video

Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass?

A thought provoking article by Jon Evans of TechCrunch here.

" “First you see video. Then you wear video. Then you eat video. Then you be video.” — Pat CadiganPretty Boy Crossover
Sheesh. A whole lot of people who presumably have never actually seen Google Glass in action appear to be really upset. “People who wear Google Glass in public are assholes,” saysGawker’s Adrian Chen. “You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it,” doom-cries Mark Hurst." 

The Importance of Geotagging in BWV in Policing

"The Wolfcom 3rd Eye is more than just a Body Camera. It is a Multi-Purpose, Multi-Functional, Indispensable Law Enforcement tool that will assist officers in their everyday duties. "

http://www.wolfcomusa.com/

Transient
Transient

Why geotagging video is ultra powerful.

Yesterday Alexander Hayes and I delivered a BWV workshop at the Police Technology conference in Melbourne, Australia. I began my presentation with a backdrop to the increasing convergence between location-based services and video.

TaserCam

http://www.taser.com/products/on-officer-video/taser-cam

Courtesy: Taser

Courtesy: Taser

"The TASER CAM™ law enforcement video recorder offers increased accountability - not just for police officers, but for the people they arrest. Without video, it can be the officer's word against the suspect's word. Now with the TASER CAM recorder, every potential TASER X26 deployment can be documented with full audio and camera video."

Google Glass and Privacy Issues

An article written by Cassie Slane of BestTechie. Read more here.

But, Michael, who says she personally has no issue with Google, also believes that Google should be investigating the privacy issues surrounding Glass further before releasing this type of product, especially the legislative issues. For example, in many countries, you can’t record conversations unless you’ve made the other person aware.  She feels this lack of education as to how people will use Glass is also an issue.
“They are very well aware of the audio issue, full audio and video is one thing and its legislative impact , but the other is how this data will be used?” Michael said.  “For example, if I take a video of you, do I own the video recording?  If you are the person who’s the center of the content?  So if I want to upload this to YouTube– what does it mean for biometrics, what does it mean for social media at large?”
Michael says that the idea of using technology like Glass to capture images and video in real time is a creating a society of Uberveillance.  She describes Uberveillance as embedded surveillance in a first person view where you don’t have the right to be alone; someone is intruding on your everyday life and sharing it with a number of people.
She argues that we could become walking creators of data, similar to the way drones operate now in the sky.   She also thinks we will become more stressed because there will be no private time.  And because we will be on camera all day, everyday, we will be playing to a world audience; an airbrushed generation starring in its own reality TV show.  She also says that people will be become more distracted, much like the way we are distracted by smartphones today.

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

Capturing Memories

On the 22nd February 2013, my father-in-law, George Michael, who heralded from Paphos, Cyprus, slept in the Lord at the age of 89.

I've known my father-in-law for a good 19 years... we had lots of happy times together and we were best of friends. I cherish those memories. We never had a single argument, he always had wise words to give me that were measured, and he was my confidant. 

We would spend a great many hours together on Saturdays, or after the evening meal, just chatting about the past, and his life experiences.

Truth be known, I loved to listen to dad tell stories...

He was born in 1924 and learnt to swim in the Coral Bay Sea (in those days it was sink or swim). It always captured my imagination that he was born on the Isle of Aphrodite.

Courtesy: http://www.yourgreekgetaway.co.uk/images/photos/coral-bay-sea-caves-3.jpg

Courtesy: http://www.yourgreekgetaway.co.uk/images/photos/coral-bay-sea-caves-3.jpg

Dad gave me a view of the Great Depression in the 1930s (e.g. there was the story of how the kids in his neighbourhood would fill a sock with rocks and pretend it was a soccer ball, and feet would get bloodied and dirty during a game, and how an empty sardine tin would be put to good use in a game that was reminiscent of cricket). Later, as a direct result of these difficult years his family would lose almost all of their possessions.

He studied hard and graduated with high marks from his secondary school. He was taught by British-trained teachers and had excellent English grammar- often reminding us of the difference between a predicate and subject in a sentence. His favourite author was Homer and he could quote verbatim the opening passages of The Odyssey .

In 1948 dad migrated to Australia on a plane from Cyprus where passengers faced each other and sat on long aisle benches, carried their own parcel of home-packed food, and could see the cockpit from where they were sitting (unbelievably trips to the bathroom were limited to stopovers). The aptly named, Captain Speermint was the pilot. It took 7 days to fly to Australia and there were stops at exotic places like Sri Lanka. He recollected that the plane's door literally fell off just prior to take off from Nicosia Airport.

George Michael with MG at the University of Sydney in 1991 (MTheol graduation).

George Michael with MG at the University of Sydney in 1991 (MTheol graduation).

A few years later my father-in-law opened the Reno Cafe in Newtown, NSW, met Helen, married her and the rest is history... well that and the fact, that he spent almost 50 years at the cafe before retiring in his early 70s... he took very few days off in all these years- on Christmas Day, after a hernia operation, and to see his son graduate at university.

These memories, and many more, are tucked neatly away in my heart and mind. I don't need "inch-by-inch" video recordings of my father-in-law to recollect him. Just yesterday I saw him in a dream going about checking for letters in his letterbox at home. It was precious and the joy was in the re-telling.

In 2002 when George began to have complications with his heart and I began to consider embarking on parenthood, I decided to take a few video tapes conversing with him for his grandchildren, "just in case"... I prompted him in a structured interview and without 'air and pomp' (given the modest man that he always was), he delivered his stories one by one. We did three almost hour-long videos together, and by the end of it, dad had exhausted the "best of" stories.

Years later it got me thinking... what we each hold close to us can possibly only be verbalised in no more than 3-5 hours. Trivialities aside, it is not what we say in words that makes a life... it is who we are that counts. 

Memoirs too, seldom fill more than 1000 pages, and most stand at a consumable 230 pages or thereabouts.

Do we really need every moment captured on video? What does it profit us if we do?

Yes- I have to admit. It would have been incredible to catch a glimpse of dad when he was born, to hear his first cry. It would have been great to see him playing one of those childhood games I described above, happy and carefree, even during the Great Depression. To see his parents and what they were like, to catch a glipmse of two siblings who lost their lives early. It would have been deeply moving  to see him graduate with "Arista" from his high school, working in the Bauxite mines, later as a member of the British Military Administration during WWII, on the plane to Australia, and when he first opened his beloved cafe.

Courtesy: Michael Family Archives  Picture taken of George Michael circa early 1950s at his beloved Reno Cafe, Newtown where he spent close to half a century.

Courtesy: Michael Family Archives

Picture taken of George Michael circa early 1950s at his beloved Reno Cafe, Newtown where he spent close to half a century.

But actually, when I really think about it, I have all that I need, quality time spent with him, not footage of him. I have about 25 photographs that are priceless to my family, like this one above. I have this very photograph on my kitchen wall. I'd like to remember him just like this. Here he is circa early 1950s, in 341 King St, Newtown. The old Holdens can be seen in the reflection of the mirror. This photo encapsulates my father-in-law- what more would I need? The mystery of his person lives on free of any human limitations.

Storytelling is an art. It is calculated, not full of details that often mean very little. Every part of our life does not have to be action-jammed. It just has to be "our" life, special for what it is.

Nowadays, we are placing undue pressure on our younger generation by the apps we are building. My students tell me that "status updates" need to always be exciting... that you need to be seen always doing something, and to look cool, hip and great in photos or video... inventions like Digital Glass could only exacerbate this expectation and will add even more moment-to-moment pressure on people.

But the reality is that the simple question "what are you doing now?" does not have to be answered every 2 minutes... life happens moment by moment of course, but our milestones take in effect decades to accomplish, even a lifetime in some contexts. We might be getting better at quantifying the banalities of life- but what about qualifying life?

When MG Michael, Roba Abbas and I ran a GPS data logger experiment in 2008, we soon realised that our participants were more preoccupied with increasing their waypoint count and to be documenting that they had done more than other participants, than by the quality of the activity(ies) they were engaged in. One participant would say: "I've done 10,000+ waypoints today", and another would say "but I've only done 400". One of the biggest learnings for me personally came, when the participant who had done an average of 400 waypoints per day documented that he had a "boring life" in his daily diary and that all he did was study. On the one-hand I agreed with him that maybe, it would be good to get more fresh air, but on the other hand I told him that if he had done 10,000+ waypoints that would leave very little time for study. Moving around a lot geographically, and being busy, between work, home, and university, and social events does not always necessarily equate to quality of life, just quantity. You could do 10,000+ waypoints and be miserable for being so busy, and do 400 waypoints and think you are king of the castle.

My father-in-law slept, worked, and lived in his beloved Reno Cafe and was one of the most content people I've ever met. His waypoint count on most days would have been condensed into a 30 by 10 metre shop front and not been more than 400 waypoints most certainly... What does it mean then to be content in today's terms?

This brings me to my next point... how technology is encroaching the sacred space of meditation. Yes, we can learn from reflecting on video we take of ourselves, active in an event. But actually, what we really need is some time to reflect alone, in quiet and in secret. We come to this realisation repeatedly when we are suffering (for example, during relationship issues, in sickness, or in the passing of a loved one). In fact, MG has often commented to me since the passing of his father, that although he was certainly grateful for the many people that surrounded him and his mother during those first difficult days, he longed for a solitude, to grieve alone.
Social media, smart phone, the cloud and the rest, have meant that we are invariably connected with technology, and yet not connected with oneself, our spiritual side. Certainly I have found, from my personal experience, the more I have become engaged in the wireless Internet in general, the less time I have had to meditate, or read texts of an inspiring nature. Or perhaps my motivation has dwindled as a result of the instantaneous nature of all these mediums and I have not forced myself to retract.
Interruptions via mobile phone have meant time away from loved ones (even though I consider myself rigid with its use). "Web sites", even like this one, have meant less hours sleep, despite that it is "my work..." The list goes on. I am not talking about work-life balance but something deeper about what we have become, questions of ontology and metaphysics, and pondering on what we might become with those things which are being predicted, if we do not acknowledge some of the probable drawbacks of new technologies...

And now back to my father-in-law... a few more thoughts in closing. He was always one for innovation.

In Cyprus the cafe (kafenio) his father owned had the first wireless radio in the town, and men would gather from Peyia to listen to this great and awesome machine. In Sydney, dad bought one of the first televisions available in Newtown...

Transient
Courtesy: http://cdn.dipity.com

Courtesy: http://cdn.dipity.com

He could see clearly how computers could improve business operations. And was always amazed by such things as text-to-speech synthesizers, biometrics and the like. 

He was proud of working hard and having the ability to purchase things... and he thought it was important to keep up with the change, lest one fall behind. But he only ever used technology when it was really needed, not because he had to. There is a discernible difference.

Finally, I think about what dad's life might have looked like from the outside if it was wholly video recorded. Perhaps words some content analysts might have used would have been "plain", "simple", "monotonous", "repetitive", "routine". But it certainly was far from that. The analysts might have segmented his life in several stages:-

Snapshot 1: The Great Depression: Growing up with very little, going to school and studying hard under oil lamp, and farming the land on weekends, and with his father at the Peyia cafe serving the citizenry.

Snapshot 2: The migrant story: Arriving in Australia with enough money for one night's accommodation at the Ritz Carlton, and a single suitcase of clothes, knowing nobody.

Snapshot 3: Spending almost 50 years at the Reno, serving customers, behind the grill, ordering supplies, and mopping up.

Snapshot 4: As a father, grandfather, and husband.

That's life from the outside. Video is highly prone to misinterpretation and notorious for the exclusion of context. What matters, is things that one cannot utter or say or be seen doing. It is that warm and fuzzy feeling I get, my husband gets, and my children get when we recollect my father-in-law in our memories.

It is the estimated 5 million plates of food he and my mother-in-law, Helen, delivered in their life at the restaurant- serving others. What matters are those priceless conversations he had with his customers who loved him dearly and would come back again and again. Some of these customers walking in young men and not leaving until their own deaths almost half a century later. And then there are the stories he did not repeat often- almost shy and embarrassed to bring up in conversation- when he and Helen would in the evenings make sure to hold on to "the leftovers of the day" to pass onto the homeless and those in need.

Thanks Dad- you were the best father-in-law I could have ever hoped for! George misses your talks, Eleni your tricks, and Jeremy your hugs.

"May your memory be eternal."

Censoring with Glass - Yes, Video Has Its Limitation Too

This morning while speaking with MG Michael we talked about the limitations of wearables.

Those who argue that they wear their video recorders 24x7 need to start qualifying their statements.

There were the embarrassing Google StreetView lessons learnt when Google first began its mission- people caught in the field-of-view from a public road using their "outside dunny (toilet)" while reading their newspaper, people caught drunk to oblivion on the front of their home lawn, bus drivers "peeing" by the side-walk 'behind' a bus while thinking no one was watching and much more... Here are some examples to trigger your memories. And here is how to get yourself removed if you found yourself in a compromising photo.

Source: Her.ie http://her.ie/story/nsfw-the-awkward-moment-when-google-street-view-catches-you-in-a-compromising-position-598014  Caption reads: The good news is that Google has since blurred out the image, so there’s no chance of the couple being identified by their pants.

Source: Her.ie http://her.ie/story/nsfw-the-awkward-moment-when-google-street-view-catches-you-in-a-compromising-position-598014

Caption reads: The good news is that Google has since blurred out the image, so there’s no chance of the couple being identified by their pants.

Now, it's really important to note that Google don't just use cars, they also have other form factors recording- e.g. bicycles, as depicted below.

Courtesy: New York Daily News

Courtesy: New York Daily News

Here are some 2009 images from Australia!

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

The images above are conservative as opposed to some I have chosen NOT to embed into this blogpost for fear of further privacy breach to the individuals concerned.

*

As I've said in a previous post on this site, introducing Digital Glass means that we are to some extent going beyond Google StreetCars, Google StreetBicycles and the like. We are wardriving on foot now with Digital Glass, sousveilling the streets now with mobile drones; these drones just happen to be voluntary human subjects wearing one or more cameras.

But what happens when people use the toilet and the record button is on their digital glass? What happens when people go to bed? Do they take off their glass? What happens when someone is disciplining their child about an incident- are they recording the wrongdoings of the child as they try to make them understand why their actions were inappropriate? What happens when people are having an argument, and things that should never be uttered come into the fore disclosing very personal details or behaviour that was irrational in speech? What happens when you learn the news that someone has died, and feel like your whole world has collapsed around you? What happens when you are visiting a sick person in hospital who is terminally ill, and they are reduced to skin and bones? Visiting a friend in jail? The list goes on and on. Surely the camera MUST be turned off.

In our discussion this morning, MG Michael deliberated on such events, that are of a highly personal and intimate nature. He has written previously about the need for privacy in such moments in life. This does not mean, as we have written in numerous articles, that one seeks for cameras to be turned off because they are doing something wrong or wish to commit a crime but because some things are just "no-go" zones for outside viewing.

Don't be fooled- cameras on people WILL not reduce crimes! Criminals will just get better at corruption, in its manual or digital form. The more digital the corruption, the greater the potential that the stakes are higher and the corruption is of a more sinister and gross form. And I'm not just talking corporate fraud here.

So "point of eye" (PoE) as Professor Steve Mann rightly calls it, inspired some additional thoughts in MG Michael about censorship, exclusion, deletion, information representation, which are all core concepts of the limitation of living in an uberveillance society. In fact, PoE can be the manner in which one decides to censor their field of view.

Consider the following simple scenario. A male goes to the toilet. As he goes about his business he does not look down while wearing a digital camera but he looks straight ahead. This is selective recording, in a way, a type of censorship. Even worse, while the male goes to wash his hands, he takes a look into the mirror, and the reflection records someone else going to the toilet with their crown jewels in full view.

By nature, our own PoE will capture ourselves in the best light, but the other person either deliberately or accidentally in the worst light. Of course, all this will depend on prior relationships. If they are family, likely we will record them in the best light, if they are friends much the same, if they are strangers we might be indifferent...

Taking the scenario further, body worn video recorders that will soon be worn by some police and citizens alike, may/may not take footage of a given incident, depending on the lifeworld of the wearer. The incident may be 100% in their field of view, but because their "point of eye" neglects to record it by the turn of their head, the evidence is not gathered and stored for further inspection. You see, digital glass does not have a 360 degree camera view, it is not a headband that has embedded cameras at the back of our head, side, looking up and down etc. The camera is STILL in the control of the wearer, and he or she can decide what they wish to gather or exclude. This has huge implications, and till now, has not been addressed by any other academic researcher to our knowledge.

Make no mistake, while this technology may limit the extent of complaints against police regarding brutality, the limitations of video will always exist. The PoE is in the control of the beholder who comes endowed with his/her own lifeworld- it is their subjective reality. This has a great impact on evidence gathering/direct evidence in a court of law, in how police will manage prosecutions and complaint handling, and how crowdsourcing will becoming increasingly important in the field of policing to corroborate stories. We will not be complacent in the future with just ONE field of view, but multiple, and even then we will never have omniscience.

Courtesy: JesusDiaz Gizmodo

Courtesy: JesusDiaz Gizmodo

Dashcams and Accidents

When I went to ISTAS12 in Singapore almost every other taxi I entered had a dashcam. Here is why.

"The most horrifying car crash ever caught on film? Dash camera captures moment Ferrari hits taxi at high speed killing three. Both drivers and a passenger died in the high-speed smash in Singapore."

Courtesy: YouTube

Courtesy: YouTube

"Police gave no official estimate as to how fast the Ferrari was moving, but the extremely high speed of the collision is plain to see from the video."

Source here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2147513/Dash-camera-captures-horrific-fatal-crash-rare-Ferrari-hurtles-taxi.htm

In Russia dashcams have also proliferated in protecting oneself while on the road. Note- dashcams will NOT save your life, but they might make life after an accident easier as you might have primary evidence in clearing yourself of being "at fault".

See this story.

Courtesy: DOD Product

Courtesy: DOD Product

"It’s not all the fault of the elements, though. Corruption is rampant in the Russian Federation, and that’s led most motorists to take matters into their own hands. It’s not uncommon for a driver to be pulled over by the notorious Russian Highway Patrol (GAI) and harassed into paying a bribe. Dash cams afford at least a little protection from baseless accusations.
Lax law enforcement has also made is easier for organized crime to make millions from insurance scams. It’s a straightforward racket — crashes can be staged, or already damaged cars presented as evidence of a crash that never even occurred. The perpetrators can certainly produce witnesses that corroborate their version of events."" 

The following video is of a real-life event. Thankfully no one was seriously injured to my knowledge which is the only reason I am presenting the recording here.

Glass Released by Google

Glass how it feels: http://www.google.com/glass/start/

Glass what it does: http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/

How to apply: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one/

Okay... so now we're being screened and contributing to Google's marketing machine!

"We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass. We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting."

Another example of the co-creation of a product. Why trial a product the old fashioned way when you can release it to opinion leaders who can influence their networks to buy in or miss out! It worked for gmail, it will probably work for glass. Why pay a team of trouble-shooters, when you have real users awaiting. Can't wait to see the "terms and conditions" of use...

Content Guidelines as recorded by Google

"It must not be derogatory, offensive, threatening, defamatory, disparaging, libelous or contain any content that is inappropriate, indecent, sexual, profane, indecent, tortuous, slanderous, discriminatory in any way, or that promotes hatred or harm against any group or person, or otherwise does not comply with the theme and spirit of #ifihadglass.
It must not contain content, material or any element that is unlawful, or otherwise in violation of or contrary to all applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations the laws or regulations in any state where Application is created.
It must not contain any content, material or element that displays any third party advertising, slogan, logo, trademark or otherwise indicates a sponsorship or endorsement by a third party, commercial entity or that is not within the spirit of #ifihadglass, as determined by the Jury, in its sole discretion.
It must be an original, unpublished work that does not contain, incorporate or otherwise use any content, material or element that is owned by a third party or entity.
It cannot contain any content, element, or material that violates a third party’s publicity, privacy or intellectual property rights."

Limiting Glass to 8,00 explorers is an interesting concept. For related material on "scenarios" in product development read here.

Smile You're On UniComp

I began working at the University of Wollongong in 2002 when "information technology" classes meant that rooms were usually to capacity or overflowing. Large classes meant a huge investment in administration for coordinators of subjects- checking on tutorial attendance, assessment grading, and answering loads of questions during consult time. I soon developed strategies to assist those who were falling behind, or those who needed access to repeat lectures.

By session 2 of 2002, I realised that I had spent 90% of my first session of full-time teaching attending to students, and doing very little research. In a single week I had been expected to deliver 7 x 2 hour tutorials and 1 lecture. I wondered at that time where I was supposed to find the energy to get new studies off the ground, let alone finish my 'almost complete' PhD. The other matter that floated in my mind was how to retain records of what I had delivered so students who had missed lectures could catch up.

So I thought on my feet and boldly went and bought a video camera and used my old walkman to record myself. My tripod had remote controls so I could press record from afar, but after a few lectures I would give the camera to a student and ask him/her instead to record and follow me around the room. I would make copies of these artifacts manually and distribute them on a needs basis. I still have some of the remnants of those classes- VHS video tapes and audio tapes of "Business Online IACT 406". Some students even digitised my audio tapes with converters... I felt I was behind the times already.

I remember students with serious illness being grateful they could be a part of the class even though they had missed 3 weeks+ at a time, one due to chemo and another due to a motorbike accident; I remember international students feeling relieved that they could hear or see the video and when they needed to check on a word's meaning, pause the video, use their translator, and then continue on with the lesson. Students would joke at the end of a session: "Katina, I listened to 13 weeks of lectures in a single day" or "I fell asleep to the sound of your voice..." LOL! I was particularly surprised when students who were seemingly disengaged for much of the session wrestling instead with life's challenges, would stop to ponder and email me their thoughts as they got to tape 6 or 7 and engrossed by the content: "I agree with what you said in lecture 3..." or "I have a question about what you said after the break in lecture 4"... Wow, did that prompt me to go back and reflect... Having performed poorly all session, some of these students would surprise me in the final examination.

**

I graduated with a PhD in Dec 2003. At the graduation, unbeknown to me at the time, I was sitting next to Dr Richard Caladine who was the university's lead technology support guru, now manager of Learning Facilities and Technologies at UOW. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, Richard enthusiastically told me about his PhD and what was in stall for academics in the future. In 2004, he introduced "edustream"- a university rebranded audio recording system for lectures. Effectively edustream allowed people to talk into a microphone and for that lesson to be recorded and uploaded to WebCT within a few hours of the lecture delivery. Not all rooms had edustream but by 2007/08 most did. For those rooms that were not outfitted, handheld top end ZOOM recorders were used. Students could receive the lectures they had missed via streaming media, at any time or download onto an ipod for listening to at their leisure. And lecturers had statistics available to them identifying which students made use of this media etc.

I do recall myself on occasion saying to the students- "these EduStream downloads are for your eyes only- please do not pass the recordings on." Reflecting back I think this statement was redundant before I even uttered the words. On other occasions, when physical student attendance at lectures was down, especially near peak time of assessment, I would even segment the class while speaking- "for you here you obviously get what I am talking about and I am speaking to the converted", and "for you guys at home, there are no excuses, you've got to catch up asap or else you will let the rest of your group members down".

Conscientious students downloaded everything, some downloaded only what they had missed. The pressures of being a student these days almost certainly means you seek some form of employment to pay your way through university and sometimes your most productive hours are used up working for something else other than studies. I have spoken to many a taxi driver who work 9 hours a day and then somehow squeeze in full time study as well!

Edustream worked okay with slides but there was still the visual component missing. Edustream recorded what the lecturer was saying clearly, but anyone contributing a comment or a question could seldom be heard unless they went up to the microphone which most times was impractical. I would often go out of my way to ask students to read a passage, or ask the question using the microphone, so multiple voices could be heard on the Edustream and it sounded less like a "talking head". I also taught my students to listen to the sound of their voice, because they'd have to use it every day of their working life. This was particularly important to those for whom English was a second or third language!

**

In second session of 2012 I returned to full-time work after my maternity leave and was asked to participate on a trial dubbed "Echo". Echo I learnt was a complete audio AND video capture of a lecture which synched nicely to slides presented with time stamps throughout. It was extremely powerful, and the recorder was somewhere (to my knowledge) near the projector.

In my feedback to the team about Echo's success, I insisted that a number of matters had to be resolved before it went university-wide as an innovation in teaching and learning. I pointed to ethics and I pointed to policies... I noted that although I had participated in this practice myself back when I began teaching that we as an institution may have been opening up a can of worms. This is despite that everyone today is talking MOOCs. Would I offer my own content up for the world to see? Yes indeed! Would I do it right this minute? No way! Would I prefer to pick and choose which parts of the lecture to make open? Indeed! Could I be better prepared for what is coming- without a doubt.

**

More concerned with my preparation for a subject I had never taught before, Advanced Business Process Management (session 2, 2012), I turned up to the lecture without worrying much about how I looked. Same routine followed in my usual set up routine. Lecturers are alike to sportsmen and women on how they prepare "for the field". We each have our own idiosyncratic way to mentally engage and block out all else when we are in that lecturer-student (1:N) relationship (although I'd rather speak of an M:N relationship where everyone is learning from each other in a classroom).

So lecture was delivered. At any point throughout the delivery, I did not catch the camera rolling- rather I was completely oblivious to it all... tried to engage well with my new students... tried to finish on time... that went well... and then to the rest of my day. 

Soon after getting back to my desk I was prompted about the video being uploaded with email instructions to view the first episode. Wow, I thought, that's right, I had forgot about the trial, let's go in and see what this thing does!

Sure enough I found out. 

First and foremost, I was shocked to see that the camera was turned on 5 minutes before the start of class according to the clocks or according to the screen being activated. While there was no one in the room when I went in early, and all I could be seen doing was shuffling paper, and replying to email on the big screen, I felt like someone had done something they shouldn't have. I immediately held my breath for each moment from 9.25am of the recording to 9.30am of the recording! Lucky, I reflected at the end of that long five minutes, I am not one to pick my nose, and even luckier was I that I was NOT replying to a personal email, in full view of the lecture hall- although I had been captured with my inbox open and replying to a general administrative matter! Goodbye privacy I thought, hello world!

Sure enough I skipped big portions of the lecture delivery. It was all there, and magnificently synced up to my powerpoint slides. How much better was Echo I thought than Edustream! Where was this technology 10 years ago?

The only glitch that occurred was that there was no audio recorded for that first lecture I delivered with Echo. I always use a radio microphone so I can be heard clearly, and it turns out that when I elevated my radio microphone and turned off the lecturn microphone I muted the Echo's audio capture. So interesting I thought- this thing would tie my movements down in proximity to the lecturn microphone, and would mean that if I was to be seen in the video, I would have to stay put and be animated, rather than cover the space of the floor. In addition, only the students in the first few rows could be heard, and not right at the back!

**

Back to the matter of ethics and policies...

It was in second session in 2003, when I routinely took in my video recorder to a class, that one of my domestic students said "you know what you are doing Katina is illegal". Hmm... I must admit that that made me nervous initially... That simple statement gave way to a 30 minute conversation- it had to be addressed. And I have to be honest it concerned me straight away because under no circumstance was I doing this to cause harm to anyone.

I had just come into academia and I knew from life experience that a simple exception could break down processes. I talked it through with the whole class, at all times being respectful to the accusation that what I was doing was "illegal." I did not in any way demean or sideline the student but I did find myself saying to him- "if you do not wish to be recorded I will not record you and respect your wishes, but for the purposes of this class, individual reflection and enhancement, I will be taping individuals so that they can see themselves deliver a presentation and improve. Is there anyone else who does not wish for their seminar to be recorded?" I remember one other hand going up. I noted it. I also knew from my preliminary ethics training that I was not about to use the content for research purposes, and my camera was overt, and I did ask for oral consent upon the objection of "being recorded" so that probably I was "safe" from further scrutiny.

The overwhelming response from my class was positive (it was IACT304, Principles of eBusiness, and any student reading this post from that class would remember the moment well). I also remember the impact that the recordings had particularly on my international students- most loved the opportunity to be recorded and asked if they could keep the recordings of themself presenting, so they could send them back to their parents and siblings whom they missed incredibly. The video was a way for their parents to see the benefits of their labours in paying upfront fees, in addition to feeling some pride for a job well done. This was echoed to me many times by students.

I also would take lots of photos in the early years, and many students appreciated this. I remember my university days like they were yesterday- I have NO visual records of me at university in my bachelors degree however, save for a single photo the degree coordinator took of us at orientation day.

This incident in 2003, did make me ponder deeply however... very deeply... I started to research Surveillance Device Acts, Privacy Acts in Australia and the like... little did I know back then that I'd become so enthralled in this statement "what you are doing is illegal by taping us" that I'd spend a good ten years researching the issue and thereafter specialising in new technologies and their social implications! In fact, today, I am the Vice Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation...

In my first tutoring position at the University of Wollongong in 2001 (IT Strategic Planning IACT201) while I was still employed for Nortel Networks full-time. Evident from this photograph that the majority of the class were internationals. I had just travelled to China the preceding year and had been exposed to numerous cultures throughout my working life- I thrived given my background and experience, connecting easily with students from all over the world. That's me in the centre... wearing my Silk Market Beijing-bargain GAP jacket for $35 AU. But that's a completely different story of how I came to teach IT and Social Responsibility much later...   Copyright: Katina Michael

In my first tutoring position at the University of Wollongong in 2001 (IT Strategic Planning IACT201) while I was still employed for Nortel Networks full-time. Evident from this photograph that the majority of the class were internationals. I had just travelled to China the preceding year and had been exposed to numerous cultures throughout my working life- I thrived given my background and experience, connecting easily with students from all over the world. That's me in the centre... wearing my Silk Market Beijing-bargain GAP jacket for $35 AU. But that's a completely different story of how I came to teach IT and Social Responsibility much later... 

Copyright: Katina Michael

My feedback to the technical team trialing Echo was detailed. I will not rehash the contents of my personal correspondence.

I will simply say for anyone wishing to do something similar in their own institution, that some general concerns may include:

  1. How can the instructor be made aware of when the AV recording starts and stops? Is there an LED signal or something that can be used?
  2. Is there an option to mute BOTH the audio and video at any point in time? E.g. at break time when students approach the lecturn with private matters and there must be confidentiality ensured. It is easy to forget the microphone is recording everything even when you take a break.
  3. Who has access to the recordings? The technology administration team? Your students? Your subject coordinator? Your degree coordinator? Your supervisor? Your head of school? Your dean? Your Vice Chancellor? How will it be used?
  4. While the recording device is pointing at the lecturer, what of the voices that can be heard in the background? What about if students are asked to come up to the lecturn and present in an ad-hoc manner?
  5. What if these recordings make it public to the Internet? How can you prove who posted it? How can you control this flow of distribution? [The real answer is that you cannot but still some training must be granted to students and educators about what is and is not acceptable- different institutions will have different rules. The Copyright Act just won't cut it these days.]
  6. Does it make sense that the rich media component of AV recordings of lectures be integrated into an institution's Social Media policy, or is a different policy required?
  7. Will it one day become mandatory for staff to be recorded for validation purposes regarding student complaints? Absenteeism? Quality of teaching material etc?
  8. Given 7, will lecturers be able to "shoot back" at the class to ensure an equal footing in evidence gathering?
  9. For how long should these recordings be stored? Retention/physical lifetime expectancy? Does it depend on the subject material?
  10. What about recording tutorials? Is there a difference between recordings structured lectures and tutorials?
  11. What if a student does NOT wish to be heard in an Echo AV recording yet still wishes for the right to ask a question as a fee paying student?
  12. What are the risks associated with these recordings? Are there any?
  13. Is a lecture hall a public space or a private space?

Recently we had a European academic join our faculty. In our end of year assessment meeting in 2012, I raised the "innovation in teaching" aspect with respect to my subject. My colleague was alarmed to learn that lecturers could be recorded. And when I identified the matter that some students may object to being recorded in the future, the individual was even more alarmed- they turned to me and said "you are worrying about the student privacy, but what about the privacy of the academic?" 

My colleague did not have to convince me with their argument- I understood it very well. I did not claim to have the answers... I also did not dismiss their claims... they are valid. It is always contextual and more importantly jurisdictional. My academic network know too well, that I have always stressed the "risks" associated with these new innovations and how they are used- anyone who says otherwise is not looking at the potential for harms against the person- very real possibilities.

There was also one other matter my new colleague raised with us which had to do with the intimacy of a class and the relationship/rapport that one builds with their students. Long serving lecturers will tell you, even when they are being peer reviewed, that an additional "external" body can create a different climate in the class. It can throw some individuals completely to know they are being watched, or to know they are being recorded... it changes the dynamics of relationships, and there is a chance you are not teaching to your students, but teaching to the other constituents- in a way playing to "a theatre".

The greatest classes I have ever taught have been extremely non-traditional. I don't break any rules, but I will go on the vibe of the class, think on my feet, and let the passion run- despite that I teach what others perceive to be a "dry" discipline- information technology. I teach to the human spirit, not to the text book and some of the best lessons I have given have had to do with more abstract aspects of life than of set conceptual principles. I try to marry the two up because that is what makes for long serving life-long reflection. At least that is what my students tell me.

"Tick box" teaching is what should be opposed in some parts of the curriculum that lend themselves more to "unstructured structure" ... creativity is vital for classes to live and breathe. How audio-visual recordings will be used in the classroom remains to be seen. For some it will be liberating, for others it will be debilitating. It is certainly not for everyone. But as we move into the MOOC space we need to teach our younger academics coming through, that they must be good communicators, must be able to deliver in a vibrant way, and must be able to get across key messages in their work, because it is likely their lessons will be streamed to the Internet for all to watch! Those that excel in these aspects, will excel in their careers.

The question is how some disciplines might come on board? Teaching maths as opposed to marketing as opposed to law is very different. And what will it mean when everyone brings in a camera to film everything in their point of view- will there be any limits? And how will this translate to high schools, and even primary schools. Not much has been written on the narrow field of "visual surveillance"- but I would recommend the readings of Professor Roger Clarke here. It might be that in the future it is not a fixed device taking a recording of the class, but a drone that has a fly-through capability and a 360 degree view of proceedings- now wouldn't that be handy?

BTW, see more about the UniComp motif in the post's subject header here- thanks Jeremy Pitt and Ira Levin of course!

Lifestyle Behavious & Health

Understanding the relationships between lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes can be enhanced by the use of wearable cameras, concludes a collection of studies in a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Three studies report on the latest preventive medicine research using Microsoft’s wearable camera, the SenseCam.
“Wearable cameras and their associated software analysis tools have developed to the point that they now appear well suited to measure sedentary behavior, active travel, and nutrition-related behaviors,” says author Aiden R. Doherty, PhD, from the Department of Public Health at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. “Individuals may recall events more accurately after reviewing images from their wearable cameras, and in addition aspects of their immediate cognitive functioning may also improve.”

Read more

Barbie's Video Girl POV

Who's point of view? Necklace POV.

Here is metadata for a paper I presented at a Cybercrime Symposium in 2011 that discussed the possibility that the Barbie might be used in the production of child pornography. This research was prompted by a cybercrime alert issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Sacramento.

"The FBI has issued a "cyber crime alert" for a new Barbie doll that comes equipped with a tiny hidden video camera in her chest, saying the toy could be misused to make child porn." Reuters.

The Cybercrime alert by the FBI quoted Jenny Shearer, a FBI spokewoman:

•"There have been no reported incidents of this doll being used as anything other than as intended," said FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer.
•"For clarification purposes, the alert's intent was to insure that law enforcement agencies were aware that the doll, like any other video-capable equipment, could contain evidence and to not disregard such an item during a search," she said.
•Shearer added that the Situational Information Report had been "taken out of context" in the media and "our intent was to aid law enforcement in evidence gathering."

And here is a blog post by Alexander Hayes on the topic at large.

Another video can be found below.

Video Forensic Expert

Transient

A blogpost on the future of body worn video by a video forensic expert. 

"Our right to privacy is nonexistent in public. No longer can we assume we are having a private conversation if we are outside our home. Is this good or bad news?"
"I suspect that one day in the future our government will pass legislation on video recorded evidence that will be presented in the court room. In the mean time, good and bad guys will continue to purchase these body worn cameras and use them to record conversations that document activity verbally and visually. That way there is little doubt as to what was discussed or what went on during the audio and video recorded conversation."

More here.