Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Google Glass And The Media

One of the recurring arguments I've seen a lot of media attention around recently is Google Glass, Google's first public foray into wearable computing.  Those who have followed for years the likes of Professor Steve Mann and his "witnessential" program will recognise immediately that media is hyping something for all the wrong reasons.

The primary argument is that it will create a loss of privacy because people will be monitored and recorded.  This implies that right now you can go into a restaurant, for example, and you're not monitored or recorded.  That's simply not correct.

For instance, right now as you read this, your IP address has been recorded, and likely along with the IP address your http request for this page was recorded.  Even though you're not using it, your phone also has recorded your every move today, and if a court issued appropriate documentation, your phone company would have to surrender these movements.

The subway train you rode to work on had cameras recording your journey. As did the platforms, escalators and concourses.  The road you walked along had cameras belonging to the police, and most shops that you walked past would have had cameras that likely caught a glimpse of you as you went by.

Over the weekend, I was on the phone in my house and some friends took some video of the kids and shared it online, so the recording of the conversation in my own home is public.  This morning on Facebook I saw a photo taken of friends in a restaurant at the weekend.  As it was taken on a smartphone, so it was stamped with both the time and GPS location.  In the background are two people and one is YOU.  You probably appear in hundreds, if not thousands of photos like this, on instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and Google Plus.  This is life right now.  

I think the real issue is people don't like to think that they're being recorded, and nobody wants to accept that they're responsible for what they say and do.

To me this is a non-issue because the media is hyping up the fact that we're about to lose something that has already been lost.  What will they scare people with next? That the Dodo is about to become extinct?