by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
congress, google glass, privacy


Congress Grandstanding Over Google Glass 'Privacy' Concerns; Next Up: Privacy Concerns Over Your Eyes

from the oh-come-on dept

We should have know that once the press started picking up on the ridiculous moral panic over Google Glass that Congress would be quick to follow. In a move that smacks of traditional political grandstanding, a group of Congressional Representatives have sent a letter to Google raising a bunch of questions about the supposed "privacy concerns" of Google Glass. I'm wondering if next they'll summon a representative of the seeing public to discuss the privacy concerns of your own two eyes.

First, they jump to the go-to point that any anti-Google privacy activist goes to: the data collection from open WiFi. What no one ever seems willing to discuss is the fact that this is the nature of open WiFi. Anyone can see any of the unencrypted data traveling over that access point. Why that gets blamed on Google makes no sense. They also worry about privacy of non-users, which is definitely a point that others have raised. But, how is this privacy issue different than one of basic sight. Google Glass sees what a user sees. If they can see you doing something you don't want exposed, they can reveal that as well. How is that a privacy issue specific to Google Glass? There are a number of other odd questions, including whether or not Google considered the privacy implications of the NY Times' Google Glass app. Huh? First off, if there were privacy implications, shouldn't they be the NY Times' concern on that issue? And second, can anyone explain why possible privacy issue could be in play here? It's a news app on a tiny screen. So what?

When regular cameras first came on the scene, there were similar scare stories and people worried about the privacy impact of still photo cameras. We pretty quickly learned how to cope and adapt to that. Why do people think we can't learn and cope with Google Glass?

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  1. identicon
    Thomas, 19 May 2013 @ 8:28am

    Anonymous coward, what are you talking about?

    Re: Privacy concerns legit; single sided critique via grandstanding

    Anonymous coward: Privacy? In public?

    Why am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

    - Yes, you are. Because fortunately enough most people here are thinking critically. You are unfamiliar with the processes of the sanitization of public space. This is an academic line of inquiry in the communication and culture as well as political sociology disciplines (amongst countless others i.e. critical geopolitics) that will assist you in understanding the tension the contemporary world experiences as corporations turn public space into artificially mediated ones through the constructions of malls, shopping strips, etc. There has been a tension between privacy and the public since the earliest formations of the ancient Greek stoas, agoras and ampitheatres where people met to discuss politics, economy, sport, etc. The emergence of privacy begins here, and there has always been a struggle between the private sector, the state and populations for places to congregate outside of the home. I suggest reading Richard Senate's "Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization" as well as his "The Fall of Public Man."

    You also were apparently concerned with "an entire academic field? Of?"

    - I wrote "the discipline concerning agency of materiality and technology." This was confusing, I apologize. I am surprised by the lack of substance in your critiques and comments. It appears that you do not place much concern about doing research on your own. For example, you could have easily figured out the tension between privacy and the public on any academic database. Ok, so maybe you're not an academic, no sweat. But I'm also assuming that you simply avoided visiting Edward's profile page - of which clearly indicates what field you are concerned with. You see, there is something to be said about acknowledging the impressive critical ethos in this thread by complimenting peoples' intelligence by not saying "this is this, that is that" - people are capable of reading on their own. But because you are not, I hope this response has aided your ailments.

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