Law to ban Google Glass on the road unlikely

Summary:If you're in West Virginia and were irked by the potential ban on Google Glass, hope is at hand.

A potential ban on Google Glass while on the road -- before the product has been released -- may have seemed premature, but legislation may already be stopped in its tracks.

A "Stop the Cyborgs" sticker on offer

CNET's Chris Matyszczyk wrote an article documenting the trend of preventing "cyber spying" entering the physical space even more than it already has -- with particular attention on the privacy concerns that Google Glass could bring into being.

One group, with a website called "Stop The Cyborgs," says that the product will prove to be the catalyst for a world where "privacy is impossible and corporate control total." Although many fight against technology that threatens to impede privacy, you could also argue with the widespread use of social networks including Facebook, GPS systems and our seemingly careless sharing of data, we may be in that kind of world already.

The look of the product aside, if someone is wearing a pair of the glasses, you can't know if you're being recorded or not. Perhaps it is something about being monitored obviously and in real-time which disquiets us, where is it in our field of vision rather than simply a security camera on the street or a photo take on a night out that we can happily ignore.

However, this isn't the only issue. If you'd like to wear your high-tech headgear on the road, fears that such technology may prove distracting have prompted a governmental response. Shortly after CNET's post went live, Republican legislator Gary. G. Howell, proposed a bill ahead of time to prevent wearable technology being legal to wear while you're in control of your vehicle. (Of course, using dashboard technology and apps isn't as distracting, is it?).

The bill, H.B. 3057, was designed to stop Google Glassers from wearing their headgear on roads in West Virginia. Although not against the invention itself, Howell said that it could be as distracting as texting -- and therefore could prompt a rise in accidents.

However, it is unlikely to pass this year.

Why? This week, the House Committee on Roads and Transportation sat and discussed the coverage of the bill, but did not discuss the bill in itself -- which means that barring a "special committee meeting" before Monday, the proposed legislation will be dead in the water -- at least until next year.

According to Howell, the general attitude on wearable technology and driving means that they "are going to have to look at the impact Google Glass and similar will have." We'll have to see what the next 12 months brings.

Topics: Google, Cloud, Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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