Aml Scenario I

Having planned their wedding some 12 months earlier, the Craggs are on honeymoon for two weeks in Crete. This, due to circumstance, coincides with the imminent delivery of their first child whose announcement came as a ‘happy surprise’ some months earlier.


Scene 1: It’s all Greek to me

Their late arrival at ‘Hotel Warwikakis’ in the city periphery the night before had, on the whole, been uneventful. David had previously opted not to allow his intelligent home to send a public version of his family preferences agent to their hotel in advance, and instead accepted that, because of this, they ‘may not be able to provide for all specific needs on the first night’. However he hadn’t figured on the Greeks being a little slow on the uptake of new technology, and so despite trying to use his MyComm personal communication device to upload the data at the reception desk, he found he was unable to because their system did not use the latest international standard.

Despite this, after converting the profile agent to an older format and answering a few questions related to the types of personal data the hotel was allowed to read from their agent and for how long they wished their preferences to be stored by the hotel, they enjoyed a room lit and heated to their approximate preferred comfort levels, classical music piped through the suite’s music system, and the television channels ordered to reflect their tastes.

After a good night’s sleep, the day had started abruptly at 06.45 by a wake-up alarm call. Unfortunately neither David nor Li-lian wished to get up at that time, but during the conversion to the older format, the MyComm had been switched out of holiday mode, and as such had assumed today was like any other typical working day. This was rapidly rectified.

Some time later, after getting out of bed, Li-lian decides that she is too exhausted to venture outside that morning, so she opts to stay at the hotel while David does some sightseeing. As part of Li-lian’s travel-insurance policy, she is wearing a MediCheck health-monitoring system which monitors her continually for anomalous physiological changes. David ensures that his MyComm device is listed to receive alerts, and authorises the device to contact the hotel reception in the event of an emergency. As is default with such devices, in line with Greek law, the local emergency service is authorised automatically to be contacted. 

Scene 2: Meeting the local location services

David was never one for shopping, but when away always has a look around the local shops. Like many cities, the centre is littered with international clothing stores, most of which use RFID tag scanners in the doorway so as to scan for tags in clothing and accessories to work out what the customer wears and thus to create a rough profile of them. Additionally, most shops welcome the ad hoc automatic upload of shopping agents from personal communicators so as to create a list of offers and discounts to help tempt the customer. By default, David has such options disabled on his MyComm device, and having felt a sense of personal invasion when, for example, the shop is able to alert him to discounts on his type of underpants based on the RFID tag data, he opted to subscribe to an online tag-swap site which periodically sends him credit-card sized plastic tokens stuffed full of random RFID tags designed to confuse the shop’s profiling agents. His favourite one apparently registers him as wearing a sombrero and carrying eight kilos of jam.

After a bit on an amble around the local area, David wants to find some food. Having heard of the local dolmathes, he is interested in trying them, but he also has some dietary requirements that he needs to be wary of. David’s MyComm device is a 5th-generation mobile device with many useful functions and access to location-based services. One of his favourites is the locator service which enables the device to pin-point his location and seeks out places of interest to him – in this case restaurants. David’s device is also equipped with MInD, a mobile device identity manager which allows him to specify a range of partial identities which he can use when accessing such online services. David enables the service and selects restaurant finder. Then he selects his ‘personal food finder’ profile which stores details of his dietary requirements and then selects ‘local food’ and ‘time sync’, which tells the service to look for items relevant for the current time. After a few moments, the MyComm indicates that the service is requesting further details – in this case his location. David authorises the transfer and a list of appropriate places appears on the screen. David is also notified by his device that he can update his iConcert database via the same service provider using the information he has already sent. iConcert is a plug-in for his MyComm that monitors his music library and generates a personalised list of upcoming concerts in his local area. The filtering of relevant events happens on his local device, so that no further information is needed by the service provider. He chooses not to bother, so he remains unaware that his favourite sitar player, Ravi Shankar, is performing with the Cretan lute-player Ciborgakis in the city just that night.

While en route, David’s MyComm informs him that he is carrying insufficient cash funds to get him through the day after a typical breakfast at the restaurant. David is aware of the link between uses on his eComm card and subsequent targeted mailings from his card company’s ‘trusted group of associates’ (a downside of the agreement that assures him a marginally decreased interest rate), and his profiling agent knows that he usually opts to use cash for smaller one-off purchases. As such, a detour to a cash-machine is offered and accepted, after David has authorised his MyComm to give his name and nationality to the local ATM finder service. Cash-machines still use PIN security, but this is augmented with additional biometric protection. However, rather than using non-revocable biometrics such as fingerprints, the cash machines use a type of keystroke analysis to obtain a characteristic typing pattern from the PIN button presses. This type of changeable biometric has become widely accepted as preferable. David is annoyed when he has to type in a sample line of numbers four times over and is still rejected by the machine. He now has to use the fall-back option of authorising the ATM to make a picture of him and compare this to the facial-biometric template stored by his UK bank. Even though he knows the picture will be stored for five years by the hefty Greek anti-identity-fraud laws, he has no choice but to accept.

Scene 3: I don’t drink coffee, I take tea my dear

Because it’s a holiday, David doesn’t bother with trying to find out the Greek menu by himself. He uploads his profile to the restaurant system and clicks his agreement with the system’s data-processing practices. He is guided to his preferred seat position in the window and is able to select his meal from a heavily customised menu. He enjoys the luxury of just seeing his favourite foods fulfilling his dietary requirements offered to him on the menu, even though he knows the restaurant will sell his data to many food-broking services. The restaurant is augmented with sensor technologies and in the absence of any other information, makes sweeping generalisations in order to project targeted advertising on the menu card when not in use. David is not best pleased to find an advert for a local sports club appear as a result of the doorway height sensor and stool strain sensor concluding he is too heavy for his height. This is soon updated when he removes his rucksack and his weight is recalculated. Unfortunately, being a result of a combined group profile of the current restaurant patrons, changing the music of ‘Sakis Rouvas’ which is piped through the building is not so easy to correct.

After a delicious assortment of mezes, and the best part of a drink, the waitress, alerted as to the volume of drink remaining by the cup coaster, comes over with a filter coffee pot to offer a complimentary top-up. Unfortunately even the advances in Ambient Intelligence haven’t eliminated human error, and David explains just too late how he had actually gone out of his way to find Lapsang Souchong tea …

While preparing to leave, a message comes through the MyComm from David’s intellifridge back at home. It requests his acceptance for a menu for that evening’s meal based on items that are nearing expiry in storage. Usually, the fridge would negotiate such a message with the house gateway, and thus discovered that the house had gone into holiday mode. However, David had previously configured a link with it in order to interrogate it directly, so messages were unfiltered. He starts to remotely configure the preferences to route it back through the house and avoid further messages when a priority message appears – Li-lian’s MediCheck device has found cause for concern. 

Scene 4: Congratulations, it’s a…

Despite having had several false alarms in the past, this time Li-lian was in complete agreement with the MediCheck device – something was definitely happening! Having automatically alerted the concierge’s desk and contacted the local emergency services, help was quickly to hand, and within 30 minutes, Li-lian was being wheeled through the doors of a maternity unit. Having been largely planned in advance by her insurance company, her arrival was not totally unexpected. Indeed, her doctor had already authorised access to relevant portions of her e-medical file to the hospital.

However, in her haste in leaving the hotel, Li-lian had only taken her Chinese ID card with her. Unfortunately, this has led to some confusion over her identity because her Chinese name differs from her English name, and to further confound matters, her recent change of surname has already been updated on her e-medical records. Fortunately, Li-lian is still alert enough to give her consent to the hospital cross-referencing her iris scan with that stored in the medical files, and her identity is confirmed. She realises that she had better change her e-medical preferences to allow such identification without her consent, seeing the kind of emergencies that can arise, particularly when travelling.  

Meanwhile …

David returns to the hotel too late to see Li-lian, but, having taken the opportunity to collect some of her belongings for her stay in hospital, he heads to the hospital in their rental car. Not being familiar with the local area, he instructs the on-board GPS unit to guide him to the city hospital, and for once, he doesn’t mind at all that his personal data and profiles are being transferred to the local rental-car company in exchange for the routing service. Being slightly flustered and concerned for his wife, David becomes increasingly annoyed with the enforced limits on the car, and so he disables the overrides by putting the car in ‘emergency mode’. Unfortunately, the traffic monitoring cameras observe his erratic driving, trace the car back to the rental company, and automatically issue a fine to David. As a result, David also has an additional sum levied onto the car insurance policy by the rental company.

On arrival to the hospital, David makes his way inside, and looks for directions to maternity. Because most of the signage is in Greek, he uses the camera on his MyComm device to translate the words to find his way. He curses when his MyComm only yields error messages and he has to spend precious minutes to use sign language with a passing nurse to indicate where he wants to go. Sometimes, he feels there are distinct advantages to living in the US where buildings automatically infer and smoothly indicate people’s desired routes. The European AmI Directive, however, has prohibited such automated guidance without explicit individual consent. Who cares about explicit informed consent when your wife is in labour?!

The maternity unit is augmented with additional security measures to prevent unauthorised personnel from entering. To request access David, is asked to scan his iris, and not being on the list of personnel is told to wait for further instruction. Security at the hospital is tight, and the security department is able to cross-check iris scan patterns with the European centralised biometric database. Despite having been acquitted of an alleged offence with a minor at a previous place of work, David’s details are still to be found in the database, and as such he is taken aside for further questioning as to his purpose at the hospital.

After some four hours in labour, Li-lian gives birth to a healthy baby girl. As has become standard, the baby is implanted in the umbilical stump with an RFID tag to allow identification in the hospital. Although such temporary implants have become normal practise, permanent implantation is left for the parents to decide at a later date. David and Li-lian have already decided to have the umbilical tag removed, even though they realise that younger generations seem rather fond of these identifying implants. Zoe – as the girl is named – will just have to decide for herself when she comes of age whether or not she wants to be permanently chipped