In a fantastic article from the UK’s Guardian newspaper today, Charles Arthur postulates that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is once again striking a blow against privacy with its Google Glass that is presently being market tested as you read. I find it easy(ish) to ignore your average privacy advocate, but there is little doubt that privacy battles regarding Google Glass are just over the horizon.

google glass

To call Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s information gathering pernicious is to risk understatement at a very high-level. To give Google access to what we see is a massive step somewhere: Up? Down? Sideways? Forwards? These questions will all have to be answered.

David Yee, the chief technology officer at a company called Editorially, tweeted on this point the other day: “There’s a young man wearing Google Glasses at this restaurant, which, until just now, used to be my favourite spot.”

He makes a great point. If I notice someone filming me with a phone, we’re going to have words and he may find himself in the market for a new phone quite quickly. What is truly frightening is that I’m just not trained yet to recognize someone using Glass, and I could already be involuntarily on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s servers. Joshua Topolsky, an American technology journalist knows this already. At Google’s invitation, Mr. Topolsky recently walked into a Starbuck’s wearing Glass along with a film crew. Employees familiar with Starbuck’s corporate policies immediately demanded the film crew turn off their cameras, they didn’t think to ask him to turn off his glasses.

When was the last time you read an entire “Terms of Use” before accepting them? They aren’t small drafts of personalized text but tomes of boilerplate designed to be overlooked. I remember with no small amount of frustration watching my mother endeavour to sift through Facebook’s terms of use before “signing up.” I understand her concerns but either click accept or don’t use FB mom. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has shown over and over again that it believes “privacy” is “what you agree to.”

If you use a smartphone, chances are Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) knows where you are with an Orwellian degree of accuracy. With the addition of Glass, Google will rapidly approach knowing what you’re going to do or what you’re thinking before even you do.

We live in a world where your city may have thousands of CCTV cameras, but they don’t have millions. Millions of video feeds monitored by Google and Google alone.

The remainder of this piece points out and asks a myriad of questions that as of yet have no answers. But each question, for those concerned about their privacy, asks many more with each question asked.


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