Google Glass is the latest gadget intended to be launched by Google in 2014 and is currently being tested by public users. It is a wearable computer with a head mounted display which will do everything that your phone or other mobile device does, including taking pictures and videos via voice command.
Although initially Google Glass was seen by the media as an amazing new gadget that would change the world, it has now become shrouded in negative connotations greatly stemming from concerns surrounding privacy issues. There are large campaigns in place such as the “Stop The Cyborg” campaign, who are adamant that there should be numerous restrictions in place such as something which clearly indicates when a device is recording. There are also a number of businesses who have pre-emptively banned the use of Google Glass in their establishments. This generally goes against the argument made that as it only does what your current mobile device does but just hands-free – is it really such a big deal, with feeling being that you can clearly see when a phone, camera or other mobile device is being used to record you.
There are an array of other concerns with this new device such as the amount of personal information obtained by Google through Google Glass and how it will make identity theft and the ability to blackmail people with their personal information such as photos and videos once thought private, much more easily achievable. Another worry is how easy the device would be to steal and whether or not enough measures can be put in place to counteract this.
There could be other angles to consider here, such as 2008 and 2011 studies which showed that the obvious awareness of cameras encouraged approval – seeking behaviours and discouraged school students from cheating on tests. Former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt said in 2009 “If you have something that you don’t want people to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”. Is Eric Schmidt on to something here, could this worry about being “caught out” encourage society to behave better? Could it cut crime? Is this potentially a positive step for society despite all the growing concern? Only time will tell.