25 January 2008

Crowdsourcing Security

Researchers at Purdue University are working with the state of Indiana to develop a system that would use a network of cell phones to detect and track radiation to help prevent terrorist attacks with radiological "dirty bombs" and nuclear weapons.

Such a system could blanket the nation with millions of cell phones equipped with radiation sensors able to detect even light residues of radioactive material. Because cell phones already contain global positioning locators, the network of phones would serve as a tracking system, said physics professor Ephraim Fischbach.

That's the way to do it: you co-opt people by making them part of society's tracking system, rather than regarding everyone as a potential terrorist who needs to be tracked. (Via Slashdot.)


William Meloney said...

While I understand the premise and recognize the need for detection of radiological threats I am concerned about "co-opting" people in this matter. What if I choose not to be 'co-opted'? Am I automatically a suspect?

We must exercise caution in automatically involving citizens in governmental monitoring systems. It seems much more appropriate to consider such technology implemented in law enforcement vehicles and perhaps other municipal vehicles.

Glyn Moody said...

I agree there are complex issues here; but what I liked about the idea is that it gets away from the "them" and "us" aspect of today's security. If the technology is used by the police, it's still "them" watching over "us": I'd rather it were "us" watching over "us" - and "them".....