Friday, October 2, 2009

Augmenting Aerial Earth Maps with Dynamic Information

Researchers at Georgia Tech are developing a system that uses CCTV to add dynamic data to Google Earth. According to researchers their goal
is to make Augmented Earth Maps that visualize the live broadcast of dynamic sceneries within a city. We propose different approaches to analyze videos of pedestrians and cars.

This research raises a number of privacy questions. Not only could this system perform a surveillance function but it could also be used to make surveillance data increasingly accessible. Moreover, this system would create increased privacy problems if it were integrated with identification technologies like biometrics or RFID.


Mike Trummel said...

This article is interesting. I just saw a commercial by Nationwide insurance that is using mapping software to look at roof damages, that way the customer don't have to file a claim, Nationwide will appraise it via satellite (they can also use this to double check your claims). Just as Professor Moran mentioned the potential privacy threat of augmenting aerial maps with dynamic information, the same threat holds true with using these maps to file insurance claims. If the insurance industry is willing to use technology to double check claims or to even completely bypass the individual to file claims themselves what's next? Will insurance companies use maps to make sure you are actually sick? If they spot you in the backyard working will they cut your workmans comp? What if insurance companies can tap into new "smart houses" that measure if you are taking your prescriptions or moving around the house? If you aren't being active then maybe you don't deserve that surgery because you are making your condition worse. Missed a day of pills, that precludes you from a doctors appointment. With new technology the insurance industry could transform from a customer filing claims about their health to an all seeing company that uses satellites and RFIDs to decide when you need an appointment or double checking you are sick enough for a claim.

Tristan said...

Mike, I think that all of these things are going to happen.
I believe that, as it stands, our Constitution can and will easily be interpreted to allow for all of your examples to completely change our lives.

Keith Levinsky said...

I slightly disagree with Tristan's comment. I believe that there will be some sort of response to invasions of privacy as severe as Mike's examples. As Solove's Conceptualizing Privacy demonstrated, there have and always will be responses to these invasions of privacy normally via Supreme Court cases. The fourth amendment against search and seizure will probably be used by in defense of privacy. Both these new developments, the aerial maps and Nationwide insurance spying, are very dangerous to privacy. The advancements that Trummel brings up remind me of Joel Selzer's example of how doctors could be able to monitor an elderly woman's health from miles away. The advancements can have advantages and disadvantages.