Big Brother an inside job

By Emma Shaw
Updated November 5 2012 - 8:51am, first published February 24 2009 - 12:55am
Dr MG Michael wears a radio-frequency identification wristband, stick tag and button. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Big Brother could soon be tracking our every thought and movement, according to a University of Wollongong academic who says microchips implanted in the human body could become commonplace within two or three generations.Dr MG Michael, honorary senior fellow at the School of Information Systems and Technology, coined the term "uberveillance" to encompass the notion of surveillance systems as embedded networks within the human body."It is Big Brother not on the outside looking down, but on the inside looking out," Dr Michael said."We are presently witnessing the emergence of uberveillance in various forms."Today we have cars tagged with radio-frequency identification for use in electronic toll collection, animals that bear national livestock identification system tags, prisoners adorned with electronic bracelets and even people that have embedded chips for making transactions at VIP lounges at clubs."Dr Michael, whose area of interest covers philosophy and theology, as well as the social implications of information communication technology, said the chips could be located just about anywhere in the human body. He said the issue raised many concerns."There is currently a heightened tension between the trade-offs of national security versus personal security," Dr Michael said."There will always be the potential to use uberveillance in positive applications to save lives, but once instituted the risks, especially to human rights, are incalculable."