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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/10/09

MOBVIS: Creating the Culture of Surveillance

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Just as the information about the dangers of cell phones is being recognized by more and more of us, they are also set to be even more difficult for you to live without. It is being reported that cell phones are about to get an upgrade thanks to The MOBVIS Project:

"The MOBVIS system can recognise individual buildings in a photo you take with your camera-phone. Then it can apply icons that hyperlink to information about the building. Simply by looking at a picture, the system knows where you are and can tell what you are looking at."

MOBVIS is funded by the EU and this excerpt (as well as other "news" articles about MOBVIS) was released by the ICT (showcasing EU-funded research and activities) this week. Apparently they are ready to push some image-recognition technology on us, bringing us another step closer to total surveillance, and sadly there is no doubt that it will soon be a must-have upgrade, for everyone.

MOBVIS partnered with Tele Atlas, a digital mapping service. Tele Atlas has a fleet of mobile mapping vans driving around the world collecting data, taking pictures of everything they pass. Together they will be able to tell you about your surroundings, or even tell you who you are standing next to,

"[W]e will detect and recognise objects of high interest in urban scenarios, such as, buildings, infrastructure, people, and faces."

The MOBVIS system has just been unveiled and yet to be commercialized, but it is not difficult to see what the future holds, and it's more than just 'hyperlinking reality.'  Part of their research money was put behind Human Activity Recognition with Wearable Sensors, this was to enable the MOBVIS system to track the users movements:

"Imagine simply by wearing a wristband, you could recognise the wearer’s activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, cycling, or running in real-time."

This leads us all a bit closer to accepting a chip, for now its a "wearable sensor", a wristband, and people will line up for them. According to the report, (Human Activity Recognition with Wearable Sensors) these sensors can be used to entertain yourself better, for gamers especially. For industrial purposes, employers can keep track of their employee's, add microphones and accelerometers to really know your employee's maximum output. Of course the wearable sensor will be great for health care, maybe they would eventually become mandatory for those countries with universal health care,

"Preventing age-related diseases or severe medical conditions before they actually happen ... employ long-term monitoring to detect changes or unusual patterns in a person’s daily life that may indicate early symptoms of diseases".

Exactly how long term will they monitor? To maximize the full potential they would have to start from birth.

The ICT news/press release said it all:

"MOBVIS has just opened a window to previously unimaginable innovations for everyday uses of mobile systems. The mobile phone will just become our personal multi-sensor magic wand to discover unknown stories in intuitive interaction with our environment."

MOBVIS, mob-vision, or visualizing the mob; mapping us.  And most will be traced willingly, happily, and even pay hundreds to get one of those personal multi-sensor magic wands.

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Amy de Miceli is a freelance writer, with offices in New York and Miami. no one has to die tomorroW.
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