Mark Hurst of Creative Good writes a convincing essay about “the Google Glass feature no one is talking about:” ubiquitous personal and corporate surveillance.
Google Glass is a set of glasses that, in addition to projecting information on a tiny screen only the user can see, records audio and video, geo-codes it, and stores it on Google’s servers where it is associated with your account. Hurst writes:
"The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them. I’ll give an easy example. Your one-on-one conversation with someone wearing Google Glass is likely to be annoying, because you’ll suspect that you don’t have their undivided attention. And you can’t comfortably ask them to take the glasses off (especially when, inevitably, the device is integrated into prescription lenses). Finally – here’s where the problems really start – you don’t know if they’re taking a video of you.
Now pretend you don’t know a single person who wears Google Glass… and take a walk outside. Anywhere you go in public – any store, any sidewalk, any bus or subway – you’re liable to be recorded: audio and video. Fifty people on the bus might be Glassless, but if a single person wearing Glass gets on, you – and all 49 other passengers – could be recorded. Not just for a temporary throwaway video buffer, like a security camera, but recorded, stored permanently, and shared to the world."
Hurst further points out that with Google’s audio-to-text and facial recognition software, the information on Google’s servers turns into a constant log of who everyone is and what everyone is saying wherever a Google Glass user happens to be, whenever a Google Glass user happens to be wearing their Google Glasses.
Who will use that data? The Google corporation will profile people to serve up ever-more particular advertisements ever better. Google’s corporate partners will also enjoy the information in the profile created of you thanks to the footage others capture of you. And then there’s your government, which already enjoys the unconstitutional-but-who-cares right to obtain personal information about you without your knowledge, without a warrant. According to its own reports, in 2012 Google received 42,327 requests for data from governments and their courts regarding the social experiences of 68,249 people. Already the governments of the world are using Google as a source of information to monitor and control their citizens. When you wear Google Glasses equipped with Google Glass, you’ll be helping Big Brother grow bigger.