Search Mailing List Archives

Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by: Reverse Sort
Limit to: All This Week Last Week This Month Last Month
Select Date Range     through    

[liberationtech] Paper on Google Glass

Troy Etulain troyetulain at
Wed Jul 10 11:48:44 PDT 2013

  Jan Chipchase's piece on Google Glass in All Things D is worth a read:


On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 8:37 PM, Paul Bernal (LAW) <Paul.Bernal at>wrote:

>  Yes, I agree with all that - ultimately it's about autonomy, in a way.
> As we become integrated in the system, we lose that autonomy.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 10 Jul 2013, at 19:25, "Raven Jiang CX" <jcx at> wrote:
>  I think privacy is just a small part of a larger issue when it comes to
> Google Glass and its future descendants.
>  The large issue is how increasing network connectivity changes what it
> means to be an individual or to even be human. As our access to the
> Internet becomes more immediate (from huge desktops to HUD) and persistent,
> I think we will stop seeing ourselves as individuals and more as a
> collective. Think of how groupthink works online and then a future where
> you can never be offline.
>  And when we grow reliant on Glass constantly prompting us with
> information about the real world, will we still bother to remember things?
> I feel that there is a natural tendency for those of us who are highly
> connected (myself included) to offload cognitive functions onto our
> web-enabled devices. We stop remembering certain information and instead
> remember what keywords to Google for to retrieve that information.
>  I wonder if hivemind will eventually become literal as technology
> progresses and more closely binds itself to our mental processes.
>  Sorry for the digression, but that's how I perceive privacy issues when
> it comes to Google Glass. Much like how karma and upvotes lead to
> groupthink, greater connectivity and sharing can subject our lives to
> constant peer approval. I think that wisdom of the crowd only works when
> individuals in the crowd are not subjected to the same bias.
> Raven Jiang
>  *Stanford University*
> *Computer Science*
> <>
>  On 10 July 2013 11:08, Paul Bernal (LAW) <Paul.Bernal at> wrote:
>> I wrote a blog piece on Glass a month or two back:
>>  Here's the text:
>>  Google Glass: just because you can…
>> As a bit of a geek, and a some-time game player, it’s hard not to like
>> the look of Google Glass. Sure, it makes you look a little dorky in its
>> current incarnation (even if you’re Sergey Brin, as in the picture below)
>> but people like me are used to looking dorky, and don’t really care that
>> much about it. What it does, however, is cool, and cool in a big way. We
>> get heads-up displays that would have been unimaginable even a few years
>> ago, a chance to feel like Arnie in the Terminator, with the information
>> about everything we can see immediately available. It’s cool – in a dorky,
>> sci-fi kind of way, and for those of us brought up on a diet of SF it’s
>> close to irresistible.
>> And yet, there’s something in the back of my mind – well, OK, pretty
>> close to the front of my mind now – that says that we should be thinking
>> twice about pushing forward with developments like this. Just because we
>> can make something as cool as Google Glass, doesn’t mean that we should
>> make it. There are implications to developments like this, and risks
>> attached to it, both direct and indirect.
>> Risks to the wearer’s privacy
>> First we need to be clear what Google Glass does – and how it’s intended
>> to be used. The idea is that the little camera on the headset essentially
>> ‘sees’ what you see. It then analyses what it can see, and provides the
>> information about what you see – or information related to it. In one of
>> the promotional videos for it, for example, as the wearer looks at a
>> subway station, the Glass alerts the wearer to the fact that there’s a
>> delay on the subway, so he’d better walk. Then he looks at a poster for a
>> concert – it analyses the poster, then links directly to a ticket agency
>> that lets him buy a ticket for the concert.
>> Cool? Sure, but think about what’s going on in the background – because
>> there’s a lot. First of all, and almost without saying, the Google Glass
>> headset is tracking the wearer: what we can ‘geolocation’. It knows exactly
>> where you are, whenever you’re using it. There are implications to that –
>> I’ve written about them before – and this is yet another step
>> towards making geolocation the ‘norm’. The idea is that Google (and others)
>> want to know exactly where you are at all times – and of course that means
>> that others could find out, whether for good purposes or bad.
>> Secondly, it means that Google are able to analyse what you are looking
>> at – and profile you, with huge accuracy, in the real world, the way to a
>> certain extent they already do in the online world. And, again, if Google
>> can profile you, others can get access to that profile – either through
>> legal means or illegal. You might have consented to giving others access,
>> in one of those long Terms and Conditions documents you scrolled down
>> without reading and clicked ‘OK’ to. The government might ask Google for
>> access to your feed, in the course of some investigation or other. A hacker
>> might even hack into your system to take a look…
>> …and this last risk, the risk of hacking, is a very real one. Weaknesses
>> in Google Glass have already surfaced. As the Guardian reported a few days
>> ago:
>> “Augmented reality glasses could be compromised by a hacker who would be
>> able to see and hear everything the wearer does”
>> This particular weakness may or may not turn out to be a real risk – but
>> the potential is there. Where data exists, and where systems exist, they
>> are hackable – Google Glass, by its nature, could be a clear target. And
>> what they get, as a result, could be seriously dangerous and damaging.
>> Risks to others’ privacy
>> Equally worrying are the risks to those the wearer looks at. There are
>> specific risks – anyone who knows about the concept of ‘creepshots’ –
>> surreptitiously taken photographs, usually of young women and girls, up
>> skirts, down blouses etc, posted on the internet – should be see the
>> possibilities immediately. As Gizmodo put it:
>> “Once these things stop being a rich-guy novelty and start actually
>> hitting the streets, the rise in creepshots is going to be worse than any
>> we’ve ever seen before”
>> They’re right – and the makers of Google Glass should be aware of the
>> possibilities. Some people are even working on developing an app to allow
>> you to take a picture using Google Glass just by winking, which would
>> extend the possibilities of creepshots one creepy step forward – at the
>> moment, at least, voice commands are needed to take shots, alerting
>> the victim, but with winking or other surreptitious command systems even
>> that protection would be gone.
>> Creepshots are just one extreme – the other opportunities for invasions
>> of privacy are huge. In mitigation, some say ‘Oh, at least you can see that
>> people are wearing Google Glass, so you know they’re filming you’. Well,
>> yes, but there are lots of problems with that. Firstly, should we really
>> need to check the glasses of everyone who can see us? Secondly, this is
>> just the first generation of Google Glass. What will the next one look
>> like? Cooler, less like something out of Star Trek? And the technology
>> could be used in ways that are much less obvious – hack and disguise your
>> own Google Glass and make it look like a pair of ordinary sunglasses? Not
>> hard for a hacker. They’ll be available on the net within a pretty short
>> time.
>> Normalising surveillance
>> All these, however, are just details. The real risk is at a much higher
>> level – but it may be a danger that’s already been discounted. It’s the
>> risk that our society goes down a route where surveillance is the norm.
>> Where we expect to be filmed, to have our every movement, our every action,
>> our every word followed, analysed, compiled, and aggregated for the service
>> of companies that want to make money out of us and governments that want to
>> control us. Sure, Google Glass is cool, and sure it does some really cool
>> stuff, but is it really worth that?
>> Now there may be ways to mitigate all these risks, and there may be ways
>> that we can find to help overcome some of the issues. I’d like it to be so,
>> because I love the coolness of the technology. Right now, though, I’m not
>> convinced that we have – or even that we necessarily will be able to. It
>> means, for me, I think we need to remember that just because we can
>> do things like this, it doesn’t mean that we should.
>>  Dr Paul Bernal
>> Lecturer
>> UEA Law School
>> University of East Anglia
>> Norwich Research Park
>> Norwich NR4 7TJ
>> email: paul.bernal at
>> Web:
>> Blog:
>> Twitter: @paulbernalUK
>>  On 10 Jul 2013, at 17:52, Yosem Companys <companys at>
>>  wrote:
>>   From: Bruno Fortugno <Brunofortugno at>
>> I am a student writing a paper on the potential privacy issues caused by
>> Google's upcoming product Google Glass. I was wondering if anyone could
>> advise some good resources for my research.
>> Thanks,
>> Bruno Fortugno
>>  --
>> Too many emails? Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password by
>> emailing moderator at companys at or changing your settings at
>> --
>> Too many emails? Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password by
>> emailing moderator at companys at or changing your settings at
>   --
> Too many emails? Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password by
> emailing moderator at companys at or changing your settings at
> --
> Too many emails? Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password by
> emailing moderator at companys at or changing your settings at
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the liberationtech mailing list