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Google Glass has serious privacy issues; secretive Apple has a phenomenal edge

Mark Hattersley | Feb. 28, 2013
Who would you trust with a world of Glass technology? Google or Apple? We think the famously private company is a better steward of our eyes and ears

Musician Peter Gabriel is the co-founder of WITNESS, which distributes digital cameras to empower people to document human-rights abuses.There's also nonchelance regarding privacy from people increasingly used to having their entire personal life documented. Reddit readers have a lot to say on Wahlmon's piece, although depressingly the highest voted comment says "The first Google glasses punch to the face video is going to be EPIC!!!!!".

We're sure it will be, especially if (and more likely, when) that punch in the face comes from a Police Officer. Those involved with public security, a notoriously tricky job, are increasingly recorded on video camera when they keep the peace in public. This can be seen as a good and bad thing. A key part of English law is the notion that "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done," Gordon Hewart, in Rex v. Sussex Justices ex parte McCarthy (1924)

This Police Specials forum has some interesting thoughts from the officers themselves on wearing video cameras. JackisBack says: "Personally I think it's a good thing; officers can have evidence to prove that they acted legally in circumstances such as this, and hopefully it will provide evidence for the CPS, too, to secure convictions." Another member called Die Hard asks about "the stereotypical 16 year old with a small bag of cannabis who is perfectly reasonable and honest apart from the drug use". He says "I know some officers who would dump the drugs down the drain and take the teenager home for a proper telling off in front of their parents. Do that on camera and you will most likely get wrong!"

And it's not just professionals that will have to watch what they say and do. The first UK citizen convicted for breaching Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act (which outlaws threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress) via Google Glass is going to be an interesting development. This is the Hate Speech law that comedians such as Rowan Atkinson have been campaigning about: it essentially makes it illegal to mock people.

We already have to be more careful on Twitter, but Glass might mean we have to be more careful full stop. UK citizens have the right to free speech, but just look at this quote from Wikipedia regarding the exceptions:

"there is a broad sweep of exceptions including threatening, or abusive, speech or behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace (which has been used to prohibit racist speech targeted at individuals),incitement, incitement to racial hatred, incitement to religious hatred, incitement to terrorism including encouragement of terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications, glorifying terrorism, collection or possession of a document or record containing information likely to be of use to a terrorist, treason including imagining the death of the monarch, sedition, obscenity, indecency including corruption of public morals and outraging public decency, defamation, prior restraint, restrictions on court reporting including names of victims and evidence and prejudicing or interfering with court proceedings, prohibition of post-trial interviews with jurors, scandalising the court by criticising or murmuring judges, time, manner, and place restrictions, harassment, privileged communications, trade secrets, classified material, copyright, patents, military conduct, and limitations on commercial speech such as advertising."

 

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