Google Glass vs. Privacy?

ggb-e1368697316337-1024x1017There are around 10,000 people in the world walking around with Google strapped to their  forehead. Those lucky few either preordered way back when Glass was just a glimmer in Sergey Brin’s eye or they’ve convinced him that their life is exciting enough to deserve the chance to capture every grubby second of it. But as the first few ‘Explorers’ start to capture uneasy point-of-view clips of their day, a storm is brewing over the issue of privacy.

Cameras are everywhere. Chances are if you have a mobile phone it has a camera built in – even if it’s really basic. Cameras are in our tablets, in our computers and now, above our eyes. Yet until now if some wannabe paparazzi tries to snap a picture of you falling asleep on the tube, it’s not hard to spot. But man people fear that Glass removes this natural barrier by not only featuring, but boasting an omnipresent camera.

The issue comes in two waves. Firstly, the fear that anyone you interact with could be recording. And there’s not necessarily any way to know for sure. Whether you’re in a bar or working at your desk anyone that can see you could be recording you. To some degree it’s a paranoid notion, and many would argue ‘who cares?’. But for a large portion of society, privacy is incredibly important. Even more so in places like the States, where broad use of CCTV is frowned upon as an unnecessary intrusion.

Perhaps more threatening is the second facet – that of misuse. Glass is technology; it’s a gadget. And one thing that’s certain about gadgets, other than that it’ll be obsolete before you finish charging it, is that someone will hack it. Google has already had several loopholes in its code pointed out to it by the man most prominently associated with jailbreaking iPhones, Jay Freeman.
Freeman’s warning shows that with some relatively simple work, anyone with knowhow and thirty seconds with your device could access your Glass remotely. From there they could see and hear everything you can. They would be able to watch, without your knowledge everything you look at, consciously or subconsciously and they could see your private moments. But think of the larger implications affecting even old-school security. They could watch you type passwords, enter door codes, take photos of your keys, even watch what you write with pen and paper. Nothing becomes private anymore.

That’s an extreme example. But it’s still a concern among many people to have so many cameras pointed at them in public, without their consent. It’s such a worry one bar had already banned the device before it even hit the streets! There’s discussion also on the place of Glass in cars. It could be a great GPS, but it could also cause unnecessary accidents and even deaths.

The real-world impact of Glass wont’ reveal itself until the product hits the shelves for real sometime (probably) next year. There will be debates, there will be legislation changes and there will be angry people. But until then you can continue enjoying the drip feed of information on the latest in wearable tech, or you can join the people over at Stop The Cyborgs in their effort to ban the device altogether. Your call.