Google Glass is no longer allowed at Guantanamo Bay after Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg tried to wear the device to a pre-trial hearing related to a September 11 case and then tweeted, “New sign at Guantanamo warcourt: No GoogleGlass – or any other visual enhancement device,” reports Chris Matyszczyk for CNET.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Google Glass was banned
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Google Glass was banned, after all it’s pretty much the perfect storm of prohibited gadgets: a camera, video recorder, storage device, MP3 player, personal computer (of sorts). It would have been much more surprising if they had let it through. With only one pair on the compound (one of around 8,000 beta versions currently in use), guards probably could have just told Rosenberg not to wear it, but they decided to make it official.
“As the only user of Glass currently on the base,” said Rosenberg, “I appreciated the personal touch.”
The new restriction, while in line with existing policies, does raise the question why it is so hard to report from Guantanamo in the first place. Rosenberg was interviewed by New York Magazine about how to get reporting done in Gitmo, and she explained that part of the problem was that every time a new wave of soldiers came through (in rotations of up to two years) the understanding of policies would change and she would have to fight to be able to do her job all over again.
She also said that she takes it for granted that reporters are probably being monitored the whole time they are on the island.
“Well, there are two soldiers in the room with me right now,” she said, giving the interview by phone, “and there’s a red sticker on my phone that says, ‘This telephone is subject to monitoring at all times, use of this phone constitutes consent to monitoring.’ I think being on this island basically constitutes consent to being monitored.”
While the need for security is understandable and no one is arguing that journalists should have free reign at a military installation, the banning of Google Glass along with any other device a journalist might use to record what’s happening and report about it is troubling.