Like self-driving cars, Google Glass devices – those intriguing contraptions that allow users to be “online connected” at all times – appear to be one of those innovations that spark a thousand “what if?” scenarios.
And it’s not at all clear what all the implications of Google Glass may be. But we’re beginning to get some clues as to what’s in store for users.
For starters, Google Glass owners have been sternly warned against using them in locker rooms, movie theaters, casinos … and even restaurants.
And earlier this month, attorney Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, claimed that Google Glass wearers in some states could potentially face prosecution for recording people without their explicit consent.
In a recent online column, Mr. Levy wrote:
“Many states require the consent of all parties in a conversation – at least, conversations not occurring in public situations – and provide both criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for participants.”
While such laws are on the books in just 12 states at the moment, collectively those jurisdictions represent more than a third of the American population (including the all-important states of California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois).
So far, there doesn’t appear to be any record of prosecutions pertaining to using a Google Glass device to record someone without his or her consent. But since these devices are such a rarity yet, that seems hardly surprising.
Too, there’s the possibility that the courts will rule that people are giving the wearer of a Google Glass device implicit consent to record them. However, there’s something to the notion that many people would be basically clueless about whether they’re being recorded because of their unfamiliarity with the device and the technology.
And as if that angle isn’t enough, now there’s a company (FacialNetwork) that has developed a real-time facial recognition app for Google Glass. With this app, called NameTag, people can snap a photo and search for more information online about the image – all in one action.
With new technology like this, finding a mate (or just a good-time girl or guy) will never be the same again.
Nor will the inevitable charges of invasion of privacy or stalking that follow.
Of course, to hear how the folks at FacialNetwork characterize it, you’d never think there were any potential negative consequences. Instead, it’s all sweetness and light. As NameTag co-creator Kevin Tussy puts it:
“It’s not about invading anyone’s privacy; it’s about connecting people that want to be connected. We will even allow users to have one profile that is seen during business hours, and another that is only seen in social situations.”
And now … let the legal wrangling begin.