Mobile phones, personal digital assistants, Wi-Fi hotspots, web-connected mp3 players, SatNav devices, even washing machines that connect to the internet-…the list of gadgets with an inbuilt computer continues to grow.
With this growth, the idea of ubiquitous computing will soon become a reality. But, Maya Gadzheva of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT, at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, warns that we should take care of our privacy.
It is now possible to obtain the precise geographical location of any mobile phone user at any time, explains Gadzheva. However, she points out that with the advent of internet-capable devices and global positioning systems (GPS) the number and type of mobile devices that can reveal an individual's whereabouts is increasing rapidly. This will not necessarily be destructive, but it does require consideration in terms of the legal and societal implications.
GPS-enabled devices offer us many benefits. The most obvious application is providing map and route information to drivers and others. Such devices can also offer restaurant, theatre, and other entertainment recommendations based on your whereabouts. They can allow parents to keep track of their children for the sake of safety. They can track stolen goods and help in their retrieval. They can also be the enabler in networked games and events.
Researchers active in the area of ubiquitous computing envisage a society where every user will interact with hundreds or thousands of embedded or mobile computing devices. These devices will, and do, perform actions based on the context of their users and location information.
According to Gadzheva there is a serious downside to ubiquitous computing that has to be taken into account as society begins to use such devices and systems more widely. "Ubiquitous access to information anywhere and anytime and the ever faster, smaller and omnipresent computing devices will enable the constant collection and transmission of personal data without it being apparent to the user." This, she says, means that maintaining privacy in a future ubiquitous computing society will become increasingly complex if not impossible.
"The fact that the citizens are aware of their rights and that they use them is one of the most vital conditions to ensure effective privacy protection," she says. "What is still missing is a convincing approach for the development of ubiquitous computing environment that could guarantee acceptable levels of personal privacy in the future."
Albert Ang | alfa
Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine