A tweet of mine from today:
Prediction: Google Glass will declare creepshot problems “out of their control”, but will find ways to hamper film piracy.— Abi Sutherland (@evilrooster) March 4, 2013
It’s a thought that arose when I was reading a review and came across this passage:
At one point during my time with Glass, we all went out to navigate to a nearby Starbucks — the camera crew I’d brought with me came along. As soon as we got inside however, the employees at Starbucks asked us to stop filming. Sure, no problem. But I kept the Glass’ video recorder going, all the way through my order and getting my coffee. Yes, you can see a light in the prism when the device is recording, but I got the impression that most people had no idea what they were looking at. The cashier seemed to be on the verge of asking me what I was wearing on my face, but the question never came. He certainly never asked me to stop filming.
My first reaction was…not good. They were told to stop filming, and they didn’t? Pretty damn intrusive. But I wondered if I was overreacting, so I let it slide. Then I saw (and Parheliated) this much-linked article. It expresses a slightly different problem, equally valid but rather more generally interesting (and a little less fraught). That one’s no longer “a feature that no one’s talking about”.
It made me revisit my earlier discomfort. The resultant tweet’s been much retweeted, and I’ve had some interesting conversations as a result. A few thoughts arising from them:
Various solutions floated around my Twitter stream, some serious, some not: facial recognition tied to a Do Not Photograph database; a lapel pin broadcasting a signal that disables the camera; dazzle camo. Giving up and licensing images for a fee. Pretty good notions for a bunch of amateurs spitballing in their spare time. But, as @awa64 pointed out during a really interesting exchange:
That’s one of the serious social (rather than technical) problems to limiting the Google Glass’ ability to photograph people in public. There are others. For instance, any solution—technical or legal—that a woman on the subway can use, a misbehaving police officer can use as well. Is that a more or less acceptable sacrifice to make than fair use? I honestly don’t know. I think there’s a hard discussion to be had there.
But I have the weary suspicion that what we will end up doing is nothing, because that’s the way our technological innovations generally work: implement first, dismiss the consequences later. Still, somewhere in this wide-ranging discussion, I caught a glimpse of a world where the safety and respect of real human beings got the same kind of innovative, problem-solving attention that Steamboat Willie does. It was just a glimpse of a possibility, but it intrigued me.