Banned already? Google Glass seeing privacy issues

Google Glass isn’t even widely available yet, but it’s already banned at one Seattle bar whose owner says he wants to, basically, protect the seedy nature of his establishment. Dave Meinert claims his 5 Point Cafe is the first business to ban the Internet-connected spectacles in advance “because we don’t let people film other people or take photos unwanted of people in the bar, because it is kind of a private place that people go,” according to GeekWire. While there are many supporters of the ban on the bar’s Facebook page — where it was announced, complete with “and ass kickings will be encouraged for violators” — many others bring up the obvious: What about smartphones — which can take photo and video — are they banned, too? (No, because the 5 Point’s Facebook page has photos obviously taken using them.)

It’s just the latest example of the privacy concerns surrounding Google’s wearable computing device, which arguably makes it easier to secretly record video than ever before. Check out the Verge‘s test drive of Glass. Joshua Topolsky writes that he was able to continue recording at a Starbucks even after his camera crew was asked to stop recording.

There will be geeks among us who will think this is all cool and neat and won’t care about their drunk escapades being uploaded to YouTube, or worse. But is anyone else seeing a future where the Google glasses are checked at the door? Glass owners who shell out $1,500 for the device, or those who might have Glass integrated into their prescription lenses, may put up a fight about that. Expect to read more about confiscation confusion, with a little Constitutional concern mixed in.

And of course, the questions go beyond in-the-moment recording. Where do the recordings go? This is Google, the Guardian‘s Charles Arthur writes: “For Google, ‘privacy’ means ‘what you’ve agreed to,’ and that is slightly different from the privacy we’ve become used to over time.”

But with the growing popularity of wearable computing, what about the rumored upcoming iWatch from Apple, which may have similar capabilities as Glass? Will recordings and other personal data be safer with Apple than Google? What about other companies? Should we trust them, or mistrust them all?



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  • Bryan

    It will make it harder for the authorities to prevent videos being taken and emailed showing them beating protestors or shooting them as has happened in too many US cities and of course by the Israeli soldiers during their 60 years operating the huge concentration camp known as Gaza.

  • RedRat

    I think we all have a right to privacy. We have a right not to be photographed if we don’t want to. Probably what needs to be done is to put a sign up at the door saying that no photography is allowed on the premises. That means cell phones, cameras, Google Glass, etc. And “NO” means “NO”! Further, no one can give permission to be photographed at the establishment, so if your friend decides to take your picture with your permission, the owner should be able to take the phone away (return the device when the patron leaves). If you want to be photographed, simple, just go outside.

  • Robert

    Mistrust everyone. It’s safer.

  • curmudgeon2000

    See also:

    The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

  • PapaDisco

    Funny, 100 years ago you used to have to check your gun. Now the concealed gun is o.k. but you have to check your glasses!