Digital Surveillance

Overview Imagine yourself walking alone in a dark street at night and hearing the sound of footsteps behind you. Your heart beats wildly as you wonder if someone is following you. The mere idea that you are being tracked is, at the very least, unnerving. Unfortunately, various digital technologies have turned this possibility into a reality, that is, without your having to be in some dark alley.

The very same technologies that are utilized in locating a 911 caller or a missing child can be used to keep track of your whereabouts and your behavior, with or without your consent. The links below provide you with more insights into the advantages and disadvantages of tracking technologies, specifically GPS (Global Positioning System), RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and wireless networks.

General Resources Discover a wealth of information on location tracking at
www.science.howstuffworks.com/location-tracking1.htm
, including how GPS receivers work, the phases of the Enhanced 911 (E-911) wireless service, and how RFID tags might replace the UPC bar codes that the cashier scans when you go through your supermarketís checkout line. Read about more applications for GPS at www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_tracking and the specifics of vehicle tracking, which utilizes GPS, at www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Tracking. Your General Motors vehicle might already be equipped with OnStar, a tracking service that combines GPS and cellular technologies. See how OnStar works and the controversy surrounding it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OnStar and http://auto.howstuffworks.com/onstar.htm/printable.

The RFID journal (www.rfidjournal.com) covers a wide range of topics on RFID, from a glossary of terms, to FAQs, to case studies, and to the latest news on new RFID implementations. Wikipedia (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID) goes beyond the specific uses of RFID worldwide to the related security concerns and the attempts of different states to regulate RFID usage.

Controversies More news articles on the privacy issues that can arise from digital surveillance are from the following: