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Based on the results of a technology assessment study we show that pervasive computing could amplify already existing problems related to the environment, human health, and society. Power consumption for digital networks, e-waste streams, and exposure to nonionizing radiation may all increase. Furthermore, social sustainability could be threatened by the technology if it is applied in a way that restricts consumers' privacy and freedom of choice. We refer to the precautionary principle as an analytical framework for discussing the opportunities and risks of pervasive computing for sustainable development.
Date of Publication: Spring 2005