Here at Foresight we like to present a balanced picture of nanotechnology, pushing for the benefits and heading off downsides. To do this, it’s necessary to discuss those nanotech downsides especially when someone asks about them. Earth & Sky asked me, and put the audio on the web: Upcoming, said Peterson, are issues of privacy [...]
Archive for the 'Openness/Privacy' Category
At one of the Accelerating Change conferences I saw Prof. Beth Noveck introduce for the first time her ideas on improving patents via peer review. Now, the nanotechnology field will be envious to hear that another field has been chosen to carry out the first pilot project — software, as reported in IEEE Spectrum: The [...]
Keith Powers brings to our attention a claim that the German government has started collecting the chemical profiles of individuals, to be used for political purposes. From The Register in the UK: German police are compiling a Stasi-style “scent bank” database of potentially violent crusty protesters against global capitalism, according to reports. An article in [...]
In the long term, we’ll need effective security techniques for advanced nanotechnology-based systems. This will take a while to figure out, so come help us do it at an upcoming open source conference, Penguicon: Open Source-style Security for the Whole Physical World Christine Peterson, Bruce Schneier One of the biggest problems society faces this century [...]
The Institute for the Future, in a UK-funded study published on the Stanford website, presents eleven outlooks for nanotechnology over the next 50 years: • Better drug delivery through nanotechnology • Carbon nanotubes and lighter vehicles • The coming nanoshell revolution in oncology • The dream of biochemical nanocomputing • Manufacturing with programmable materials “Advent [...]
A new book by German physicist Jürgen Altmann of Dortmund University looks at Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control (Routledge, 2006). Both near-term and long-term applications are examined. From the abstract: NT applications will likely pervade all areas of the military…By using NT to miniaturise sensors, actuators and propulsion, autonomous systems (robots) could [...]
Earth & Sky interviewed yours truly on the topic of nanotechnology surveillance and nanoprivacy. It looks as though there are both a transcript and a couple of podcasts (1, 2). Excerpts: Nanotechnology will produce new sensors that can analyze chemical signals in our environment. And of course, we as individuals send off chemical signals that [...]
The popular NSF-funded Earth & Sky radio series — “illuminating pathways to a vibrant and sustainable future for over six million people daily” — has been focusing on nanotech for quite a while now (see list). Most recently is an interview (description and download) looking at the question of nanotechnology-based sensors and privacy: As technology [...]
Longtime reader Eoin Clancy from the UK brings our attention to a piece in Nature (1.6 MB pdf) by senior reporter Declan Butler on the prospect of ubiquitous sensing and computing: “Everything, Everywhere: Tiny computers that constantly monitor ecosystems, buildings and even human bodies could turn science on its head…Computers could go from being back-office [...]
Earth & Sky brings us comments on nanosurveillance: “Nanotechnology experts have suggested that nano sensors — tiny devices too small to see with the unaided eye and able to monitor sounds and physical conditions — could be put into paint and sprayed on a wall. “David Guston [Director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society [...]
Scott Rickert, chief executive of Nanofilm and a Foresight Participating Member, writes in Industry Week on his work to advance both nanotech and nanosafety: “I saw the process in action this autumn when I joined a session of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Nanotechnology Work Group. This newly formed committee, which consists of stakeholders from science, [...]
The Foresight Vision Weekend is off-the-record, so I’m not able to do real liveblogging. At the moment, we’re listening to Patrick Hopkins speak on “Who Will Hate Nanotechnology and Why?” There have been many great talks, but I’ll select just one as an example. Yesterday we heard from Peter Diamandis, Chairman of the X Prize [...]
In an Oct 17 New York Times op-ed, Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy combine forces to question the recent publication of the genome for the dangerous 1918 flu virus: “We urgently need international agreements by scientific organizations to limit such publications and an international dialogue on the best approach to preventing recipes for weapons of [...]
from the at-what-price-security? dept.
A prominent civil libertarian and member of the Foresight Board of Advisors has sued the U.S. government and two major airlines in favor of the right of U.S. citizens to travel anonymously: Suit challenges airline ID requirements
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco, John Gilmore, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that requiring ID from travelers who are not suspected of being a threat to airport security violates several amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
from the mind-reading dept.
According to a press release, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that telling a lie and telling the truth require different activities in the human brain, and this activity can be monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The findings were presented on 13 November 2001 at the national meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, CA. By identifying the brain activity associated with deception and denial, the work paves the way for improvements in lie-detection techniques. Additional coverage is available from the Washington Post (11 November 2001) and the New Scientist Magazine.
Regarding this item, RobVirkus writes "This story immediately brings to mind the book 'The Truth Machine' by James L. Halperin and may be of interest to Nanodot readers. Perhaps someday we will all be asked security questions before boarding any form of mass transportation. Why just scan for weapons when they can scan for intentions. Of course, that would not stop any unwilling and unknowing participants in diabolocal acts."
from the automated-accusations dept.
The New York Times reports ("Virus Searches for Pornography", by R. Furchgott, 11 June 2001) on a rogue computer program which searches computers for what it suspects may be child pornography and reports file names to the police, has raised legal questions and seems sure to fuel the debate over privacy.
from the a-modern-french-revolution dept.
David Forrest writes "Here's a tidbit from FAST (http://www.france-science.org/english): Many French scientists are joining the international scientific palace revolt of researchers against their publishers (in an effort to make research results more accessible than by paying thousands of dollars of subscription fees), and the CNRS has established a "Center for Direct Scientific Communication" for Internet-based publication. The Center's director denies any attempt to replace journal literature, claiming simply that there is a need for a new level of scientific communication and that the two types of venue can coexist peacefully. Other French scientists in the movement also deny a declaration of war while insisting that publicly funded labs can not afford and should not have to pay millions of francs in annual subscriptions for access to research that for the most part is produced by public funds. (Le Monde, April 21, p23, Pierre Le Hir)"
from the openness-in-government dept.
In a stunning move reported by AP wireservice, negotiators of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas will make the text public prior to finalization: "A draft text of the all-Americas free trade agreement would be made public, he said. In the past, negotiations went on behind closed doors." A victory for the growing openness movement, probably stimulated by the failure of a previous international treaty draft which was deliberately leaked by the opposition.
from the they'll-know-what-you-drank-last-night dept.
The New York Times reports that a patent has been granted on a system to scan every person passing through for explosives: "Mr. Settles says his invention could also be used to detect smuggled money, narcotics, chemical or biological warfare agents, nuclear substances like uranium, or other hazardous material. And he maintains that the skin flakes could provide samples of human DNA…" CP: If we leave our DNA everywhere we go, how can it be a personal secret?