Google Glass – Your Privacy Compromised

google-glass-violates-privacyTechnology can’t stand still.  It is a resident quality in human beings to keep evolving and keep moving forward.  We as a species are never content with the latest and greatest when it comes to technology.  I guess that is a good thing for most, a not so good thing for some.  As much as I tend to resist technological advancements, I still have a need to use some of them.  As much as I hate to admit it, I need to have a smart phone.  Not to make phone calls mind you, but to stay connected to the world in other ways.  I need my laptop because it is a tool that I have to use almost daily.  Personally, I’d rather park my butt in a chair on my back patio, pour a cocktail, leave technology behind and take in my view of the river behind my house.

I wish people were as passionate about moving forward with solving real-world issues such as poverty, homelessness and our planet’s health as they are about pressing ahead with technology that does little if anything to help find solutions to those real problems.

My biggest complaint about technology has always been that sometimes it makes the world too small.  It can make us vulnerable to the newer personal threats such as identity theft and privacy concerns.  Did you know that identity theft is considered to be the fastest growing crime now?  Statistics show over 15 million victims per year and over $50 billion dollars in damages.  Yes, there are times when Facebook can be very beneficial.  But as evidenced as recently as the lockdown of Boston and some of its suburbs during the hunt for bombing suspect #2, sites like Twitter can have a negative impact.

A few months ago I read an article about Google Glass.  At that time they were seeking people to participate in the beta stage of the product.  You’d shell out some cash, receive the headset, and Google would pay to fly you to an orientation center to learn how to use it.  I read about the features of this thing and I recognized some benefits of it.  Then I began picturing everyone walking around or driving their car wearing one of these headsets.  I quickly realized this little headset is going to change a lot of things.  It’s going to inspire new social challenges especially in the area of privacy.

People are already concerned about drones flying overhead and how they infringe on our rights of privacy.  In the past, people have complained about Google Street View sighting privacy concerns.  Surveillance cameras are/are being installed in our cities, towns and businesses.  That’s right, a simple surveillance video provided by Lord & Taylor identified the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

surveillance-camerasOne of the biggest debates surrounding the Olympic Games has to do with the security surveillance systems.  Hundreds of thousands of video cameras are installed to provide better security during the games.  When the games are over and the media, fans, and athletes have left, the cameras stay.  Soon afterward the host city gets bogged down in the debate over security versus privacy.  Local police agencies say the cameras should remain because they help them do their jobs more effectively.  Citizens say they should go because they infringe on personal privacy.  In London and Vancouver, some cameras have been taken down, many have stayed.  And the debate continues.

I’m not going to go into detail about the features of Google Glass.  If you’d like to check it out, here is your primer.  I am very concerned about how this little headset is going to interrupt OUR social privacy.  There are discussions being raised now about what the etiquette should be while wearing it.  At any time, anyone wearing the headset can snap a picture of you without you knowing it.  A recording can be made of your voice without you being aware.  Video can be shot of an entire street, the inside of a restaurant or the inside of an airplane.  These things can be used to case out banks or steal sensitive information.

Basically, everyone who wears one has the ability to become a spy, a secret agent, or an informant.  They can be scanning a subway station, a busy street corner or a sports stadium as part of their research for the next bombing site.  People can be recording vehicle traffic or foot traffic trends.

I’m not being paranoid here.  I’m simply trying to point out how this thing has the potential of seriously messing with people.  It’s not just how unbelievably stupid it’s going to look with everyone wearing one of these things.  That goes without saying.  But if you’re not up to speed on what Google Glass is all about, you should check into it.  Don’t approach your research from the standpoint of owning or using one and how cool it could be.  Base it from the point of view of not owning or using one and being around people who do.  I’m not advising you to avoid buying Google Glass, I’m just trying to drive home the fact that these things are really going to cause some potentially large problems.

And when you think about other ramifications such as can video or audio from these devices be used as evidence in a court of law, you can see how Google Glass needs to be further fleshed out before it should be allowed to become mainstream.

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  1. Nicole

     /  May 7, 2013

    KDawg, they did a great skit this week on Saturday Night Live during Weekend Update. It was a total rip on the Google Glass. I immediately thought of it when I started reading your blog. I am not sure if you saw it but it was pretty funny. By the way congrats!! Nicole

    • Hi Nicole,

      Nope, I didn’t see that on SNL…haven’t watched SNL in years. Did I accidentally steal their angle?

      Thanks for the congrats — I am pretty darn happy about getting back to work!


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