Infrastructure Mediated Sensing of Whole-Home Human Activity

Presented at HOPE Number Nine (2012), July 13, 2012, 11 a.m. (60 minutes)

Devices are being developed to monitor what you do in your home. Even without Orwell’s telescreen (which is under development), there is a lot of information that can be collected about your Activities of Daily Life. The beneficial goals of these devices include promoting positive things like water conservation, helping people improve their personal health, and monitoring people in assisted living environments. This talk will describe the technology of the devices used to collect and transmit this data, and discuss some of the social, ethical, political, economic, privacy, and legal issues raised. What could go wrong? Could these systems be used by governments to micromanage personal behavior? Could employers use these systems to regulate employees’ off-duty behavior? Could such data be used to convict people in court? Could this data be stolen, abused, or falsified? The answer for each of these questions is “yes.”


  • John McNabb
    John McNabb is Principal of InfraSec Labs, which researches security issues of critical infrastructures. His talk at HOPE Number Nine is a slight tangent from his current research, which focuses primarily on security issues of the national drinking water infrastructure. John has published several papers on the subject and recently wrote a chapter on drinking water security for the book Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, 2nd Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2012).


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