Überveillance | Think of it as big brother on the inside looking out

allthingsd reports that DARPA head Regina Dugan now leads special projects for the Google-owned Motorola is working on pretty cool (and totally creepy!) technology

  • An electronic tattoo that can be used to authenticate a user instead of some flimsy password. It’s made by a company called MC10 that Motorola is partnering with, and Dugan is wearing it on her own arm.

  • Another option in a similar vein: Vitamin authentication. Dugan shows a pill that can be ingested and then battery-powered with stomach acid to produce an 18-bit internal signal. After that, the swallower’s whole body becomes a password.

This looks to be the consumer version of something academics have been warning about for some time.

M.G. Michael and K. Michael. “Towards a State of Uberveillance” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (2010).

We are living in a period where chip implants for the purposes of segregation are being discussed seriously …We will almost certainly witness new, and more fixed forms, of “electronic apartheid.” … The next generation will view this technology as super “cool” and convenient and opt-in without comprehending the full extent of their compliance

Also see:

Gagnon, M., Jacob, J.D. & Guta, A., 2013. Treatment adherence redefined: a critical analysis of technotherapeutics. Nursing inquiry, 20(1), pp.60–70.

We understand that technotherapeutics (as many other health technologies) may be initially welcomed by many of those they are intended to help. These technologies may provide individuals who are chronically ill with a sense of identity and even ‘empowerment’ about their adherence.

…… As has been observed historically, these technologies may ultimately become divisive and serve to differentiate the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’, or, in a bio-political sense, to differentiate those worthy of life (ongoing treatment and support) and those who the state should ‘let die’ (denied future medication or insurance coverage).

Overall, we understand technotherapeutics as serving to both discipline individual bodies and also to regulate whole groups of people deemed to constitute a threat to the collective body. In this sense, we consider that adherence work is above all a political project that endeavors to achieve optimal disease management (through surveillance and discipline), reduce the financial burden of treatment non-adherence on healthcare systems, and serve to further marginalize and differentiate ‘at-risk groups’ because of their unwillingness or inability to conform

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