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Google Glass and Privacy

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I remember when cellphones first started coming out with cameras built in them. People were excited to snap photos with their flip phones and look and transfer their low quality images to other devices with removable storage cards. Talk about lack of privacy became apparent when stories about unwanted locker room portraits graced the news, and cellphones with cameras were banned in some more secluded areas, and people had the option to turn their devices off. However, today with the introduction of the wearable product, Google Glass, concerns about hiding from the camera is more apparent. How can you enforce privacy when the camera may be always on?

Nick Starr, one of the early adopters of the eyewear technology, helped spark more debate about privacy concerns when he wore his Google Glass at a diner in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, according to an article from The Verge. The Google employee later went on Facebook rant and demanded that the manager be fired after a he was banned him from wearing Google Glass, a device that allows users to take pictures and record audio or video.

“I would love an explanation, apology,” Starr wrote on Facebook.

Starr refused to take off the glasses when he was asked by the manager at Seattle restaurant, Lost Lake Café, and was asked to leave the eatery. Starr complained hoping for empathy and for the manager of the restaurant to be fired, but the responses has been mostly anger toward Starr.

“It’s one thing to take out a camera and capture a moment, people see you doing it, they have a chance to step out if they want to,” the establishment owner’s business partner, Jason Lajeunesse, said in a Forbes interview. “With Glass people don’t have a chance to do that. We want our customers to feel comfortable, not like they’re being watched.”

Walking around with your phone held up like you are recording everything around you will get you some awkward stares and some people getting out of the way of the phone camera’s direction, but Google Glass is designed to always be on and ready to capture everything in its path.

Many say that once you step out of your house and into the public arena where mounted cameras on building and in the streets, inside stores and business are common, your right to any privacy is gone. Although Google Glass is expected to enter mass production next year, others, however, are still hoping situations, such as the one with Starr, do not occur again.


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