(Candidate’s Full Name)
Impact on Privacy
Google’s latest invention is being launched across the globe. Described as an augmented reality eyewear, the “Google Glass” brings all features of our smart phones (such as voice communication, web browsing, camera, social media usage and apps) directly into our eyes and under the command of our voice. Ever since the concept was first introduced, and the prototype launched, Google Glass has attracted both fans and critics. While supporters consider this product to be the most significant technological advancement of the 21st century, it has also garnered many criticisms on the grounds of distraction, detachment and (most importantly) privacy. This paper discusses the impact of Google Glass on privacy; will it affect our lives in any way?
In a report on the reasons for rejecting Google Glass, it is highlighted that 72% Americans cited “privacy issues” as the biggest reason for not wanting to buy and use Google Glass. The issue of data collection and storage on glass was raised in a letter by eight U.S. Congressmen addressed to Google CEO Larry Page. It is an alarming indicator on the privacy concerns involving Google Glass.
Stop the Cyborgs is a London-based organization that is a vocal critic of the use of Google Glass and calls for private banning of the device and all related/similar devices. In an article on the potential dangers of using Google Glass, a spokesman of the organization questions, “What is more dangerous for us? Being under camera surveillance or one of our friends posting something offensive about us on a social forum? In most cases, it is the latter” The frequent usage of Google glass will create more problems for us, since much of our lives will be recorded and uploaded online, adding further to the issues of privacy. .
Some of the salient features of Google Glass include hands-free video recording and picture taking with a blink of an eye or voice command. This will prove to be particularly useful for those engaging in extreme sports as they will not have to carry bulky equipments to record their experiences. It will also be useful for domestic use. However, such video-recording also raises the issue of its impact of privacy. In an article on the Impact of Google Glass, Simon Thomas argues, “Google Glass is capable of taking snaps or recording videos, without the user’s knowledge and consent. Potential concerns; such as accidentally sharing sensitive data, e.g. your PIN number, by forgetting to turn off the Glass while streaming live video can be a major problem. Furthermore, Google Glass can be hacked; leading to all aspects of your personal and professional life being unwittingly shared with the entire world - imagine a more sinister version of the movie the 'Truman Show' becoming reality!” Other concerns include the quantity and quality of data about the user of Google Glass that will be at the disposal of Google Inc. through the use of the device. The company will be able to access a users subconscious, tracking both eye and head movement. The data gathered could be used to send the users advertisements, urging them buy things and much more or sometimes creating an artificial need to buy certain products. .
One of the websites also reiterates the issue of privacy related to the use of Google Glass and states that, potentially complete loss of privacy is a major problem. For the users of the device, the risk is that their activities and actions are susceptible to being monitored by the manufacturer for the purpose of collecting information about the user or any other purpose the manufacturer deems fit. For people who are in the proximity of these glasses or right in front of them, there is also a risk that they are being filmed, photographed or researched without their consent and knowledge. While there is no reported case of such an event ever occurring, Google Inc. is taking this privacy risk seriously and designing and implementing various steps to ensure that people are aware that they are being recorded and have signified their assent to the extent required, such that their privacy is not compromised. .
Smartglasses.org. (2013). Google Smart Glasses Revolution.
Steele, C., & Murray, M. (2013, June). The Dark Side of Google Glass. News+Trends , p. 4.
Thomas, S. (2013, October 9). Google Glass: How will it impact on our everyday lives?