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Google Glass and Surveillance Culture 318

Posted by timothy
from the looking-sharp dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech journalist Milo Yiannopoulos asks the question lurking in everyone's mind about Google Glass. 'It's an audacious product for a company no one trusts to behave responsibly with our data: a pair of glasses that can monitor and record the world around you,' he writes. 'But if Glass becomes as ubiquitous as the iPhone, are we truly to believe that Google will not attempt to abuse that remarkable power?' With each new eyebrow-raising court judgment and federal fine levied against Google, he adds, 'it becomes ever more clear that this is a company hell-bent on innovating first and asking questions later, if ever. And its vision, shared with other California technology companies, is of corporate America redefining societal privacy norms in the service of advertising companies and their clients.' He feels that Google will eventually end up in some sort of court battle over Google Glass and privacy. Do you agree? Does Google Glass deserve extra scrutiny before it hits the market?"
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Google Glass and Surveillance Culture

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:12AM (#43338257)

    Is Tech journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, by any chance, in some way affiliated with Microsoft? Just guess.

  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:13AM (#43338291) Journal

    What are they going to do? Limit sales to law enforcement agencies only? Surveillance is only an issue when it's one way, and whatever is recorded can be used against you by the authorities, public and private.

  • Not a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:14AM (#43338295) Homepage

    Does Google Glass deserve extra scrutiny before it hits the market?"

    No, it deserves scrutiny after it hits the market. Passing judgement before the product is even finalized is just an exercise in fearmongering (how can you judge something when you don't yet know what it does?) and smacks of prior restraint [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:14AM (#43338299)

    They have access to soo much data for such a long period of time now.
    There was the Street View wifi-network thing. But for the rest: very little abuse of power. I'ld say that they are doing a good job. Certainly better than the disasters we've seen from Apple (GPS data collection), Sony PSN (leaked almost everything), Facebook ("It's not a leak, we sold your information").

  • by John Napkintosh (140126) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:15AM (#43338315) Homepage

    I can opt out of wearing the goggles, so I don't have to be concerned with google pushing ads into my eyeballs. I can't opt out of other people capturing me with their goggles, but this is hardly different than people collecting video in public spaces with cameraphones or more traditional video capture devices. Google themselves could pay people to wander around public spaces and collect video, surreptitiously or otherwise.

    I don't really get the controversy.

  • by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:24AM (#43338453)

    New technology often makes things which were possible but impractical, practical.

    People could wander around with traditional video capture devices, but it would be awkward for them to do so and most real-world attempts to do this would be easy to notice, even if it's theoretically possible that someone could have a little hole in their shirt pocket just for the cellphone camera to peek out of. Google could pay people to collect video, but it would be expensive on a large scale.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:28AM (#43338505)

    Only on Slashdot does someone who's anti-Google has to be pro-Microsoft.

    There's not a single Microsoft thing in my house, and I'm concerned with everything Google is doing.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:29AM (#43338523) Homepage

    Um, that's a BIT of scaremongering... Did this idiot somehow confuse Google with Facebook? Yes, Google has had some minor screwups (and some, such as the Street View mess, could barely be considered a screwup but more of FUD from clueless users who don't understand that ANYONE can see the MAC address of a wifi AP...), but nothing as major and spectacular as Facebook's routine privacy screwups.

    And yes, overall - I trust Google, as do MANY other people.

  • Re:Not a problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:29AM (#43338533)

    But what if it's okay at launch but a software upgrade makes it not okay once it's being used by 20% of the population?

    There's fearmongering and there's being blind to potential problems.

  • Re:minority report (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:36AM (#43338639) Homepage

    it's all minority report. every place you look, google glass will pop up a virtual billboard for you to see.

    I don't get this kind of reaction. So what if the one out of the box does this? We'll just learn to jailbreak it (if needed) and install an adblocker, or how to install Linux on it or whatever.

    Sometimes I have the impression technophiles' "think of the privacy implications!" is their own version of technophobes' "think of the children!" Me, I can't wait for this kind of think to come fast enough. I've grown reading and watching science fiction showing wearable computing, bionic implants, predictive smart assistants, 24/7 in-brain HUDs etc., and dreaming of it all. Now that part of it is becoming reality, and much earlier than I thought would happen thanks to Moore's Law, all I see in technology forums is FUD, FUD, FUD. What happened that caused technologists to becomes so damn cynical since just a few years ago? Is that just old age kicking in? *sigh*

  • Re:minority report (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rufty_tufty (888596) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:38AM (#43338675) Homepage

    Like mobile phones are opt in. Like the internet is opt in. Like submitting your CV to recruitment agencies in MS Word or even PDF format is opt in.
    It may get to the point where to be a functioning member of society you "have" to wear them.
    Hopefully by that stage competition has stepped in and given us other less evil options, but maybe not.

  • Re:minority report (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:45AM (#43338799) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing wrong with Google that can't be cured by the collapse of western "civilization".

  • Re:minority report (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChatHuant (801522) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:53AM (#43338899)

    I don't get this kind of reaction. So what if the one out of the box does this? We'll just learn to jailbreak it (if needed) and install an adblocker

    Because the one out of the box does this, and most people won't have the knowledge or time to change it. Google will probably not make it easy either and will add some cheap baubles for users of unmodified glasses, who won't know or care about their privacy. And this will impact you because Google can now argue that many or even most people use their services unmodified and therefore whatever way they destroy your privacy is acceptable under "community values" and should not be legally restricted.

  • Re:minority report (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:55AM (#43338935)

    It's redundant because this is the only thing noh8rz posts about. Note the ten at the end of the username? That's because he is on his tenth account, after the others all had posting limits imposed on them due to merciless - and completely justified - downvotes.

    The only thing he posts about is how evil Google is, and how awesome MS is. So yes, it is redundant - if you follow Google stories for longer than a few weeks.

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:59AM (#43339007) Journal

    it becomes ever more clear that this is a company hell-bent on innovating first and asking questions later, if ever.

    I'm totally fine with that. Make new shit, put it out there. Might be expensive at first but then it'll be hacked, copied, and democratized.

    That attitude... Just really grinds my gears. Rant incoming.

    I'm tired of the constant handwringing over EVERYTHING. Everything has to be safe, everything has to be second-guessed, everything has to be politicized, everyone has to be sued, but most importantly everyone has to be SCARED of EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

    You can't feed the world because "well, can you PROVE GMOs aren't harmful?!" "Um, you sure can't prove they are, and I think the burden falls on you to..." "BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!"

    You can't power the world because "Climate change!" "Okay, fair enough, I'll give you that one, CO2 does cause global warming. Let's switch to nuclear." "But can you PROVE it'll never blow up?!" "Well we can design plants that won't release radiation. But fine, how about wind?" "BIRDS!" "Uh, waves?" "FISH!"

    I wonder if the first caveman to build a fire had to deal with that crap. "Look, Ugh make fire. Fire good, keep warm!" "Ohhhhhh nooooOOOoooOOOooo no no no put it out it's too hot it might hurt the chiiiiiiiiillldren think of the chiiiiiiildren!"

  • Re:minority report (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bkr1_2k (237627) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @12:25PM (#43339373)

    Until the government asks for it. You have heard of the Patriot Act, right? Or, have you not seen any tv show based on police work in the last 12 years? All cops have to do is ask in most situations, without a warrant, and people automatically give full control of camera footage right over. No, it's not as good as the tv shows say but access to it is pretty much automatic these days.

    Seriously, ubiquitous cameras and fear of the police is all that is necessary. Please reference the article on secret compartments for how they instill fear of the police in otherwise reasonably honest citizens.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @01:53PM (#43340579) Homepage Journal

    ...the personal jammer. I can see it now. "Jams bluetooth, wifi and all cell bands, plus emits infrared sufficient to blind IR cameras. Small enough to fit on your person, self-destructs on command. Order now, get this wide-band audio jammer, free. Or, step up to our 'Don't Tread On Me' personal EMP line. We have models guaranteed to brick any commercial device in ranges from 10 feet to half a mile. (not for sale in USA; not responsible for collateral damage)"

    Viola, Instant black market. :)

    What's really interesting about this is that both jammers and EMP emitters are relatively trivial to design and aren't tech that can practically be suppressed.

    Perhaps privacy will get a second chance, courtesy of Google's attempt at over-reach, or even just their signal that the Orwellian idea is reaching practical application.

    Think of the secondary markets: EMP shielding for your apartment, mil-grade phones, etc.

  • I have concerns myself, I don't have an account with them, I don't have their products and I block their cookies.

    Do you have a friend or family member who has an account? Did you let them take your picture for their address book on their phone?

    Shortly after I got my first Android phone, as an experiment, I'd ask my friends if I could take their picture for my address book. Not a one, from tech savvy to total luddite refused, or even thought twice. They just immediately said "sure," smiled, and held still. So then after I'd take the shot, I'd say something along the lines "you know, Google will have all your contact info and a mug shot, you sure it's OK?" Still nobody has ever objected, even after the warning.

    I let people take the photo knowing all this full well because I also realize that there is nothing I can do about it if the person wants to put a picture of me with the contact info -- they can use any photo, even a paper one and get that into the address book.

    So anyway, blah blah blah -- my point is that no matter how careful you are with your personal information, you have no control over other people. That's why merely having the infrastructure in place, even if you don't actively participate, can be dangerous to privacy.

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