Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Droneveillance, and blogging for the International Symposium on Technology and Society

Lately I've found myself blogging for the International Symposium on Technology and Society, or ISTAS. It's an annual conference sponsored by IEEE (the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers), which as its name suggests, focuses on the impact that evolving technologies have on everyday life. This year's conference will pay special consideration to the future of the smart infrastructure and surveillance:
In a world of smart things like smart lights, smart toilets, smart grids, smart meters, smart roads, and the like, what happens when you have "smart people" (i.e. put sensors on people)? What do we make of the growing numbers of businesses like department stores and restaurants that prohibit cameras, yet display QR codes that require cameras to read and understand?
It's not just about surveillance, either. Surveillance has a specific meaning, which refers to observing people or objects from an elevated position.That means surveillance is conducted by law enforcements and governments. Sousveillance, on the other hand, means observing or recording from below. When average citizens, as opposed to the government, do the recording, that's sousveillance.

How about droneveillance? Unlike fixed cameras, drones are highly mobile platforms for a variety of remote sensing devices. They're agile, relatively silent (depending on the altitude), and can even fly indoors. They've gotten especially smart at negotiating obstacles and mapping unfamiliar terrain, and they can work as a team to provide comprehensive monitoring.

All of these capabilities mean the surveillance game has changed. But thanks in great part to the open-source and "maker" movements,  sousveillance also has changed.

I'll be talking about how drones fit into the veillances, the smart infrastructure of the future, drones as augmented reality, drone journalism and more on the ISTAS '13 blog. But you'll also be able to catch me speak at the ISTAS conference in Toronto in June, as a plenary speaker.

Below are links to some of my recent posts at ISTAS:
Droneveillance of... a moose.
Camera drones as a tool to monitor the environment.
Introduction: drones as nodes of the smart infrastructure

Lastly, the top image on this post is of a DSLR-equipped camera drone. A very similar drone to this captured images of a bloody river, the result of a meat packing plant illegally discharging animal blood. That plant was just indicted on twelve counts of water pollution. I refer to this in my post on camera drones for environmental monitoring.