Just a quick update here, as it’s a busy week for me and I’m off to Chicago in the morning. But I did stumble upon this tidbit the other day and wanted to share as an extension to a previous post.
MIT Researchers See Through Walls Using ‘Wi-Vi’
This immediately reminded me of my previous post here about using the ambient wi-fi signals in a home to enable gesture recognition for the control of household appliances. This is basically the same technology, but allows for the tracking of moving objects through walls. Very neat, and very handy for things like police use and search-and-rescue needs in disaster zones like collapsed buildings, but there is definitely a red flag here. As the article linked above mentions, this technology, if widely spread and used, will pose very interesting privacy issues for which we do not currently have policy. One key feature of this technology is that it can easily be adapted to most people’s smart phones, since wi-fi is readily available on them. Does that mean that every person will be able to use wi-vi to track moving object through walls one day? It’s quite possible.
But is it a good thing? That’s the question. Is it morally acceptable to give people the ability to do this at will? As the article hints, a higher resolution system is already in the works that could possibly lead to basic facial recognition. Once that happens, the small privacy questions become much bigger. And that does beg the question of how such technology should be regulated with privacy in mind.
Should it? Is this something people should have unlimited access to? Is it something only the police should have? Personally, I think it could be available at a simple level, but when you get to the point of identifying individuals and the actions they’re doing, this only becomes useful for authorities–but with tight oversight, of course. With the recent information about how our government has been collecting data on its own citizens here in America lately, one has to hope we could institute proper regulation for something like this from the start. But we don’t have a good track record of regulating anything at the moment we begin using it.
What do you think?