Even though Google’s augmented reality glasses won’t be available for purchase to the public for several more months, we are already hearing people’s first reactions about the new toy from Google. We also don’t know its specifications nor the apps it will come with, although it wouldn’t be too far to say that you’ll be able to practically everything you do on your smartphone, in addition to some apps that will come exclusively on the device. In the technology arena, everything is an advantage, but having a small camera that can be voice activated can be a problem when it comes to the privacy of all those around the person using the glasses.
Ever since smartphones became popular, user privacy has always been a heated topic. Most people don’t feel comfortable being recorded by a camera, and even less so without their knowledge (it’s also illegal in many countries, including the U.S.). It’s even more so today when everything that gets recorded can be uploaded to a video sharing website or social network in a matter of seconds. Google Glass would make it much more difficult to detect when someone is recording you, as they would only have to turn their head, and say some keyword instead of touching a button. All this to say nothing of what Google is capable of when it comes to bombarding you with advertising on a screen no bigger than few millimeters in front of your eye.
Because of all this, there are already organized groups trying to stop the mass production and sale of the device. The website “Stop The Cyborgs” believes that devices of this type should only be developed for people with special needs, such as, for example, blind people using the camera as a guide, or as help for people with Alzheimer’s so that a facial recognition system can identify them, or help give them directions to get back to their house.
This group believes that any other app that could be used on the device would invade everyone’s privacy. In some cases, it could even be used as a way to control the masses, such as in North Korea or China, where communications are heavily controlled by the government. At the moment, there is at least one place which has already prohibited the use of Google Glass: The 5 Point, a bar in Seattle, announced on Facebook a few days ago that it will not allow Google Glasses to be used in its establishment.
The announcement made by The 5 Point Bar was the detonator that unleashed the controversy, and the news that the smart glasses had been prohibited flooded blogs and newspapers. Google responded in a statement to CNET that it is still yet to be seen how society will adapt to the new device, just as the smartphone was once introduced, and not long before that the cellphone itself. “It is still very early days for Glass, and we expect that as with other new technologies, such as cell phones, behaviors and social norms will develop over time.”
The ideal thing with a device that at first glance is extremely useful would be to come to a meeting point in which no one’s privacy were put at risk, but at the same time the device could be used to make certain aspects of life more easy, both in recreation and at work. Of course, it would also have to keep itself within ethical boundaries in certain aspects, too.
Official Website | http://www.google.com/glass/start/