Google Glass Shouldn’t Have to Worry about Privacy (Yet)

by Matt Klassen on July 5, 2013

Should burgeoning technologies be constrained by questions of privacy and user security, or should continuing innovation be allowed to proceed without such considerations? It’s the sort of question that would never have been asked leading up to the release of the first PC or even the first iPhone, but its one that now seems to hound new product development at every turn in our world.

Take Google’s ambitious Glass project for instance, what will almost certainly be one of the early pioneers of the forthcoming wearable technology revolution. Had Google Glass been positioned for mass release ten years ago, the questions asked would have revolved around its ‘cool’ factor, how it looked, what it could do, while today the concerns regarding the technologically advanced eyewear seem to be all about user privacy.

To that end, Rep. Joe Barton, R.-Texas, one of an eight member Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, recently lambasted Google for its lackadaisical approach to the committee’s serious concerns, the search engine giant leaving many of the committee’s questions unanswered. While I’m sorry folks, the reason Google isn’t answering your questions is because it’s too busy advancing technology. Privacy, in my mind, can come later.

Privacy concerns revolving around Google Glass were prompted by the search engine giant’s recent response to a letter sent in May by the committee, a response that drew further criticism from Barton. “I am disappointed in the responses we received from Google,” he said. “There were questions that were not adequately answered and some not answered at all,” adding that, “Google Glass has the potential to change the way people communicate and interact…When new technology like this is introduced that could change societal norms, I believe it is important that people’s rights be protected and vital that privacy is built into the device.”

Now I consider Google Glass to be an annoying and intrusive piece of technology, perhaps the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus agrees, but instead of hounding Google, or any other company on the cutting edge of technological development, lets see what they can do; allow them time to truly develop the technology before we start accusing them of avoiding serious questions about privacy, or blaming them for violations that haven’t even occurred yet because we haven’t even taken the time to understand the product.

You want to know why Google isn’t answering questions about privacy, because its too busy finding ways of pushing the technological envelope, something sorely lacking in a North American technology market that actually seems antiquated when compared to much of the developed world. Further, if we’re complaining about Google collecting Glass user data, its how company’s generally track device usage, its strengths and shortcoming etc… all of which in turn helps improve future upgrades.

Now don’t get me wrong, privacy concerns are serious–as is unbridled product development–and I’ve spoken out against such violations whether wrought from purposeful intent or simple ineptitude, but to hold burgeoning technologies to the same standard as the devices we use every day I find counterproductive to continued innovation.

Should Google Glass consider user privacy? On some levels, of course, but should this be one of the major considerations of Google as it develops this new technology, absolutely not!

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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