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“Some University of Washington students, faculty and staff are being tracked as they move about the computer-science building, with details of where they’ve been, and with whom, stored in a database.
“Professor Gaetano Borriello checks a computer to find graduate student Evan Welbourne’s last location: on the fourth floor, outside room 452 at 10:38 a.m. Wednesday. He opens another screen to reveal the building’s floor plan, and a blinking green dot representing Welbourne shows him walking down the hall.
“If it seems a bit like Big Brother, that’s the intention. The project is meant to explore both positive and negative aspects of a world saturated with technology that can monitor people and objects remotely.
“‘What we want to understand,’ Borriello said, ‘is what makes it useful, what makes it threatening and how to balance the two.'”