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Wearable Sensors to Improve Soldier Post-Action Reports

posted by:Alex Cameron // 03:28 PM // May 15, 2006 // Surveillance and social sorting

Wearable Sensors to Improve Soldier Post-Action Reports

Future combat gear may feature wearable sensors, including cameras and audio pick-ups, to enhance the soldier's "situational awareness" and after-action reports as a result of the ASSIST project. ... A soldier’s after-action mission report can sometimes leave out vital observations and experiences that could be valuable in planning future operations. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is exploring the use of soldier-worn sensors and recorders to augment a soldier’s recall and reporting capability. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is acting as an independent evaluator for the “Advanced Soldier Sensor Information System and Technology” (ASSIST) project. NIST researchers are designing tests to measure the technical capability of such information gathering devices.

For those who remember my question at the team meeting, I thought this article was pretty interesting.

First, this picture of the soldier shows that Steve Mann is far ahead of the US military in terms of technology! I mean, the other soldiers must make fun of this guy with the camera on his helmet.

Second, and more on point with my question, I think the person collecting the info here is very interesting. Recall that part of my question was whether Steve had accounted for the possibility that the information gathered by the sousveiller would be more likely to be used against them than for them. As many people in this field know, privacy-invasive or rights diminishing measures are often tested first on soldiers and prisoners. Perhaps it is a coincidence that it is a soldier here but maybe it's evidence that there's something to my question. And recall that in the 'real world', it's not just an issue of the evidence being used against someone who shoplifts, it's a more general use of the information 'against' or to profile the individual that was part of my question.

Maybe some might consider this example as an example of surveillance of employees (because the military owns the tapes). However, if everyone's sousveillance tapes were accessible to others (through discovery in litigation) or other ways, then really what is the difference between sousveillance and surveillance.

Full story here


i agree with you alex that it all comes down to who owns/controls the data.

my worry has always been that steve's technology would be co-opted by power groups who would NOT use it to level the playing field...

as val has said on many occasions, it matters very much who has the power to construct social facts from the data.

Posted by: ian at May 15, 2006 05:14 PM

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