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Roger Clarke **
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This document is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/PoVS.html
This document provides an overview of 'point of view surveillance' (PoVS) technologies, as a basis for considering their applications, impacts and implications. The first section provides a very brief overview of surveillance technologies as a whole.
A brief review of the development of surveillance practices is provided in (Clarke 2001), and a set of vignettes is in Clarke (2007b). During a 25-year period studying many aspects of surveillance, the author has developed a Framework for the Analysis of Surveillance (Clarke 2009). It has three elements:
The term 'point of view surveillance' is of recent origin, and is used to describe several capabilities that have seen rapidly increasing intensity of deployment in the last few years. In terms of the classifications outlined in the previous section, PoVS is inherently Aided Physical Surveillance, and specifically Visual, although quite probably Audio as well, and in some circumstances perhaps Audio-only. Particular applications also incorporate Location and Tracking surveillance technologies.
The defining feature of PoVS is that the camera is human-borne, and points away from the human, generally following the orientation of the person's head, i.e. to capture the scene in the person's line-of-sight, or point-of-view. Means of carriage include eyepieces, spectacle-frames, headbands and helmets.
These defining features differentiate PoVS from:
The term 'wearable computing' has been in use since at least 1980, when Steve Mann applied it in particular to wearable cameras and head-mounted displays (Mann 1996, 1997). More generally, see Rhodes (1997).
The usage of PoVS may be overt, or covert, or not intentionally covert but non-obvious. As a result of the miniaturisation of cameras, some worn-cameras are inherently non-obvious.
Recording and transmission may be continuous, may be instigated by the individual or by another person remotely, or may be automatically triggered, e.g. by a motion-detector or accelerometer.
A strict definition limits PoVS to a camera closely associated with a person's head, such that it changes its direction when the person turns their head, and hence is always capturing the scene from that person's point-of-view.
However, the term PoVS is used with some looseness, to also encompass at least the following:
The basic and extended definitions provided in the previous section specify the ability to capture a still-image or a moving-image.
PoVS devices may be designed with a range of further capabilities, including:
The use of PoVS technology to replace a person's direct vision with a video-feed appears, by itself, to offer the person little or no advantage. However, it opens up a range of possibilities. In particular:
Some examples of augmented displays include:
Up to this stage in the development of the notion of PoVS, it has been described as a single feed from a single point-of-view, which may be fed locally to the person, recorded locally, transmitted and/or recorded remotely.
The scope exists, however., for multiple points-of-view to be exploited. Multiple feeds can be transmitted to the same place, or in such a manner that the feeds, or the recordings, can be acquired by multiple parties.
The range of possibilities can be readily appreciated using the (all-too-common) scenario of a major demonstration, with confrontations between law enforcement staff and demonstrators, and recriminations on both sides.
The law enforcement command and control centre might display multiple points-of-view, transmitted from policemen's kit, in parallel. This may provide a better sense of the overall situation, and enable more effective deployment of resources. In addition, the running of synchronised recordings, with synchronised slow, stop-start and rewind functionality, may enable more effective retrospective investigation of what occurred in a particular place at a particular time.
Given the recent, dramatic changes in the economics of PoVS technologies, video transmission and command-and-control centres, the demonstration-organiser might do much the same as the law enforcement agency, using transmissions from demonstrators' mobile-phones.
Applying the principles of 'crowd-sourcing', volunteers might provide feeds, intended for any and all of law enforcement agencies, the demonstration-organiser, a human rights observer organisation and/or to a publicly-available site, as suggested by the 'Transparent Society' hypothesis (Brin 1998).
To the extent that private feeds or recordings exist, the law enforcement agency, the demonstration-organiser, a human rights organisation and/or individuals concerned about the matter, might seek access to them using warrants and/or demand-powers on one side, and, on the other, requests, FOI requests and hacking.
A number of surveillance technologies share a variety of features with PoVS, and discussions frequently use the PoVS term even more loosely to include some or all of them. Examples include:
APF (2009) 'Policy Statement re Visual Surveillance, incl. CCTV' Australian Privacy Foundation, October 2009, at http://www.privacy.org.au/Papers/CCTV-1001.html
Brin D. (1998) 'The Transparent Society' Addison-Wesley, 1998
Clarke R. (1988) 'Information Technology and Dataveillance' Commun. ACM 31,5 (May 1988) 498-512, and re-published in C. Dunlop and R. Kling (Eds.), 'Controversies in Computing', Academic Press, 1991, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/CACM88.html
Clarke R. (1994) 'Human Identification in Information Systems: Management Challenges and Public Policy Issues' Information Technology & People 7,4 (December 1994) 6-37, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/HumanID.html
Clarke R. (1999b) 'Person-Location and Person-Tracking: Technologies, Risks and Policy Implications' Proc. 21st International Conference on Privacy and Personal Data Protection, pp.131-150, Hong Kong, September 1999. Revised version in Information Technology & People 14, 2 (Summer 2001) 206-231, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/PLT.html
Clarke R. (2001) 'While You Were Sleeping ... Surveillance Technologies Arrived' Australian Quarterly 73, 1 (January-February 2001), at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/AQ2001.html
Clarke R. (2005a) 'Human-Artefact Hybridisation: Forms and Consequences', Proc. Ars Electronica 2005 Symposium on Hybrid - Living in Paradox, Linz, Austria, 2-3 September 2005, version of May 2005, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/HAH0505.html
Clarke R. (2007a) 'What 'Überveillance' Is, and What To Do About It' Invited Keynote, 2nd RNSA Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security - From Dataveillance to Überveillance ..., 29 October 2007, University of Wollongong. Revised version published as 'What is Überveillance? (And What Should Be Done About It?)' IEEE Technology and Society 29, 2 (Summer 2010) 17-25, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/RNSA07.html
Clarke R. (2007b) 'Surveillance Vignettes' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, September 2007, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/SurvVign.html
Clarke R. (2009) 'The Covert Implementation of Mass Vehicle Surveillance in Australia' Proc. 4th Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security: Covert Policing, 7 April 2009, ANU, Canberra, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/ANPR-Surv.html
Clarke R. (2011) 'Cyborg Rights' IEEE Technology and Society 30, 3 (Fall 2011) 49-57, PrePrint at http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/CyRts-1102.htmlClarke R. & Wigan M. (2012) 'You Are Where You've Been: The Privacy Implications of Location and Tracking Technologies' Forthcoming, J. of Location Based Services 5, 3 (2012), PrePrint at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/YAWYB-CWP.html
Hayes A. (2012) 'Location Enabled Body Worn Technologies in the Education Sector' Proc. Conf. Point of View Technologies in the Law Enforcement Sector, Sydney, February 2012
Mann S. (1994) 'Wearable,Tetherless, Computer-Mediated Reality (with possible future applications to the disabled)' Technical Reporti #260, M.I.T. Medial Lab Perceptual Computing Section, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1994, at http://wearcam.org/mr.html
Mann S. (1996) 'Smart Clothing: The Shift to Wearable Computing' Communications of the ACM 39, 8 (August 1996) 23-24, at http://www.eyetap.org/papers/docs/acm_comm96.pdf
Mann S. (1997) 'An historical account of the 'WearComp' and 'WearCam' inventions developed for applications in 'Personal Imaging'' Proc. ISWC, 13-14 October 1997, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp. 66-73, at http://www.wearcam.org/historical/
Mann S. (2009) 'Sousveillance: Wearable Computing and Citizen 'Undersight' - Watching from Below Rather Than Above' h+ Magazine, 10 July 2009, at http://www.hplusmagazine.com/articles/politics/sousveillance-wearable-computing-and-citizen-undersight
Mann S. & Niedzviecki H. (2001) 'Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer' Random House, 2001
Mann S., Nolan J. & Wellman B. (2003) 'Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments' Surveillance & Society 1, 3 (June 2003) 331-355, at http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles1(3)/sousveillance.pdf
Michael M.G. & Michael K. (2006) 'National Security: The Social Implications of the Politics of Transparency' Prometheus 24, 4 (December 2006) 359-363, at http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1389&context=infopapers
Michael M.G. & Michael K. (2007) 'Überveillance: 24/7 x 365 People Tracking and Monitoring' Proc. 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioner, at http://www.privacyconference2007.gc.ca/Terra_Incognita_program_E.html
Rhodes B. (1997) 'A brief history of wearable computing' MIT Wearable Computing Project, apparently of 1997, at http://bradleyrhodes.com/Papers/brief-history-of-wearable-computing.html
Wigan M. & Clarke R. (2006) 'Social Impacts of Transport Surveillance' Proc. RNSA Workshop on Social Implications of Information Security Measures upon Citizens and Business, Uni. of Wollongong, 29 May 2006, in Michael K. & Michael M.G. (Eds.) 'The Social Implications of Information Security Measures on Citizens and Business' Research Network Secure Australia, 2006, Chapter 2, pp. 27-44. Revised version published as Wigan M. & Clarke R. 'Social Impacts of Transport Surveillance' Prometheus 24, 4 (December 2006) 389-403, at http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/SITS-0604.html
Wigan M. & Clarke R. (2009) 'Transport and Surveillance Aspects of Location-Based Services' Transportation Research Record 2105 (September 2009) 92-99
Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University.
The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.
From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.
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Created: 3 November 2011 - Last Amended: 19 March 2012 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
This document is at www.rogerclarke.com/DV/PoVS.html