Google Glass fans need a reality check (and the Internet needs seat belts)

Being in public doesn't mean you give up all rights to your personal privacy -- no matter how cool that techno gadget might be.

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The book, which was published in 1984, is about two cultures at odds. On one side are the Zooks, who eat their bread with the buttered side down. In opposition are the Yooks, who eat their bread with the buttered side up. As the story progresses, their different views lead to an arms race and potentially an all-out war.... Well, the Zooks and the Yooks may have nothing on wearable computing fans, who are starting to sport devices that can record everything going on around them with a wink or subtle click, and the people who promise to confront violently anyone wearing one of these devices.

He then goes on to quote technology cheerleader Jeff Jarvis, who compared anti-Glassers to people who opposed Kodak cameras in, yes, the 1890s. In the eyes of technology sophisticates, privacy advocates are still partying like it’s 1899. Per Bilton:

But what about people who don’t want to be recorded? Don’t they get a say?

Deal with it, wearable computer advocates say. “When you’re in public, you’re in public. What happens in public, is the very definition of it,” said Jeff Jarvis, the author of the book “Public Parts” and a journalism professor at the City University of New York. “I don’t want you telling me that I can’t take pictures in public without your permission.”

Well Jeff, hate to break it to you, but there are plenty of circumstances in which you are not legally allowed to take photos in public. You can’t take pictures at most professional sporting events or in shopping malls without permission. You can’t take photos of airport security or most transportation facilities. You can’t point your telephoto lens into someone’s bedroom window or inside their clothing, even if you’re standing in a public place. You can’t take a picture of someone else using a public restroom. And you can’t use people’s photos taken anywhere for commercial reasons (like advertising) without their permission.

Whether or not you agree with these rules they do exist, and usually for good reason. So why should Google Glass be exempt? Why shouldn’t we draw a line around private surveillance and offer some rights to those being surveilled? Why can’t I say, “I don’t want you taking pictures of me in public without my permission”? Why do the Glassholes' rights trump mine?

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