A world under nano-surveillance
25 May, 2007 03:55 pm
Nanosurveillance, that is surveillance assisted by nanotechnology, constitutes one of the most hotly contested issues at the center of this technological revolution. Some foresee amazing contributions in health, the environment, security, and of course, the economy. Others worry that governments, the private sector, individuals might violate privacy of other individuals.
Nanotechnology can improve surveillance in a number of ways. Nanosensors, already in a developmental phase, analyze in real time the chemical composition of the air. Some laboratories are working on ultra-miniaturized cameras. Finally, chips implanted in the human body could soon help individuals to be located.
These technologies could prove to be very useful: nanosensors could allow an area to be secured, for example an airport, and to detect the presence of a bomb. Chip implants have been thought up to track people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
They also have a dark side. Nanosensors could analyze the DNA of individuals present in an area allowing for a personalized surveillance. The implants are able to analyze the consumption of their carriers (food, drugs…). The risk of personal privacy is real and multiple. For example, insurance companies may want to use this technology to better evaluate the risks. In the end, the question is what level of surveillance are we willing to accept?