Emerging forms of covert surveillance using GPS-enabled devices

Roba Abbas, Katina Michael, M. G. Michael, Anas Aloudat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This case presents the possibility that commercial mobile tracking and monitoring solutions will become widely adopted for the practice of non-traditional covert surveillance within a community setting, resulting in community members engaging in the covert observation of family, friends, or acquaintances. This case investigates five stakeholder relationships using scenarios to demonstrate the potential socio-ethical implications that tracking and monitoring will have on society. The five stakeholder types explored in this case include: (i) husband-wife (partner-partner), (ii) parent-child, (iii) employer-employee, (iv) friend-friend, and (v) stranger-stranger. Mobile technologies like mobile camera phones, global positioning system data loggers, spatial street databases, radio-frequency identification, and other pervasive computing can be used to gather real-time, detailed evidence for or against a given position in a given context. Limited laws and ethical guidelines exist for members of the community to follow when it comes to what is permitted when using unobtrusive technologies to capture multimedia and other data (e.g., longitude and latitude waypoints) that can be electronically chronicled. In this case, the evident risks associated with such practices are presented and explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cases on Information Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral tracking
  • Breadcrumb
  • Covert surveillance
  • GPS
  • Location-based services
  • People
  • Relationships
  • Scenarios
  • Smart phones
  • Socio-ethical implications
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management


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