By James Kendrick
Google Glass is the company's upcoming product that puts a computer on your face. Google is about to release the dorky-looking device and most likely it will be snapped up by the techie crowd. It is an innovative product that pushes live-blogging to the next level, and that will unleash a storm of concern never before seen caused by a mobile gadget.
A bar in Seattle has already generated buzz in tech communities with a preemptive strike against Google Glass. The proprietor doesn't want patrons to have to worry that someone with Google Glasses might be snapping photos. His patrons come in for privacy and he wants to keep it that way.
That may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt but it portends a greater problem for Google Glass. When the general public becomes aware of Google Glass and exactly what it does, expect to see a lot of reactions similar to that of the Seattle bar owner.
Related: Google Glass: You'll kiss your privacy goodbye, and you won't mind a bit
Rightly or wrongly there's already a concern about folks taking photos and videos in certain public locations and situations. Pull out a camera in places like public schools, playgrounds, and airports and you might incur the wrath of authorities and parents, especially where public safety of kids are concerned.
When public awareness of Google Glass reaches a critical mass and it's understood that these devices can record photos, video, and audio of the wearer's surroundings, an outbreak of bans is sure to result. Don't be surprised if within weeks of the Google Glasses general release we start seeing bans of it cropping up all over the place.
These bans are not going to be the result of Google Glass wearers actually using them, they are going to be a result over the concern that they can be used discretely. Parents are not going to like the exposure that Google Glasses worn in schools, playgrounds, parks, and other places where groups of kids hang out, might bring to their kids.
Authorities who already overreact to those with cameras during stressful public situations are not going to like the fact that Google Glass wearers can record those situations without discovery. This will include the TSA in airports over concerns that wearers might be recording things and "compromising the public's safety." You'll hear that, I can almost guarantee it.
Don't be surprised when those on the sexual offenders list in most states are banned from owning/wearing Google Glasses as part of their punishment.
Businesses are going to quickly realize the exposure to both liability and corporate security and one after another companies, large and small, are going to ban Google Glass use within work areas. Because Google Glass can be used without notice, that ban will extend to even wearing the device on the premises. That will probably be welcomed by non-Glass using workers who will feel uncomfortable that coworkers might be recording them at work.
Then there are the concerns that will surely pop up over wiretapping laws. In many states it's illegal to record anyone without their permission. Imagine the flurry of legal activity that will result due to the fear that Google Glasses wearers have recorded others without notice. This could get messy very quickly.
Outside of the bar in Seattle none of these bans are official yet but don't be surprised when they start happening. People will have a knee-jerk reaction to the realization that Google Glass wearers can snap photos or worse, video of kids, other adults, or anything, really. The public outcry is going to be fast and furious, and authorities are going to do what they can to nip this potential privacy breach in the bud.