Law to ban Google Glass on the road unlikely

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, Emerging Tech, Google Apps

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  • I think the use of these things will be regulated eventually

    The potential for abuse is that great.
    • No, there won't

      No more so than the potential for abuse presented by camera phones. I don't see any regulations for those, and they've been around for years.
      • Bull

        Even camera phones can be regulated. They're are laws regulating driving with those too. Just ask the next cop you film without his authorization.
        • Can Be, But Aren't

          Sure, they can be regulated. But they aren't. There are no laws saying you can't take your cell phone out in a public place and record whatever you want.

          Also, as long as the police officer is in a public area, it is perfectly legal to record them. They can ask you not to, but they cannot legally order you to, and they cannot legally arrest you for refusing to put the camera down. Even in the states with 2 party consent laws for recording conversations, only two of them do not specifically exempt recording police officers from it (namely Mass. and Illinois).

          You have rights. Know them. You also have the right to waive your rights, which is what shady officials want you to do. Don't do that. You are not required to show police your ID unless they have due cause to suspect you of a crime, in which case they will detain you. Ask if you are being detained or if you are free to go. Ask it until they answer you. Refusal to cooperate is not due cause.

          It is perfectly legal to record the police, or anyone else in a public space as long as you do so openly. The bright red light on your Glass is a public announcement that you are recording. There are no concerns here that do not apply to cell phones or any other recording device already in widespread use.
          • Gee is this article about driving with them on?

            Or did you not read?

            And you say phone usage out in public isn't already regulated? Where've you been? In a hole somewhere?

            I know in my state, you can't drive with a phone unless it's a hands-free device. You can't hold a phone up to your ear and drive. Same thing with texting. That means it's ALREADY REGULATED. Did that really need to be pointed out to you or are you that dense?

            As far as police go, they can and will arrest you for filming them if they want to. Whether you think that's un-cool or not is besides the point. They can and they do and they'll worry about the lawsuit later. By then, you've already spent a lot of money fighting them. All because you had to be a jerk and film somebody who didn't want to be filmed.

            You seem to think you can just do whatever you want when it comes to technology. Fat chance, pal. Junk like Google Glass will be regulated. Better accept that.
          • Not Talking About Driving

            I think you're changing the subject. We're not talking about texting or talking on the phone while driving. We're talking about using the camera. There are no laws about using a cell phone camera in a public space.
          • Well I'm talking about driving

            And I realize you're dense to keep track of the conversation
  • So ...

    Deliver local or Net-sourced information on objects in view as audio. Problem solved.
  • My fear is...

    ...that they WON'T be banned until many deaths have accrued. It will likely take a celebrity or a very cute young lady to die before something is done (pretty much that seems to be what gets widespread attention).
    • I have seen people reading the newpaper while they drive...

      It is a great tool for the intelligent, and another distraction for the stupid. Like any technology, it is how you use it. The way you think, we should just outlaw cars before anyone gets killed.

      Personally, I think I will be a better driver without having to look away from the road to see my GPS. That is what I want it for. I want a little hovering arrow telling me which lane I need to be in so I don't have to make a last minute decision.
  • Incorrect Statements, Ignorance or Intentional Lies?

    "if someone is wearing a pair of the glasses, you can't know if you're being recorded or not. "

    Why do outlets keep repeating this? It isn't true, anyone can readily see if you're recording or not. The headset has a bright red LED that comes on any time its recording, and the eyepiece is transparent. Anything it displays to you can be seen by the person you are talking to. To top all of that, there are only two ways to make it record. You have to say out loud "Okay Glass, record video" or stop and scroll through menu options with the manual control on the side on the unit.

    Your display is not private to you, anyone can see it. You cannot covertly start recording or take pictures, and there is a bright red warning light that blares out that you are recording should you try and start recording before entering a room to hide the command.

    Please stop spreading this fearmongering nonsense that Glass is some kind of super spy gadget that is just going to make privacy vanish. Its going to be just about as obvious when someone is recording on Glass as it is if they were recording on their cellphone. Probably more obvious given the bright red light, as you can always start your phone recording and just hold it up to your ear like you were having a conversation or hide it in your hand.

    I mean really, if privacy was going to collapse, why hasn't it already? You can buy spy video camera glasses right now from Walmart in the children's toy isle. They're sold under the SpyTech brand name, and they look like normal sunglasses and DON'T have bright red warning lights all over them. Or you could get fancier ones off of Amazon, they cost all of $20-$30.
    • It won't stay that way

      Future models will look like ordinary glasses and you won't have an LED to tell anybody anything.

      So let's knock off the crap, techno-fanboy. That's where it's headed.
      • Inconvenient Truths

        So let me get this straight.

        You acknowledge that there are precautions in the unit that are specifically there for no other reason than to alert people around you that the device is recording. And instead of allaying that particular fear, you instead jump to a fantasy hypothetical where Google intentionally removes a public safety feature, just so you have an excuse to keep on hating?

        Let me guess, you're a Republican?
        • It's technology, not granite. Everything is mutable.

          Why should there be 'precautions' on any unit for anything? If the technology proves profitable, then you can be sure many companies will emulate it. And those companies will design their devices in any number of ways. Some with and without LED's, voice activated commands (software update, change "Record now" to "Hey guys" and then start recording) etc etc.
        • Hypothetical fantasy?

          Do you really believe they won't try and streamline this device at some point? Make it less cumbersome and less obvious than it already is?

          As far as the LED is concerned, so what. Who cares. You're the one who said it was there, not me. I don't have to acknowledge jack. But don't believe for a second it will be there in all future models.

          Let me guess, you want to go around looking like an idiot with this thing on your head looking like something out of a Borg fantasy. Right?

          But why stop there. Why not get a tin foil hat and put a propeller on your head to go with it. Make yourself out to look like a real technophile doe-doe bird.
          • Don't Change the Subject

            We're not talking about what other companies might do in the future. We are not talking about what Google may or may not do in some nebulous future.

            The topic of conversation is Glass, as it exists now, and the incorrect notion that it can be used to covertly record people without their knowledge.

            This is not true, and there are hard facts that directly contradict that idea. All you have to do is go look up the actual specs for the device instead of hearing a vague description and jumping to your own conclusions about what it is and is not capable of.

            Why I would or would not want this gadget does not change the simple facts of the matter.

            I have demonstrated that it is not possible to covertly record someone with Google Glass without them being aware of it. That is the point. The wording of this article is incorrect. No amount of "well maybe they could in the future" changes the fact that it is currently wrong. If and when it happens, then you will have a valid concern. At the moment, you do not.
          • Oh stop being an idiot

            I wasn't born yesterday, ya know... This is just first edition that's out. To think this will stay static and not change in the near future is simply ridiculous.

            That LED light can disappear even a couple of months down the road when a new model comes out and and if a current user is nefarious enough to do it, they can cover it up and not have it shown as being active. Maybe a little paint over the light to match the body of the glass.

            This is nothing more than a device for perverts and peeping toms. Don't tell me you fall into that category with your vehement defense of all this.
  • Besides...

    Any victim can be replaced with the proceeds from a multi-million dollar lawsuit. This is America, by the way.

    If you're sleeping... SLEEP!
    If you're eating... EAT!
    If you're driving,... DRIVE!
    A moving vehicle can be a deadly weapon when you're not paying FULL attention.
    • . . .

      Sorry if I sound like your parent. Lately WAY to many people getting run over cause their NOT watching what they're doing.
      Like that Y-Tube video of a lady texting and walking RIGHT INTO an open manhole.