Google Glass privacy concerns abound in U.S. and U.K.

| July 9, 2014

You may have read about the U.K. movie theater chain that banned Google Glass. But did you know that an Ohio man was interrogated for hours for wearing his Google Glass to the movies here in the U.S.?

As the Columbus Dispatch reported, the 35-year-old individual was questioned in January because of concerns that he intentionally wore the glasses to record the film “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”In fact, he had the glasses turned off and only was using them to better see the screen, thanks to their prescription lenses.

This unbelievable episode only reflects the panic that has swept the U.S. and U.K. since the product’s debut. Many consider it a potentially subversive weapon, one that could upend conventional notions of privacy and security.

The film piracy fears may be exaggerated, according to Mashable, as the glasses only can record for about 40 minutes, get hot quickly, and haven’t been used in any reported cases of illegal movie recordings.

From Ted Eytan.

From Ted Eytan.

But the privacy concerns, it seems, are real.

A team of University of Massachusetts Lowell researchers used Google Glass (and other wearables) to spot passwords from afar, according to Wired. They were extremely successful – boasting accuracy rates of over 80 percent for detecting four-character passwords. Google dismissed the results, stating that observing individuals to steal their passwords predates Google Glass and that the product lights up when in use, making it obvious if a user is acting suspiciously.

Despite its drawbacks, some have found ways to utilize Google Glass without sacrificing security. The Tennessean reported that a group of physicians has started to use the device, which lets them vocally conjure up images of the patient without looking away from surgery in the operating room. The company overseeing this pilot study has opted out of the “cloud,” so as not to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA.

Earlier this year, the market research firm Toluna released a study that said that over 70 percent of Americans would not purchase Google Glass, citing privacy concerns. Will these concerns prove insurmountable for Google Glass, or will its potentially innovative benefits, like streamlined surgeries, win people over?

Tags: , ,

Category: Surveillance, Technology

Top