Wearable technology has gotten the most attention when used by health fanatics, but it is slowly impacting society at large. Here are 4 ways wearable technology is transforming the world of security. We’ll address how wearable tech affects sectors from corporate security to prisons, whether it reduces risks or introduces new ones.
Staying Out of Prison but Under the Watchful Eyes
Wearable cuffs are being used to keep teens out of prison. In New York City, teens who cannot make bail are often sent to Riker’s Island, where they are prone to attacks and often learn the “tricks of the trade” from hardened criminals. In a pilot program that copies the ankle bracelets used in parole departments in Indiana, it tracks the ankle bracelet on the teen via GPS. It is connected to an app on their smartphones so they can communicate directly with their parole officers, such as letting the officer know they need to go to a doctor’s appointment or will be out past curfew attending a school event. The smaller bracelet is more discrete, so there is less stigma against these accused youths. And they can continue to attend school, work after school and participate in other activities, increasing the odds they’ll stay out of trouble long term.
Simpler, Safer Prison Management
RFID technology built into inmate identification cards and tracking bands allows prisons to track individuals accurately and quickly with far less potential for fraud. The RFID sensors in the bracelets and ID cards can be used to process payments from someone’s account when buying items from the prison store without the risks posed by giving them cash. It lets administrators track purchasing activity by individuals for potential problems like someone pressured to buy items for others or buying an excessive amount of an item that could be misused. Access control is far simpler when handled automatically, while the access control systems for common areas and different sections of the prison create logs that can be checked later for suspicious patterns. For example, Prisoner B is standing next to A every time he buys items he doesn’t normally buy.
Replacing Passwords with Personal Jewelry
Forget using a password followed by a pass code for personal authentication; many businesses are using badges with RFID tracking systems embedded in them to verify that the person is who they say they are. Yet a badge can be stolen and used in conjunction with the password, and the badge is an obvious target. This has led some businesses to hide the RFID identifier in more discrete forms like jewelry. Rings, pins and bracelets are all possibilities. In fact, an NFC ring was crowdfunded in Kickstarter, and it can be used both for authentication on personal computers and smart phones and smart locks. These forms of “personal” jewelry avoid the dystopian nightmare of companies asking employees to be embedded with an RFID chip if they want to keep their jobs. When you leave the company, you give the ring with the tag back instead of seeking surgery to remove an RFID chip after the merely emotionally painful firing.
Personal Wearables Impacting Corporate and National Security
It is common practice in Europe to require everyone to take out their cell phones and remove the batteries before a private meeting starts so that it is not recorded by one party. Some types of personal wearable technology bring the same risks. It is obvious that someone wearing Google Glass could record company proprietary information while broadcasting it to the world. A personal wearable device tracking distance walked could inadvertently provide a map of a secure area and proof that someone works there, information spies would love to have.
Wearables are changing the world of security in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. New wearable technology makes it easier for parolees to continue living without violating rules, improves security for businesses and it is making prisons safer by streamlining operations while creating logs that can be reviewed later if necessary.