An interesting article in The Telegraph regarding Google Glass and how techno-quette will need to change to reflect the potential of invasion of privacy unknown previously.
The vision of constant surveillance is the one raised by Google Glass, nonetheless. The wearable computer that Google hopes we will all be wearing like glasses comprises a tiny camera, a microphone and a screen. Our every sight will be augmented with extra information, and everything recorded. (For more about Google Glass, read here.)
As Google’s Eric Schmidt put it, “We’ll have to develop some new social etiquette. It’s obviously not appropriate to wear these glasses in situations where recording is not correct.” And indeed you have this problem already with phones. Companies like Google have a very important responsibility to keep your information safe but you have a responsibility as well which is to understand what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and behave appropriately and also keep everything up to date.”
This technology brings up two, at least, very interesting and troubling etiquette dilemmas. 1) That a Google Glass wearer can record anything, any time, anywhere, anyone without it being explicitly obvious that they are. 2) Augmented reality which creates scenarios previously unknown in social and civil interchanges. For example, you could be introduced to a new person who is promptly accessing your Facebook profile to instantly know more about you than you cared to have revealed on first meeting.
The issue of privacy is one that has been increasing in an Instagram and Facebook world. We’ve already seen stories of party goers and hosts discovering dozens of photos of what should have been a private function plastered all over social media. With Google Glass, one does not know when the recording is occurring and worse, it could be streamed live. Anyone within proximity of a Google Glass wearer knows he/she had better be on their best behavior lest one wrong slip ends up going viral. A person should have an expectation of personal privacy even in public places, meaning if one chooses to go shopping at the corner market, you should expect to not see images of yourself published online.
I have a good lawyer who represents Ehell’s legal interests and over the years the primary concern was protection of privacy of private citizens who may be the subject of the stories published to the site and in books. On occasion people send me stories that are so full of credible identity markers that I cannot use them. Until people choose to identify themselves, I have no legal right to pull the mask off the face. When I read about Google Glass, I wonder if we are heading to a crisis breaking point where it will become illegal to film or record people who have not given permission to be filmed. In the US it is already illegal in most states to record a telephone conversation unless both parties consent so the laws need to keep pace with the technology.
Augmented reality will change how we socially interact with each other. Wearing your Google Glass, you can access a LinkedIn profile, Facebook or MySpace, etc. and instantly have a considerable knowledge advantage over the person you’ve just met. Education, marital status, current and past employment are accessed. How does one handle the situation if, upon newly meeting someone, they ask, “I see you have a grandson named Luke. Do you enjoy being a grandma?” You hadn’t intended to give that piece of information out on first acquaintance but the Google Glass wearer and your sloppy security has left you vulnerable and awkward. Should we really have to go to considerable lengths to secure our privacy or should people have an innate deference to protecting other people’s privacy?