Google Glass is 'the end of privacy': Australian politician

Google Glass is 'the end of privacy': Australian politician

Summary: Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has claimed that Google Glass will lead to the end of privacy as we know it.


Opposition federal senator from South Australia Cory Bernardi has claimed that Google's new smartphone-like glasses called Google Glass will lead to the end of privacy, with everything filmed and trackable.

(Image: Google)

The outspoken senator, who last year resigned from being Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's personal parliamentary secretary over comments that he made comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality, said in his "Common Sense" blog that he has serious concerns about the surveillance capability of the experimental Google Glass (GG) technology.

"You see, GG comes with the ability to record video and audio of everything that happens throughout your day. No longer is there a need to grab an iPhone and click to capture the moment. GG can do it all day, every day, automatically," he said.

"That might be fine if you are the user, but what if you are an unwitting victim of such recording? A single GG wearer in your favourite restaurant could capture your image and your conversation without you ever knowing. The footage would be stored on the Google servers, your voice could be translated into text, and with the use of facial recognition, could be actually matched to your Google profile. You might even find it on a social media site somewhere for millions of others to see."

Bernardi said it "could mean the end of privacy as we know it", and while admitting this was an "extreme scenario", he said that everyone has things they want to keep from the public record.

"Whether it be a conversation with our spouse, a personal failing, medical records, or a youthful indiscretion, the advancement and availability of cutting edge surveillance technology like GG could radically change all of that," he said. "It's one reason we should question whether some of the great advancements in technology are designed to serve us or serve the interests of others."

Google Australia declined to comment on Bernardi's blog post.

The Google Glass technology is still in its early days, and Google only made the technology available to developers last year, and a limited pool of competition winners in the next few months. A wider launch is not expected until 2014, and it is unclear what privacy features Google may include to allay public concern.

Bernardi's comments come as a parliamentary committee made up of Coalition and Labor politicians is considering a vast number of potential amendments to telecommunications security legislation that could potentially see telecommunications customer data stored for use by law enforcement for up to two years.

While some Coalition members have expressed reservations about the potential privacy implications of giving police access to more data about the public's internet use, including Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis, others, such as Phillip Ruddock, have expressed support for the expanded police powers. Bernardi has not made his views on this known.

While Bernardi's party is in a position to win the next federal election in September, Abbott has previously indicated that he would not reshuffle his cabinet, meaning that Bernardi would not be in any ministerial position for at least the beginning of an Abbott government.

Topics: Google, Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Let's face it

    Corey Bernardi is just not very bright is he?
  • Not Cory's core strength

    He really should keep his focus on writing hate-pieces against asylum seekers.
  • about Cory...

    This goes to show that the conservative Liberal party is behind the times and wants to take us with them to the 19th century. Christ! Are we going to be stuck with conservative twits for the next few years - god help Australia.
  • Even a broken clock...

    ...tells the correct time twice a day. The fact that Cory is a homophobic and xenophobic turd doesn't change the fact that technology can bring privacy concerns along with it. How many people here have seriously changed their minds and suddenly become in favour of, e.g., increased police access to private internet use data? susanaii? Anyone? Hands up. OK. Now I doubt we'll have to worry that everyone around us wearing ugly glasses may be secretly recording us, but lets be honest -- there is some legitimacy to noting Google Glass's potential abuses.
  • Understandable

    If I said as many stupid things as Cory Bernardi, I wouldn't want anyone recording it either.
  • compromised privacy

    I agree with Cory on this one. What Google Glass will do is effectively extend the reach of CCTV by the NSC, the FBI, Israel (who spy on anyone they dam well please) etc.
    Our Government will, of course, have some legislation in place, but if the Patriot Act comes into play then all bets are off.
    These will be the legal hacks that we know of. The illegal.....well anyone's guess.
    The Stav
  • Glass Ban

    If necessary, restaurants, pubs and various other places will just ban Google Glass.

    As for privacy, I'd be more concerned about ISP's being forced by our daft politicians to store 2 years of your emails and web surfing.

    If the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission cannot even store data and files securely, imagine what will happen to the data the ISP's store. Apart from multiple "accidental" data breaches, it will be sold to the highest bidder such as foreign governments, private investigators, KGB, Mossad, organised crime gangs, scammers, gossip magazines .....
  • this is a conversation we need to have

    Privacy is an issue. Google glass at the urinal anyone. Bit base, but illustrates the point, what do yo want others to see about you?
  • addit

    no wonder julia was keen to promote them, great tool for big brother aye!
  • What privacy?

    We are surrounded by so many CCTV cameras in the first place, and one can already buy "spy" watches, pens, and glasses that, unless you specifically recognise that model, will go completely un-noticed in public.

    We do have some protection in NSW. If you use one of these devices to record an interaction with another person without that person's consent or knowledge, you cannot use that information for anything beyond private reference. It is not even admissible as evidence in Court.