Google Inc (GOOGL)’s Glass Raises Fears Of Normalizing Covert Surveillance, Traffic Safety And Other Concerns

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According to an article by ConsumerReports, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Glass, company’s newest wearable device, which is intended to be a mass-market ubiquitous computer, already raised privacy and other concerns.

ConsumerReports said that when an individual chose to use a new technological product, they often choose to also compromise their own privacy. The trade-off is however one that users chose willingly for themselves. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Glass on the other hand, seems to be yet another device that exposes the privacy of other people, i.e. of the public.  Privacy of surrounding people suffers because they may not know they are being photographed or video filmed, critics say. The covert surveillance is one of the several concerns that the product and its technology have prompted.

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google Glass gives its users the capability to snap a photo or shoot a video clip with just a subtle tap on the frame. ConsumerReports wrote that there are devices that go much further than that, such as The Narrative Clip camera, but that the Glass still raises privacy concerns over the possible use of the video and photo camera capabilities. A report already arose about a confrontation in which a Glass owner had the device snatched from her face for the use of the video, an issue reported despite the device still not being very familiar to broader public. The website StopTheCyborgs.org, which raises questions on several aspects of wearable technology, claims that harm is done even if the camera is not in use.

StopTheCyborgs.org was cited by ConsumerReports stating that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Glass isn’t concerned about covert recording, because the device isn’t too good for that and because there are better spy cameras for the purpose. The website seems to be concerned rather with the social impact the device like that can have. They said that “wearable devices socially normalize ubiquitous surveillance. That is, they create a society where we expect to be recorded, where every moment is to be shared, documented and data-mined.”

Other concerns include the possibility to pirate movies, which the report says would be a poor way to something like that, being a possible source of distraction in traffic, and rudeness. Distracted driving causes thousands of deaths and other traffic accidents every year in the U.S., and presumably it is even more dangerous to read e-mails than having conversations while driving, regardless of the fact that the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Glass can be controlled with voice commands.

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2 Comments

  1. True, that can compromise National Security as well. Google will have drawback on this product. As it is Google have caused lots of information leakages. For instance, Google Earth gives pin point location of each address in the United States. This includes Government buildings, installations as well as any address on the earth. So much of information compromise is out of control. I don’t get it. Google needs to shutdown in total period.

  2. Having used Glass for a few months now, I find the comments by Consumer Reports rather ridiculous. The “spy” capabilities of Glass are no more devious or sinister than that of any smartphone. We see those being used to take pictures anywhere 24/7, and noone seems to object any more. One could argue that Glass can do it without physically taking it out of a pocket and going through “picture taking motions.” But what about cameras with long zoom lenses that have been out for decades, capturing images at a distance without the subjects ever knowing? The same arguments hold true for Glass’ video capabilities. Glass can’t do any more than any modern smartphone. As for the bigger argument re: ubiquitous data gathering, that’s one that StopTheCyborgs.org has lost before it even began.

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