Location Aware Computing by Adam Shand

I went to my first IEEE meeting. The speaker was John David Miller from Intel's Emerging Platforms Lab. The topic was Location Aware Computing. The first thing that struck me was the depth to which the issues appeared to have been thought through, and the honesty (at least from an engineering point of view) with which they were addressing privacy and security concerns.

A couple of notes:

Just as cell phones have created a new kind of tension between friends and lovers (eg. "Honey, why weren't you answering your phone?"), location aware computer will do this in new ways (eg. "Honey, why couldn't I see where you were at lunch today?").

His description of room level location awareness, and discussing the example of the Pentagon where they don't want you to have too much information as you walk around the building unless you have some sort of clearance (except perhaps in case of an emergency where you need to find an exit). This all brought back memories of reading Neuromancer and hacking in a virtual world. All this information will make rendering a virtual shadow of the real world possible ... the hacking will begin at 4:20am.

Despite his seeming genuine concerns about user privacy and security, I think that the inevitable maturation and exploitation of this technology is going to be "interesting".

journal posted on 18 Apr 2003

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