Google Glass Legal Concerns
The much-hyped Google Glass may be banned before the general public ever gets to try them on. The revolutionary device is essentially a mobile computer with a head-mounted display. It functions much like a smart phone without having to use your hands; it can take pictures, film video and search the Internet.
Many of the legal concerns about Google Glass revolve around privacy, including wearers videotaping people without their consent and Google making unauthorized use of data collected by the device. Eight members of Congress recently sent a letter to Google CEO, Larry Page, inquiring about the company’s planned privacy protections.
“We are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American,” the letter said. “Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google’s plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of unanswered questions.”
The uneasiness about Google Glass is understandable. Google does not have a stellar reputation for managing privacy concerns. In the past, the company has faced legal action in connection with Google Buzz, its social networking application, and its Street View mapping project.
Some public establishments have already taken matters into their own hands by banning Google Glass. A Seattle bar recently posted a message on its blog stating, “The 5 Point is a No Google Glass zone. Respect our customers privacy as we’d expect them to respect yours.”
Google also faces questions about safety. While Glass is hands-free, it is arguably just as distracting as any other mobile device. West Virginia state Rep. Gary G. Howell recently proposed legislation that bans the use of Google Glass behind the wheel. It would specifically amend existing laws against texting while driving to also ban “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.”
So while Google Glass promises to be groundbreaking, it is also another new technology with which the law must contend.
March 20, 2012