Google Glass Sparks Privacy Concerns

Wearable technology records inconspicuously, consumers say.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California – June 5, 2013 – Google Glass shipped to 1,500 beta testers earlier this year and already the wearable technology has critics talking. The glasses include a vertical strip on the right side but otherwise look like any other pair of eyeglasses. A blinking light alerts others that the glasses might be recording, but is it enough?

Google Glass is the first of what is expected to be a long line of similar technology. Apple is said to be toying with an iWatch and Samsung is rumored to be working on a watch of its own. Still, a watch that can record video isn’t the same as technology that can be worn on a consumer’s face, recording video of anything that person sees.

Even more disconcerting, that video could easily be uploaded to a person’s social media site, lingering out there indefinitely. One upload to YouTube with the right description and that video may show up in Google search results for years. This gives individuals even more reason to be concerned about being unknowingly recorded while in the locker room, men’s room, or while having what they assume is a private conversation.

Due to these concerns, experts are recommending etiquette for wearable technology. Removal will likely be required during movies or theatrical performances, for instance, and many are calling for rules about their wear in locker rooms or public restrooms. With Google currently working on creating Google Glass for those who need corrective lenses, however, some wearers may not be able to remove those glasses at designated times.

As a result, some venues are already taking measures to force etiquette upon Google Glass wearers. Caesar’s Entertainment has banned Google Glass from use while gambling or attending events in its showrooms and a café in Seattle banned them with the statement that customers should respect the privacy of other diners.

Thankfully, legislators have begun asking questions in the interest of ensuring Google Glass upholds privacy laws. A group of congressmen have sent Google a letter asking for clarification on how the device works. Still, the concerns are directed more at what information is stored on Google’s servers than information users might upload online.

In an era where social media has allowed consumers to share every aspect of each day, concerns about wearable technology are founded. While one-on-one, it will be easy to see the blinking light that indicates someone is being recorded. However, in a crowd situation, spotting that light isn’t quite as easy, leading individuals to be legitimately concerned that they might be captured without realizing it.

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