Publication Details

Michael, M. G., Fusco, S. Jean. & Michael, K. (2008). A research note on ethics in the emerging age of überveillance. Computer Communications, 31 (6), 1192-1199.


Advanced location-based services (A-LBS) for humancentric tracking and monitoring are now emerging as operators and service providers begin to leverage their existing infrastructure and invest in new technologies, toward increasingly innovative location application solutions. We can now point to humancentric tracking and monitoring services where the person (i.e. subject) has become an active node in the network. For example, in health applications through the use of embedded technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) or in campus applications through the use of electronic monitoring techniques in the form of global positioning systems (GPS). These technologies, for the greater part, have been introduced into society at large, without the commensurate assessment of what they will mean in terms of socio-ethical implications. Of particular concern is the potential for these innovative solutions to be applied in government-to-citizen mandated services, increasing the ability of the state to collect targeted data and conduct covert surveillance on any given individual, described herein as überveillance. This paper aims to define, describe, and interpret the current socio-ethical landscape of advanced location-based services for humans in order to promote discourse among researchers and practitioners to better direct telecommunications policy.

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