Google Glass: Finally, a justifiable reason for a punch in the face

Early reviews are in, and Google's high-tech specs are a hit -- if you're an overprivileged elitist dork

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Then there are the privacy concerns inherent in a device that can record everything that happens in front of it, 24/7. If (ahem) "normal" people start wearing these things in large numbers, it will be like having a fleet of Google Street View vans following you around town.

Yes, you would be in public, where there is a lowered expectation of privacy. Yes, there are a gazillion security cameras already recording us in many public places. But that's a trade-off we choose to make, assuming the footage will be used for the reason it was taken -- to deter and/or identify potential criminals -- and no other. With Google Glass, any old glasshole can record video of you picking your nose (or worse) and immediately upload it to the Web.

Hitting the Google Glass ceiling

Not surprisingly, there's already a strong backlash against the technology. A group calling itself Stop the Cyborgs is selling T-shirts, stickers, and signs that declare Google Glass has been banned on the premises. (It's not legally enforceable, but a statement nonetheless.)

Cyber law specialist Jonathan Ezor, director of the Touro Law Center Institute for Business, Law, and Technology, has proposed a "look-wrap" privacy policy T-shirt for Glass wearers.

This device sees and hears everything I see and hear, records it, and uploads it to Google. It also has GPS so it knows where I am, and where you are too. Other than this T-shirt, you get no notice or awareness of this recording. If I can see or hear you, you have no choice and do not get to consent. You are granted no access or participation in what information Google and I are collecting about you. The integrity and the security of the information is also out of your control; on the other hand, my integrity may be questionable, and my security at risk, because I am wearing Google Glass. You get no enforcement rights, and you only get redress if I change what I'm wearing and take off the Google Glass.


Scoble says the privacy concerns are overblown, and if you really wanted to spy on people, a smartphone is a better tool. There are so many flaws in his argument I don't know where to start, so I'll just say this: Scoble is a guy who likes to post naked pictures of himself on the Internet. Why would you listen to anything he says about privacy?

You can choose to use Facebook and Twitter -- or not. You can choose to surf the Web freely or make an effort to cloak your activities online. You can opt in or out of a myriad of companies that want to sell your data.

Google Glass? Not your choice. It's their choice. That's an even bigger problem than sheer dorkiness.

Would you wear Google Glass? Why or why not? Post your thoughts below or email me:

This article, "Google Glass: Finally, a justifiable reason for a punch in the face," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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