John Thackara reports:

Five threats are identified in a report from a powerful European consortium: Surveillance of users; spamming; identity theft; malicious attacks (on AmI systems); and a cultural condition they describe as ‘digital divide’.

The research consortium – whose members include the Fraunhofer Institute, the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel – has been asked to investigate ‘Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence’ (hence its embarrassing acronym, SWAMI).

In a 200+ page interim report, the team reviews the state of the art in AmI. Their initial conclusion is that ‘ambient intelligence technology violates most of currently existing privacy-protecting borders’.

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