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Should We Be Afraid of Google Glass? 307

Posted by Soulskill
from the watch-your-life-on-youtube dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article at TechCrunch bemoans the naysayers of ubiquitous video camera headsets, which seems like a near-term certainty whether it comes in the form of Google Glass or a similar product. The author points out, rightly, that surveillance cameras are already everywhere, and increasingly sophisticated government drones and satellites mean you're probably on camera more than you think already. 'But there's something about being caught on video, not by some impersonal machine but by another human being, that sticks in people's craws and makes them go irrationally berserk.' However, he also seems happy to trade privacy for security, which may not be palatable to others. He references a time he was mugged in Mexico as well as a desire to keep an eye on abuses of authority from police and others. 'If pervasive, ubiquitous networked cameras ultimately make public privacy impossible, which seems likely, then at least we can balance the scales by ensuring that we have two-way transparency between the powerful and the powerless.'"
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Should We Be Afraid of Google Glass?

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  • by l3v1 (787564) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:33AM (#43190563)
    " 'If pervasive, ubiquitous networked cameras ultimately make public privacy impossible, which seems likely, then at least we can balance the scales by ensuring that we have two-way transparency between the powerful and the powerless."

    Well, may be so, however, I still won't tolerate you coming to my home, to my gym, to my office, to my restaurant, to my pub, etc. wearing a camera. You can choose to loose your privacy somewhere else.
  • Be Afraid? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:35AM (#43190581) Homepage Journal

    Well no, we should not be afraid. We should be thoughtful. We should consider the ramifications. We should act accordingly. I'm not having anyone come into my house wearing those things, but then I'm not having anyone come in with camcorders either. If I were running a business open to the public, I'd love to have people come in while wearing them, as it would provide me an opportunity to demonstrate it.

  • Fat Chance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:42AM (#43190631)

    then at least we can balance the scales by ensuring that we have two-way transparency between the powerful and the powerless.

    That will never happen. The powerful will always have more ability and opportunity to meddle with the data than the powerless. Just look at how Dick Cheney was able to get his house blurred out of google earth. [wired.com] The occasional powerful dumbass will get busted to "prove" the system is fair, but the really competent criminals will skate just like they do today.

  • by epine (68316) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:43AM (#43190637)

    HIV is "already everywhere". So too was slavery. "Already everywhere" is the pragmatism of the damned.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:51AM (#43190671)

    Google Glass doesn't invade my privacy.
    People invade my privacy.

    (Apologies to gun-rights activists.)

    Seriously, Google Glass, like existing security cameras or guns for that matter, can be used for good or evil.

    How we (or our future (presemt?) robot overlords) use it and what formal or informal rules society adopts to allow desired uses and deter non-desired ises is the issue, not the device itself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:11AM (#43190787)

    Well, may be so, however, I still won't tolerate you coming to my home, to my gym, to my office, to my restaurant, to my pub, etc. wearing a camera.

    Awwww. *pinches your cheeks* Remember when people said that about pagers and cell phones? That was just as cute.

    Remember folks, be sure to hug a conservative. They have an irrational fear of change, be it emanicpation or airplanes or suffrage or cameras. They need comforting, not convincing. Just hold their hands as they take baby steps into a brave new world each day.

  • Typical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:20AM (#43190847)

    >"The author points out, rightly, that surveillance cameras are already everywhere"

    Typical "justification". So because there are already cameras in many places, there is nothing wrong with having them everywhere, all the time, possibly recording and sharing everything, including audio.... even at your restaurant table.

    >"that sticks in people's craws and makes them go irrationally berserk."

    Typical again. So anyone that could possibly have a problem could only react by being "irrational" about it?

    >"However, he also seems happy to trade privacy for security,"

    Could it get even more typical? Seems all the rage for a long time now to not give a damn about privacy or freedom. The vast majority of people are quick to trade privacy and freedom for convenience and the illusion of safety.

    Difficult times are coming. Technology is never bad/evil, but what people DO with it can be. I hope people who are eager to strap on something like Google Glass think about how it might affect others around them. There are a lot of unanswered questions about moving into a world where everyone (and every company/government) knows everything about everyone at all times.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:23AM (#43190869)

    I can't believe anyone would mod that up. That is the oldest one in the book "if you have nothing to hide". Here are some things to thing about:

    * If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me

    * Other people define what is "right" or "wrong" and that definition changes all the time

    * Someone else might do something wrong with my information

    * Pieces of information, taken out of context, can lead people to wrong conclusions

    * Scanning information, you can always FIND something that might be wrong or abused

    * You can be at the wrong place at the wrong time and still have done nothing wrong

    * You can't possibly know what way some information might be used against you at the time it is collected

    * Computers don't "forget" and you can't control how long some system will hold information about you

    * Once information is collected, you don't know who that company might share it with, nor why, nor how often

    * The only "safe" information, is the information not collected or offered

  • by bdcrazy (817679) <bdc_tggr-forums@yahoo.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:40AM (#43190977) Homepage

    Just don't commit any crimes...
    Just don't be associated with those who commit crimes.
    Don't be associated with those who are associated with people who commit crimes.
    Certainly don't walk/run/drive/bicycle through any place that has recently had a crime committed.
    Don't appear to be doing something worthy of being noticed, even if it is benign.
    Don't get in the way of people who would rather have what you have.
    Don't make people upset with you.
    Don't let people get upset with you even though they don't know you.
    Don't have the wrong skin color.
    Don't have the wrong gender.

    People may argue slippery slope, but most of those are already being used EVERY SINGLE DAY to target people. Collection = abuse. You can't get around having it, if you're not gonna have people use it. Occasional news reports about people at the DMV grabbing celebrities police reports and that is stuff people think is necessary to collect! What about everything else? Also, the security of databases stinks. More so via people than technology.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:01PM (#43191075)

    The OP was being sarcastic but you are correct nonetheless. The comments from facebook and google about "privacy being a thing of the past" are hilarious. Guess what they're selling? Your information, your privacy, the details of your life. Of course they want privacy gone, they'll have a field day. Both groups are marketing companies, they sell adverts.

    Get your legal system in order Americans, if the government was doing this you'd be out on the streets rioting. And don't for one second think that the government won't have full access to all of this data.

  • Re:Google OWNS you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:37PM (#43191227)

    Exactly!

    The problem is not "people" recording as much as images sent to Google'a servers. We already know it automatically tries to identify people, so that information is STORED somewhere along with the whole camera frame, whatever might be in it. Like rob here says, the ENTIRE PURPOSE is for Google to gather those ancillary images and sounds and sell ads to the highest bidder. You walk into a bar, what beer is advertized? What song is playing while you're dancing? You can quickly see that turning into ad data sold to beer companies based on who saw their ads, and forwarding a list of bars that didn't pay ASCAP for the DJ last night.

    People miss that this ALL PRIVACY being targeted... We already have complaints from PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS that wish people not to use Google Glass there. YOUR HOME is next... I mean all your friends have Googke Glass, they aren't going to look in your medicine cabinet, or see your brand of foot-fungus cream. Remember these are the AUTOMATED images, so Google isn't invading THEIR PRIVACY because their photos, videos, audio tracks are password protected. Google is just racking up EVERYBODY AROUND them!!

    THAT is the change here. When I go to a place, I expect them to have cameras in case of robbery or breakin. But MAINTAINING cameras is HARD. Most have a tape or DVR of limited space and keep reusing the space. Generally something from six months ago is "forgotten". Google Glass is you running around taking pictures of everybody else's stuff. And storing it in a vast server farm wher Google is going to use it for their own private purposes.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:39PM (#43191239) Journal
    Please explain what you mean by you wont tolerate it? What gives you the right to stop me from collecting photons in public? In what way is your privacy greater then my right to collect photons? Do you tell the gym or the pub to stop recording on security cams you when you walk in the door? Because the vast majority of them are recording you. Further, the vast majority of places you mentioned, almost every single person is already carrying a recording device via cellphone. If im in the pub and i use my cellphone clipped to my shirt to record something, are you gonna get mad at that too?
  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:45PM (#43191283)

    That's the "party line", Right.

    You notice the people that want cameras and guns the most, don't seem to like the cameras and guns pointed BACK. They live in gated communities and send ther kids to private schools with paper-only records.

    Lets see Google's boss wear these into a board meeting and keep it ACTIVE while Google's board is discussing stuff. Most board members would not tolerate that kind of interference in board meetings.. Cause they got nothing to hide! Right?

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @03:13PM (#43192229) Homepage Journal

    I don't see what "the government" has to do with any of the things you listed.

    The article's premise was that pervasive surveillance can be viewed as acceptable under the aegis of "trading" privacy for government transparency, which, in the surveillance context, means that we are watching them.

    I'm suggesting that's very likely a bad idea. You're saying the tech is unavoidable. I'm saying that the use of that tech is governed by law, particularly privacy laws of various stripes (you can't record audio in many cases, you have to have a warrant to record a telephone conversation, you can't convey what you hear on certain radio frequencies, etc.) The idea that we accept pervasive surveillance as a trade for the ability to watch the government, couched as an argument for "transparency", is going to be mediated by law, which in turn we might have a chance to stick an opinion in the mix before pervasive tech turns into pervasive exposure.

    Sorry I was unclear, I didn't mean to be. It's a big issue for people concerned with privacy. It's a non-issue for those who don't understand what privacy was and can be. In between, there are a lot of levels of understanding.

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