting activity and for the convenience we are promised upgrades and further levels of convenience.
The Australian Broadcast Commission has clearly a lot to answer to, but again, to what degree are such breaches of a socio-ethical consideration amongst those who would argue that it is a matter of socio-technical convenience, entertainment and choice that governs what is on-sold despite all the claims that "your data is safe with us".
Clearly, we are descending deeper into the night garden with it's myriad of murky monikers that evade ethical design and thwart useful privacy assured user interfaces.
Micro-chip implants for making payments and locking doors are the next frontier, but are the pitfalls worth it?
Amal Graafstra holding a large hypodermic needle - the kind needed to inject an RFID chip into your hand. Photo: Supplied
Most tech-heads like to tinker with the inner workings of iPhones or clapped out VCRs.
But Amal Graafstra is different. For the last 10 years, he's been busy hacking into his own body.
His US company Dangerous Things specialises in manufacturing rice grain-sized computer chips designed to be implanted inside the delicate webbing between the thumb and forefinger.
[Dangerous Things founder Amal Graafstra has an RFID chip implanted in each hand.]
Dangerous Things founder Amal Graafstra has an RFID chip implanted in each hand. Photo: Supplied
"Getting an ear piercing is many times more risky," he says, reassuringly.
The bionic-grade glass chips use radio-frequency identification (RFID) to control electronic objects with the swipe of a hand - from the lock on a front door to a car ignition or a personal computer.
It's the same kind of technology used in pet ID tags; by itself, the chip doesn't do much, but when it comes into close contact with a "reader" device, it will transmit information that can then trigger commands.
[The bionic glass chips are about the size of a grain of rice.]
The bionic glass chips are about the size of a grain of rice. Photo: Supplied
The chips only cost $US99 a pop, and while their core market is a handful of dedicated geeks - including a few in Australia - Graafstra says he's increasingly noticing a new kind of customer.
"What is becoming clear is there are more individuals purchasing the chips who have less knowledge about the technology," he says.
"They're into gadgets and they're geeky but they're not necessarily building their own stuff, so the type of customer is expanding slowly."
[NFC chips are increasingly used for instant payment methods, including via smartphones.]
NFC chips are increasingly used for instant payment methods, including via smartphones. Photo: Visa
RFID chips are becoming more common elsewhere, too.
The most well-known standard of RFID is near-field communication (NFC), increasingly used in instant, digital payment transactions, which facilitate credit card payments in a matter of seconds with a simple tap.
Visa this week announced a partnership with the University of Technology Sydney to develop new wearable technologies.
Alongside the announcement came a sensational figure from its own research, purporting to show that a quarter of Australians were "at least slightly interested" in having an NFC chip implanted in their skin for payments.
Visa and UTS have since clarified they were not actively developing implant technologies themselves, but the alarm bells are already ringing.
Social futurist Mal Fletcher, who heads up the London-based think tank 2020 Plus, responded with an Op Ed warning of the potential pitfalls of "subcutaneous spending devices".
These included bodily hacking; mass surveillance from commercial parties collecting our personal data; rising instances of "digital debt" thanks to the abolition of physical money and its tangible value associations; links between implants and cancer; and even the potential to cause early-onset dementia.
Fletcher insists he's not an alarmist - just cautious.
"We have to look at not just where technology is now but the principle behind it," he says.
"I'm not trying to make payments companies into the bogyman," he says. But he points out that it is in their interests to lead the push towards a cashless society, where ease of transactions and detachment from money encourage impulse spending - and everyone's spending habits are dutifully logged.
Graafstra counters that chip implants are not too far removed from where we are today, where day-to-day living depends on the binary transactions of bank cards, swipe cards and serial numbers - all traceable back to our ID.
"We're already in a position where we have no real control over our digital assets," he says.
At least chip implants can eliminate the stress of being mugged - or can they?
The threat of hacking RFID chips is real, says Linus Information Security Solutions director Mike Thompson, and the upsides may not be worth it.
The assumption that NFC chips can only be read at very short distances is misplaced, he says, citing "plenty of examples" where people have accessed them over distances of several metres using specialised antennas.
These security flaws can be mitigated with the addition of passcodes or PINs - which can be added to smartphones or wearables, but not to the palm of your hand (yet).
An aluminium shield also works; for instance, a special aluminium wallet to protect your NFC-enabled credit card from would-be hackers.
Thompson is sceptical of the advantages of embedding chips into one's body over, say, clothing or other wearable devices.
"Is opening a door automatically when you are naked that important?"
Thanks for the link KMA.
"Ladies and gents, put down your technology and have more sex.
That's the advice from a team of scientists who found people are becoming so enveloped by their phone and tablets that their love lives are being put on the back burner.
So if you are one of those reading this on your smartphone in bed, a glance across the sheets is likely to reveal your partner is engrossed in theirs too.
The researchers discovered 70 per cent of women said smartphones were interfering in their romantic relationship.
The study said technology and the screens that consume us are creating 'technoference' in couples."
Compare to declining birth rate in Japan in this article here. Could there be a link?
"Various reasons have been cited for the population decline, including:
The rising cost of childbirth and child-raising
The increasing number of women in the workforce
The later average age of marriage
The increasing number of unmarried people
Changes in the housing environment and in social customs."
Now compare to the narrative clip.