Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Information Systems and Technology - Faculty of Informatics


This study seeks to explore the use of automatic identification technologies (auto-ID) and location-based services (LBS) in national security initiatives. Public awareness of national security has increased significantly since the terrorist attacks in the United States of America on 11 September 2001. Location-based services require technologies such as radio frequency identification, the global positioning system, and biometric identification, to provide applications such as immigration and visa control functions to advanced home-detention. Location applications have the potential to be privacy insensitive and pervasive. These potential traits need to be balanced with benefits that the technologies offer. Critical Social Theory (CST) is the lens through which motivations of government and public perception have been examined. CST allows the issue of auto-ID and LBS adoption for national security to be studied by examining events of national security significance through public reaction as documented in popular media. For future advancement of government-driven solutions to national security threats and preparations, it is imperative that current research look beyond the technology-based solutions to develop a greater awareness of their implications. The aim of this research is to provide insight into the use of auto-ID and location-based services in national security in order to understand how social aspects of technology can impact lifeworld perception of the use of the technology. The research has achieved this aim through a review of the literature in the field of auto-ID and LBS intersecting with the social implications of technology. This intersection has identified social shaping factors of recent national security events which have contributed to the investigation of recent national security events to establish the social context in which auto-ID and LBS technology is being used. A paradigm for understanding and discovering the proposed impact of future auto-ID and LBS applications being used in national security has been established and is referred to as the PSL (Privacy, Security, Liberty) Trichotomy.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.