AS an international collaboration that includes the European Union, USA, China, Japan, India, Russia and other countries (see slide 12) the ‘Internet of Things’ is potentially the greatest threat to the freedom of humanity that our world has ever known. The Internet of Things (IoT) is being developed to locate, track and monitor not only objects, but also every-human, anyplace, anytime. The organisations coordinating IoT development include Auto-ID Labs; the ‘Internet Engineering Task Force’ (IETF); the ‘United Nations International Telecommunications Union’ (ITU); and the ‘World Wide Web Consortium’ (W3C). Wuxi-Sensing in China is leading the IoT international standardization.
The concept of the IoT is that virtually every physical thing in this world can be connected to the Internet. ‘Things’ can feature tiny computers/sensors and when they do so, they are often called smart things. Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is a technology that allows automatic identification of objects, animals and people by incorporating a small electronic chip on or into the ‘host’. Data is stored on the RFID-chip and can then be "read" by wireless devices called RFID readers. Everything from individuals, groups, communities, food, products, objects and data can be connected by the IoT. By time we get to 2020, the Wireless World Research Forum (p.6) has predicted that there will be approximately 7 trillion wireless devices. A smart ubiquitous network of communicating sensors that can capture, share, utilize and store data, including personal data and often without consent.
“In 2003, the US Government began the most ambitious Artificial Intelligence program in its history called the ‘Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes’ or CALO”. The CALO project was primarily funded through DARPA and research was mainly conducted at Stanford University (Stanford), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and SRI International (SRI).
The CALO project overview from Stanford informs us that, “CALO as an adaptive agent, is incredibly complex…At CALO's heart is the ability to take autonomous control…As CALO…adapts its behaviour over time, there is an underlying assumption that there will be a user in the loop whom CALO is serving”. And this document from the ‘Internet of Things’ European Research Cluster, states (p.84) that “The IoT needs to handle virtually all modes of operation by itself without relying on human control.”
After the CALO project concluded in 2007, SRI spun-off Siri which was acquired by Apple. Siri is able to answer questions and follow instructions because Siri is able to follow what an individual is saying by using speech and voice recognition technology. By having people speak to Siri in many different languages, it will be possible to determine what languages/dialects/accents Siri has most problems with and then refine Siri as necessary. CALO and Siri are adaptive systems that use machine learning to adapt their behaviour over time.
Deborah L. McGuiness and Nova Spivack worked on the CALO project and both are associated with the ‘Tetherless World Research Constellation’ (TW). Here, Nova Spivack discloses that his company consulted to the CALO project regarding Semantic Web development, as he interviews the CTO of Siri.
On Facebook, Siri is being integrated with face recognition technology, so that users can update their status messages by vocal command, while having their face and voiceprint matched. And to help match the face & voiceprint of an individual who doesn’t use facebook, or who may never have been online, the all-seeing-screen is capable of taking pictures of an individual, which could then be matched with photos at the Passport office, DVLA, Workplace, University, College, etc. It is possible that all-seeing-screens are already being used in products such as Apple iPhones and iPads and that Siri is still listening even when an Apple device is switched off.
Siri can answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions, by delegating requests to a set of Web Services. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines a ‘Web service’ as, "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network”. W3C was founded by the inventor of the World-Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, with support from the European Commission and DARPA. Tim Berners-Lee leads the global collaboration on Semantic Web development and is also a member of TW, which has received funding from DARPA, NSF, IARPA, ARL, KAUST, Lockheed Martin, SRI, Fujitsu and IBM.
In 2010 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the creation of a fibre that can detect and emit sound. This article states that, “Applications could include clothes that are themselves sensitive microphones for capturing speech…”. Clothes that can listen.
With 7 billion+ people on earth, there are potentially billions of conversations taking place, in different languages, worldwide, everyday. So how do government(s) propose to monitor billions of conversations each day? And not only monitor each conversation, but also identify those conversations where what is being discussed indicates that one or more of the participants is likely to be a threat to other people and/or property and/or the state? The use of ‘machine listening’ seems to be the answer, with listening-sensors in/on a whole range of consumer products, human-made structures and natural features. These could include clothing, fabrics, phones, tablets, televisions, household appliances, workplace equipment, buildings, street furniture, road signs, vehicles, aircraft, boats, ships, and many locations both indoors and out.
Just as government agencies can monitor and filter e-mails people send, context-aware machine listening could possibly be used to listen for certain spoken words and phrases, which would indicate that an individual or group of individuals, communicating by speech, are likely to be a threat to other people and/or property and/or the state. A simplistic way to explain how this might work is that the personal details and other info of the 7billion+ people on earth would be on a database. Whenever an individual says what is considered by government to be an inappropriate word or phrase, the individual is given a negative mark. Every so often CALO (or another adaptive system) queries the database to ascertain how many negative marks each individual has. The number of negative marks that each individual has accumulated could then be used to help identify, potential criminals, activists, troublemakers, ringleaders and so-forth, based on the kind of subject matter each individual prefers to discuss.
June 6th 2012 was the global launch date of IPv6 that will apparently allow for over 340 trillion trillion trillion objects to be connected to the IoT. That’s enough for every atom on the surface of the earth to have 100 IP addresses according to Cisco. International co-operating satellites and Internet routing in space takes IP ubiquity to a whole new level. Surveillance systems such as INDECT and SAPIENT are part of the IoT. Cisco’s Internet Routing In Space (IRIS) extends "IP access to areas not covered by traditional ground networks...delivering consistent and pervasive IP capabilities regardless of geographic location.” 'Whitespaces' will also give the IoT access to geographical locations that can pick up radio or TV signals. Whitespaces’ are unused radio frequencies and the spaces left after the transition from analogue to digital TV. This BBC news article regarding face & voice recognition technology in televisions states that, "We're working on face recognition that will be used to identify each member of the family…". And this article about the ‘BBC Perceptive Media Experiment ’ claims that "…TV hardware could automatically recognize who was watching [TV]…” It is quite possible that miniature cameras such as those in all-seeing-screens and the use of facial recognition technology will eventually be incorporated into windows and mirrors.
The European Network and Information Security Agency, claims in a document about behavioural biometrics that, “It is now possible to extract information about the thoughts of a person from brain activity.” While IBM forecasts for 2016 include smartphones and devices that can read your mind. In 2011 the ITU held a conference regarding ‘The Fully Networked Human’, with a section dedicated to the views of extremely advanced minds, entitled “Make possible the impossible: THE CHIP IN THE BRAIN"..If you go to ‘51 mins 45 secs’ in this BBC video entitled ‘Playing God’ you can see how programmed nano-devices are being developed to target specific neuro-receptors in the human brain. It could also be the intention of government(s) to eventually have nano-devices that are programmed to attach to specific locations in the human auditory system, so that even when something is spoken in a whisper, it can be overheard by the IoT.
Nanotechnology enables the miniaturisation of electronics such as circuits, sensors, optics, and other devices that make use of precious metals. Using less precious metals reduces production costs. The field of nanotechnology is rapidly advancing and it's a field in which scientists are trying to manipulate things at the molecular and atomic level. Microrobots designed using biomimicry principles are being developed that have a flagella propulsion system derived from bacteria. "This can enable a microrobot to travel independently within the human body..."
At some future point, when a nano-device for human implantation is manufactured, the nano-device need not contain the personal and biometric details, medical records or other information about an individual before being implanted. The nano-device would possibly get into the human body via food/drink, injection or medication. Once inside the human body, the nano-device migrates and attaches to a location in the human body where it is less likely to be dislodged. When an individual passes an RFID-reader, the RFID-reader gets the ID number of the nano-device while the surrounding face-recognition techology and other biometric technology positively identify the individual. Once satisfied that the individual has been positively identified, personal details and other info about the correct individual can then be electronically transfered to the correct nano-device. Transfer of information can be done by any embedded sensor that is interoperable with the nano-device.
An implanted nano-device would become an individual’s means of identification that contained all of their personal details, biometrics, and other information. If the government switched off an individual’s nano-device, they would become a non-citizen and officially no longer exist. The individual would no longer have ID that connected them to any kind of contract or official documentation and as a result of that, their tenancy, mortgage and/or property deeds would be rendered void and they would be made homeless. The non-citizen would no longer have employment or access to benefits; they would be unable to access any finances they have in a bank/building society; they would be unable to buy food without ID and they would be unable to access emergency services, medical services or central/local government services. Without ID the non-citizen would lose access to just about everything and there would probably be severe repercussions for any citizen(s) who tried to help a non-citizen. The first ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is in December 2012. Many people believe that the United Nations is going to try and take over the Internet. It is up to us to ensure that they don’t.
Ken Craggs. @BetweenMyths