After admitting last week that its Street View project has violated the privacy of people, Google is facing another controversy in its Glass project. The worry of various critics comes from the idea that Google will be able to track a person’s whereabouts, what the user is looking at, the pictures the person is taking or recording, plus other information that could affect privacy.
But majority of the worries do not only come from the future users of the product because they can simply turn it off or deactivate it anyway during times where it would interfere with their own privacy. The issues are actually raised by people who would be in the vicinity of the users of Google Glass.
According to Adweek’s technology news, an establishment called The 5 Point Café located in Seattle even banned the use of Google Glass inside its bar and diner. Its post in the social media about its move even gained 528 “likes” as of March 19. Then, a site called Stop the Cyborgs was also put up by a bunch of anti-Google Glass people to talk about the disadvantages of the product in the society. Their stated objective according to the news source is to “stop a future in which privacy is impossible and corporate control is total.”
For those who are curious about the theme of the site, they used “cyborg” as a term for people who are wearing Google’s product because they are actually technologically enhanced. This is similar to the portrayal of cyborgs in popular media wherein they are equipped with bionic implants and prosthetic body parts including pacemakers. For short, a person who is part machine can qualify as such.
Although the makers of the anti-cyborg site made it clear that they support the right of individuals to use the product, they are wary about the consequences of a networked cybernetic system. They stated that corporations might use the gathered information of the devices to gain control of an individual’s crucial data. In the long-run, companies can exploit it to their advantage and to sway the norms of the society by prescribing certain set of actions that come with incentives.
Jeff Jarvis, an associate professor at the City University of New York, enumerated the things about the Glass project that cause panic to people. Among them is that users of the technology can just shoot the images around them without asking permission from the people around whether they want their images captured or not. All the user has to do is utter a voice command and that person will be able to record everything that comes into view.
In addition to the problems stated by Jarvis, the Google Glass could be used as well in stealing industrial secrets like the ones portrayed in movies and video games. This can be avoided though by developing a strict policy against it in work areas.
As reported by the source, Congress is keeping an eye on the project. It is currently under probe by the subcommittee on privacy technology and the law after Senator Al Franken of Minnesota presented it. They are reserving judgment on the matter though.