Study «Localisation Technologies»
Lokalisiert und identifiziert. Wie Ortungstechnologien unser Leben verändern. Study of the Centre for Technology. Lorenz Hilty, Britta Oertel, Michaela Wölk, Kurt Pärli, Zürich, vdf, 249 S. CHF 39.-/.--/ EUR 32.--, ISBN 978-3-7281-3460-8 (Book) / Download open access ISBN 978-3-7281-3477-6 / DOI 10.3218/3477-6
vdf Hochschulverlag AG
What do we mean by localisation technologies?
Localisation technologies encompass a variety of techniques enabling to locate of a person or an object in space. These technologies notably include satellite positioning systems, video surveillance or the analysis of wireless transmissions, both telephonic and digital.
Opportunities and risks associated with localisation technologies
Localisation technologies offer a number of applications that are useful in everyday life. In the transportation sector, for example, satellite navigation not only facilitates individual movements, it also enables the optimisation of logistics within companies. Positioning systems can also prove extremely valuable for locating accident victims, especially in mountain areas. While there are undoubted benefits, localisation technologies raise ethical and legal questions, particularly with regard to privacy protection.
Why conduct a TA-SWISS study on this subject?
The use of localisation technologies is growing daily. Some applications making use of these certainly offer the advantages of rapid geopositioning. Nevertheless, they do also raise a number of controversial issues, ranging from fears of privacy being restricted to the risk of abuse. Applications already in use in Switzerland and in other countries are currently widely discussed.
Aims of the study
The purpose of this interdisciplinary study is to enable an evaluation of the opportunities and risks of localisation technologies in the economics, work and leisure domains. The investigation will focus more precisely on the following questions:
- Which localisation technologies are available now – in Switzerland and other countries?
- What developments are expected in the medium term?
- If there are conflicts arising from the use of localisation technologies, can they be identified? Which ones?
- Who are the major actors in the field of localisation technologies, and what are their motivations?
- What legal framework governs the use of the different localisation technologies?
- What economic interests and consequences are associated with localisation technologies?
- Which developments in localisation technologies are desirable from the population's point of view ?
In an initial phase, literature will be analysed in order to draw up an overall picture of the localisation technologies currently available. This analysis will also enable potential areas of conflict to be identified. Experts will be asked for their views to supplement the data thus collected.
Based on the results of this analysis, and following a list of preset criteria, two or three areas of application will be selected for more detailed study. The various actors and their motives, along with the context wherein these different applications are deployed, will then be examined. Scenarios with a time horizon until 2020 will serve to illustrate each of the areas covered.
These different scenarios will then be discussed at a number of focus group events. The aim of these discussions is to determine how citizens feel about these possible developments. Do they regard them as desirable? Under what conditions are they prepared to accept these new technologies?
Finally, this study will present a schedule of actions which should be taken in order to put to best use the benefits offered by localisation technologies while limiting the inherent risks.
Project start: July 2010 | Completion: end of 2011
Results and Downloads
Geographical signposts in cyberspace.Localisation technologies as a challenge for an open society
Abridged version of the study
available at project completion
- Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
- Federal Statistical Office FSO
- Federal Roads Office FEDRO
- Federal Office of Topography swisstopo
TA-SWISS Project Supervisors
- Prof. Lorenz Hilty, EMPA, St Gall (Project Manager)
- Barbara Debus, Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Berlin
- Britta Oertel, Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Berlin
- Michaela Wölk, Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Berlin
- Prof. Dr. Kurt Pärli, ZHAW, School of Management and Law, Winterthur
- Dr Bruno Baeriswyl, Data Protection and Information Commissioner, Zurich; TA-SWISS Steering Committee (chairman of the supervisory group)
- Florence Bettschart, Fédération Romande des Consommateurs FRC, Lausanne
- Alain Buogo, Federal Office of Topography swisstopo, Wabern
- Dr Christine Giger, Giger GeoIT, Embrach
- Prof. Dr Gudela Grote, Work and Organizational Psychology, ETH Zurich, Zurich
- Dr Jessica Heesen, Albert-Ludwig University, Freiburg
- Rainer Humbel, Federal Statistical Office FSO, Neuchâtel
- Thomas Kallweit, FELA Management AG, Diessenhofen
- Dr Francisco Klauser, Geography Institute, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel
- Michael Kocheisen, Innovation Competence Center, Swisscom (Switzerland) AG, Bern
- Ulrich Lattmann, Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, Zurich
- Urs Luthe, Federal Roads Office FEDRO, Bern
- Franziska Meister, Die Wochen Zeitung, Zurich
- Cyrill Osterwalder, Google, Zurich
- Hans Kaspar Schiesser, Verband öffentlicher Verkehr, Bern
- Philipp Stüssi, The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner FDPIC, Bern
- Prof. Dr Rolf H. Weber, Center for Information and Communication Law, University of Zurich, Zurich
- Dr Franz Zeller, Federal Office of Communications OFCOM, Bienne
Téléjournal RTS, 19.6.2012: Une action politique réclamée contre les données de localisation
Tagesgespräch TeleBärn 19.6.2012: Projektleiter Prof. Lorenz Hilty gibt Auskunft über die TA-SWISS-Studie zu den Ortungstechnologien.
Radio DRS, 19.6.2012: Ortungssysteme: Fluch und Segen
CH-3011 Bern T + 41 31 310 99 60
F + 41 31 310 99 61
The project in brief
Enhanced spatial trading, transport optimisation, help for victims: the benefits offered by localisation technologies are many and varied. The use of private geo-data for marketing purposes, or for monitoring individuals, on the other hand, is more controversial. With this new study, TA-SWISS aims to shed some light on the benefits that may derive from localisation technologies for the economy and for society, and to identify possible ethical, legal or social problems that they might engender.
Project start: July 2010 | Completion: 2012
Project Manager: Prof. Dr Lorenz Hilty, EMPA, St Gall