Google Glass: Expect widespread usage bans over privacy concerns

Google Glass: Expect widespread usage bans over privacy concerns

Summary: Google is about to unleash a rash of concerns generated by Google Glasses' ability to take clandestine photos and videos.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Privacy
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Google Glass is the company's upcoming product that puts a computer on your face. Google is about to release the dorky-looking device and most likely it will be snapped up by the techie crowd. It is an innovative product that pushes live-blogging to the next level, and that will unleash a storm of concern never before seen caused by a mobile gadget

No Google Glass

A bar in Seattle has already generated buzz in tech communities with a preemptive strike against Google Glass. The proprietor doesn't want patrons to have to worry that someone with Google Glasses might be snapping photos. His patrons come in for privacy and he wants to keep it that way.

That may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt but it portends a greater problem for Google Glass. When the general public becomes aware of Google Glass and exactly what it does, expect to see a lot of reactions similar to that of the Seattle bar owner.

Related: Google Glass: You'll kiss your privacy goodbye, and you won't mind a bit

Rightly or wrongly there's already a concern about folks taking photos and videos in certain public locations and situations. Pull out a camera in places like public schools, playgrounds, and airports and you might incur the wrath of authorities and parents, especially where public safety of kids are concerned.

When public awareness of Google Glass reaches a critical mass and it's understood that these devices can record photos, video, and audio of the wearer's surroundings, an outbreak of bans is sure to result. Don't be surprised if within weeks of the Google Glasses general release we start seeing bans of it cropping up all over the place.

These bans are not going to be the result of Google Glass wearers actually using them, they are going to be a result over the concern that they can be used discretely. Parents are not going to like the exposure that Google Glasses worn in schools, playgrounds, parks, and other places where groups of kids hang out, might bring to their kids.

Authorities who already overreact to those with cameras during stressful public situations are not going to like the fact that Google Glass wearers can record those situations without discovery. This will include the TSA in airports over concerns that wearers might be recording things and "compromising the public's safety." You'll hear that, I can almost guarantee it.

Don't be surprised when those on the sexual offenders list in most states are banned from owning/wearing Google Glasses as part of their punishment.

Businesses are going to quickly realize the exposure to both liability and corporate security and one after another companies, large and small, are going to ban Google Glass use within work areas. Because Google Glass can be used without notice, that ban will extend to even wearing the device on the premises. That will probably be welcomed by non-Glass using workers who will feel uncomfortable that coworkers might be recording them at work.

Then there are the concerns that will surely pop up over wiretapping laws. In many states it's illegal to record anyone without their permission. Imagine the flurry of legal activity that will result due to the fear that Google Glasses wearers have recorded others without notice. This could get messy very quickly.

Outside of the bar in Seattle none of these bans are official yet but don't be surprised when they start happening. People will have a knee-jerk reaction to the realization that Google Glass wearers can snap photos or worse, video of kids, other adults, or anything, really. The public outcry is going to be fast and furious, and authorities are going to do what they can to nip this potential privacy breach in the bud.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Privacy

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87 comments
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  • "The Light of Other Days", a good read regarding the end of privacy

    A science fiction novel by Stephen Baxter. More here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Light_of_Other_Days.

    Google Glass brings this vision one step closer.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I liked how the seattle bar encouraged ass kickings for violators

      Sounds like they mean it.
      Johnny Vegas
      • The bar owner will go out of business

        After all the lawsuits
        beau parisi
        • lawsuit what

          nope just make his club a private club not open to the public and have patrons sign waivers. i agree with him.
          Jerome Regalado
  • Pervert device and marketing stunt

    The video recording function must be disabled otherwise this will end up as a pervert device and I could foresee lot of broken 'glasses' and bloodied eyes. I see the 'glass' as a marketing stunt by google to catch attention, because Microsoft stole the minds with Kinect.
    Owlll1net
    • I forsee

      A lot of people being put in prison for assault and having to pay a heavy amount of compensation to the use of this device for punching him. I forsee prosecutors loving these open and shut cases, after all they were probably film up close and personal assaulting someone, that open and shut case in any prosecutor book.

      Ant the bar owner in this article left himself open to be sue by any customer that get assaulted in his bar over wearing glasses, and someone will get very wealthy from taking on these easy to win cases.
      Knowles2
      • get assaulted in his bar over wearing glasses

        Wow, that's so stoopid it'd be funny elsewhere. You should learn how to read, and then read the entire article again. And you're sure no lawyer, that's obvious.

        Sorry, but ...
        tomaaaaaa1
      • lol did that work in highschool?

        I'll bet you're the kid who threatened to sue anyone who'd start a fight with you in school weren't you?

        Remember how well that went down...

        If someone doesn't wish to be filmed to the point of assaulting you chances are they'll just steal the glasses and any evidence along with them.
        Avera Morte
        • You gonna steal his glasses

          Then you get arrested for theft. You get arrested either way - for theft or assault - take your pick.
          beau parisi
    • All this

      just to see ads permanently in your field of vision.

      It's all about the advertising...
      Tony_McS
      • Its all about the jailbreaking...

        After the first 3 months, there will be hacks, cracks, mods, and jailbroken Google Glasses. That is when the fun really begins!

        I do see a lot of police being caught in the act. The police, who love surveillance, as long as it isn't of them, are going to be really paranoid about this. They already confiscate phones even though it is perfectly legal to photograph or record someone in public.

        Then the police will start wearing them, so they can scan faces and pull up records, record their own calls (think dash-cam), etc...

        This is going to be an amazing tool for those that want to take advantage of it!
        mlashinsky
        • This is the next step

          These are simply the next step after cameras on phones. The many bullies who became cops are already being caught abusing their powers far more than ever before thanks to camera phones. YouTube is full of those videos. This is just the next step in personal surveillance. Eventually, everyone will be recording everything around them onto cloud servers 24/7 so that nobody is able to get away with anything. That's assuming the government doesn't see this proliferation of cameras as a threat to their own power abuses and ban them. That action would be yet another sign of a rising totalitarian regime.
          BillDem
  • Yeah but

    Thing is i bet it won't be long before these are indistinguishable from regular glasses. How do they detect them then ?
    SunFire23
    • You mean like this:

      www.pivothead.com
      nfordzdn
      • ok then

        next subject

        I work on a military base and they used to forbid you to bring cameras past the gate. Now, it's impossible to ban them because they are embedded in every device..phones..tablets. I don't think you can buy a phone without a camera these days.
        SunFire23
        • I was wondering when someone would bring that up

          Cameras are everywhere these days. It is hard to avoid them in cell phones and tablets.
          DB.Cooper
    • How about a future brain implant

      that records everything the eyes see, everything the ear hears, everything the mouth speaks and even your thoughts and feelings and puts them on the Internet automatically 24/7? That sounds like science fiction today, but a lot of things are reality today, that were only found in science fiction books a generation ago.
      arminw
  • Have you been sleeping, and don't know how to use Google?

    People are going to be concerned over these VERY EXPENSIVE stupid looking glasses? A simple Google search shows many cheap ones within everyone's price range are already on the market. http://www.walmart.com/ip/POV-Action-Cameras-ACG-20/17129595
    sfaid
    • Yea this is nothing new.

      Recording glasses have been out for years. So have pens and keychain cameras like the 808. OH $#!+ do you realize that telephones have had tiny cameras in them for more than ten years! These can be sneaked in to almost anywhere and turned on to record just holding it nonchalantly in ones hand. More stupidity.
      LarsDennert
      • I have an 8 GB video pen

        It actually writes too. It is great for recording meetings, lectures, etc. for later review. Yes, you can sleep through the lecture and watch it later.
        DB.Cooper