Google Glass: Google Addresses Privacy Concerns Regarding Facial Recognition Technology

One initial idea for a Google Glass app was to implement facial recognition technology to create an app that would help users scan a crowded room for a familiar face.  Whereas the initial intent appeared useful rather than harmful, a number of safety concerns were cited before apps using facial recognition features were banned. Google’s futuristic glasses have almost unlimited potential to change the world as we know it.  Google has been well-known for taking reasonable precautionary measures in almost all Google products.  For example, Google Search is strictly anti-porn due to a myriad of different legal and ethical issues that are prevalent among online pornography sites.


Google Policy for Recording Video with Google Glass

Google has also implemented a policy that the light above the eye must be on when taking pictures or recording video in order to further address privacy concerns.  The approach to “better safe than sorry” has addressed some concerns regarding Google Glass.  It is important to recognize that covert and affordable recording technology already exists in different formats.  In fact, hidden cameras are available for purchase in many different formats, one of which looks like a pair of normal eyeglasses.  More so than the ability to be videotaped or photographed in public is the concern that an individual’s image could be almost instantly paired with a wealth of personal data previously published online.

Historical Lack of Privacy Online and Offline

Many people are concerned about personal privacy and new Google Glass technology.  Almost all new technology grants individuals with malicious intent to access sensitive information.  A few prime examples of how common technology often results in misuse by third parties with criminal intent include the following listed below:

  • Theft of credit card information is common among people that hack e-commerce websites as well as people that place malware onto personal computers in hopes of accessing sensitive financial information (e.g. spyware installed via phony emails).
  • Access to personal information after hacking personal e-mail accounts or personal social media profiles.
  • Defamation of personal character after posting unflattering pictures or illegally presenting oneself as a different person in an attempt to slander another individual via email.

It is often difficult to recognize the inherent lack of privacy both online and when in public.  Before the Internet became popular, many people would attempt to steal personal financial information by stealing mail from unlocked mail boxes.  New technology almost always brings new concerns about safety and privacy with it. Google has started taking measures to regulate Google Glass apps that could jeopardize personal privacy by banning applications with personal recognition features.


Addressing Prevalent Privacy Concerns and Improving Safety with Google Glass

Many people find the idea of Google Glass a little too futuristic to the point of being creepy.  Other people love the potential for new apps and computerized facial technology.  Google policy has made it clear that developers are not allowed to use facial recognition software for privacy purposes.  It is important to recognize the potential safety benefits of Google Glass.  Some potential apps that could improve individual safety are listed below:

  • Apps that utilize thermal imaging to sense possible threats such as muggers in parking structures
  • Apps that make calling emergency services and conveying GPS coordinates quicker and easier
  • Apps that quickly record time stamped video footage for legal purposes such as violation of no contact orders

Google has adopted a pro-privacy stance on Google Glass technology and applications.  It is difficult to predict the exact future benefits and policies for Google Glass apps.

Strange New Technology or Helpful Mobile Device?

It is safe to assume that many people will decide whether or not to use Google Glass as a matter of personal preference.  Currently, Google Glass application technology is in its infancy. Wearable computerized devices will likely face years of improvements, policy changes, and varying amounts of social acceptance.

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