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Google Glass – a take on privacy issues

The Google Glasses aren’t even available yet and already they’re stirring up tensions in the software development and mobile development sectors. Moreover, it seems like there are two separate sides slowly forming and taking arms against each other when it comes to privacy issues. This is what I want to talk to you about here since it could be big and it will probably affect each and every one of us once these gadgets are out.

Two different perspectives

As the release date of these hi-tech glasses draws nearer, opinions concerning them are split. Some people love the concept, some loathe it, but no matter what side you’re on you will have to admit that they could cause some serious privacy issues once they’re available.
Everyone owning a pair of these will be able to record what’s going on around them with the blink of an eye. This will make a lot of people uncomfortable and feel “watched” at the mere sight of a Google Glass user.
It might seem far-fetched but believe it or not, it was the same when portable cameras were first released, the difference being that people could only take very bad pictures, not quality ones or shoot videos. Even so, it was enough to cause an uprising against camera users. Many were sued and even more were physically assaulted and had their cameras smashed.

In the end society adapted and people got used to cameras. However, it won’t be so simple if the Google Glasses become a hit. Lots of people will be wearing them, making others feel watched and spied upon. This is what the anti-glasses groups are going on about and they’re mostly spot on. One solution for avoiding social conflicts would be not wearing them when interacting with others and this is probably what it will come to in the end. After all, if you have a Glass user around you and you want to make sure that you aren’t being recorded, the best thing to do is to leave the room, and this isn’t a viable solution.

On the other hand, Glass users promise to wear their devices around their neck when in the company of others. Well, somehow I doubt that. Actually, there is only one thing that I am sure of and that’s that tensions will rise and the two sides will go at each other hard.

Other similar devices

Google Glass isn’t the only device out there capable of invading privacy in a “legal” way. There is also the Memento shirt-mounted automatic mini-camera that can take snapshots twice a minute and upload them to an online service and also a special pair of glasses developed and produced in Asia that can record and store video footage through a tiny, unnoticeable camera.

Last but not least, Apple is also working on multiple wearable computing products and filling countless patents for cameras and heads-up displays. All this helped kick-start the privacy debates and are also fueling them further and keeping them as top stories. How it will all play out remains to be seen but expect some harsh reactions when the Glasses are finally out. Oh, and if you will wear a pair and you hear people mention the term “Glasshole” around you, sadly, they’re probably talking about you.

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