Google glass privacy issues make them look like peeping toms

StopTheCyborgs wants to stop the Google Glass, as the opposition against walking around with "Google's outer brain strapped to our faces" grows. The stopthecyborgs site is taking this very seriously;

These concerns go beyond privacy. There are serious consequences for human society. There will no longer be any distinction between the ‘digital world’ and the ‘real world’. People will make decisions and interact with other humans in the real world in a way which increasingly depends on information that Google Glass tells them.

Gradually people will stop acting as autonomous individuals, when making decisions and interacting with others, and instead become mere sensor/effector nodes of a global network. There will be no room for multiple identities, hypocrisy or experimentation. There will be no space in which you can escape your online profile and the system will be controlled by a small group of corporations.

Meanwhile, less paranoid people are comparing the glasses to simple webcams. A webcam with apps, facial recognition and a direct and constant connection to the cloud.. This sounds more like a RAT, or have you not heard of the men who spy on women through their computers webcams? With Google being a tad lax on security, who is to say we won't have people hacking into our glass to watch what we see. Who is to say that Google won't? If they can watch every move you make, will they not collect this data?

Who is afraid of google glass? asks Techcrunch's Jon Evans as he skips the moral panic and heads straight to worrying about a sea of terrible home video uploaded to youtube.

We may ultimately need augmented reality glasses in order to filter out all the bad videos of other people’s mediocre augmented realities. Maybe that’s what Pat Cadigan meant by “then you eat video.” On my bad days I feel like we’re all about to drown in a sea of awful home movies, while being tracked by drone- and signpost-mounted surveillance cameras 24/7/365; like we’re all sleepwalking onwards into a really tacky dystopia. Brace yourselves.

There's good coming out of this great leap forward in software interaction, as the Glass can help people drive their wheelchairs with the eye-tracking software. We might end up with retina-Google only ten years from now, judging by the speed of how fast things move forward today.

The Guardian wonders if the Google Glass is a threat to our privacy.

David Yee, the chief technology officer at a company called Editorially, tweeted on this point the other day: "There's a young man wearing Google Glasses at this restaurant, which, until just now, used to be my favourite spot."

Yee's worry was that the young person might be filming everything and uploading it to Google's servers (and a Google+ page). Which just feels creepy. It's not a trivial concern. Joshua Topolsky, an American technology journalist who is one of the few to have tried out Google Glass – at Google's invitation – discovered this directly. He wore them to Starbucks, accompanied by a film crew. The film crew were asked to stop filming. "But I kept the Glass's video recorder going, all the way through."

Instead of addressing privacy concerns, Sergey Brin has established that the google Glasses aren't emasculating, phew that's a relief I hate to feel emasculated - wait.... are these glasses for boys only? Porn will never be the same. Thanks for addressing the concern that none of us had, at all. In the opt-out world of wireless spying you're telling us that we're more bad-ass because we don't have to touch stuff. Because, cooties.

Back to the very real concern of privacy. Google who had to agree to a 20 year privacy audit from the FTC after the Buzz fiasco is beginning to suffer a brand backlash. CBS news reports that Google privacy issues in forefront again, as Google played down the security breach - or simple 'mistake' - that allowed any app creator to see where you the app buyer lived. There are already Cafés in Seattle banning the use of Glass in their establishments. In Europe data watchdogs said on Monday they plan to take action against Google by this summer for its privacy policy, which allows the search engine to pool user data from across all its services ranging from YouTube to Gmail. This is illegal in most European countries.

So are Google Evil yet? Might depend on how cool the glasses look on you.

AnonymousCoward's picture
AnonymousCoward's picture

Anyone wearing these should be publicly shunned.

MrMacDude's picture

Google Glass in our sci-fi world: Who cares about privacy anyway?

Take Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt as an example. In 2009, he made news when he said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

News outlets at the time noted that Schmidt had had a strong reaction in 2005 when CNET published personal information about him. The tech website wrote a story about privacy concerns concerning Google as it amassed huge amounts of information about people. So the site did some Google searches and found Schmidt’s salary, neighborhood, hobbies and political donations. Schmidt then issued a company gag order; Google reps could not talk to CNET News for a year.

By 2010, Schmidt was cautioning against revealing too much online — “I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time.” He said “we really have to think about these things as a society.”

Do as I say not as I do.

George Schwartz's picture

I'm with you all the way but as a non techie, I would like explanation of how thes glasses work....i.e. how and what do you find out about the person sitting next to you? What is the process?

Dabitch's picture

You command the glasses with "OK GLASS [command]", so anything that you can do in G+ (with hangouts etc, mailing friends), you can do with Google glass. Anything you can do with Chrome, you can do with Glass. You can search google maps, google images, google how to tie a sailors knot or whatevs.