Imagine strutting through a hectic intersection in the dog heat of summer. You’re donning a gorgeous maxi dress, hips swaying and sexiness exuding. You’re concerned about street harassers, but the walk is pleasant. Now, envision a stranger capturing that sashay and uploading a video of your sensual trot to Twitter and Facebook by using his glasses.
This scenario seems far-fetched and ridiculous, right? Don’t nod affirmatively yet. The release of Google Glass may turn this hypothetical situation into a real-life privacy violation.
Call me paranoid, but I’m concerned about Google’s latest invention. The tech giant is preparing to release glasses designed to augment our realities. The eyewear takes data from our computers, phones, tablets and other devices and places it before our very eyes.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
Are you freaked out? I was when this technological advancement was first introduced to me during a lecture. The beta version of these glasses is on the faces of several thousand developers picked from a lottery. Kinks will be worked out in the coming months and Google Glass will be retailed for all techno lovers to purchase.
Google Glass will change our lives. The device is equipped with translators, an embedded camera and video recorder, social media networks, emails, a microphone, touchpad, text messages and any other feature currently available through our smart phones, tablets and laptops.
You tell Google Glass what action to perform and it does through the microphone attached to the arm of the frame. You can also use a brief gesture and the device will interpret it. We will see the world differently and capture it instantly.
Google Glass is a technological wonder, considering televisions still had four basic networks less than 60 years ago. It might even seem cool to answer an email or pen a blog post while walking the dog, which is the reason Google is promoting Glass as “seamless and empowering.”
However, Google Glass presents tons of security risks, including utilizing the device to record others without their knowledge, as indicated in the hypothetical anecdote above.
There is also a wide potential for hacking Google Glass. This is the biggest concern for developers and beta testers, according to Forbes.
Jay Freeman, an Apple and Android developer, used a hacking technique to gain control of Google Glass’ operating system. In a blog post, he explains hacking these systems could have severe consequences, including the “installation of surveillance malware on the device.”
“Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer: They have control over a camera and a microphone that are attached to your head,” writes Freeman. “A bugged Glass doesn’t just watch your every move: it watches everything you are looking at (intentionally or furtively) and hears everything you do. The only thing it doesn’t know are your thoughts.”
Freeman’s explanation reads like a Stephen King novel, but the terror doesn’t end there.
“It knows all your passwords, for example, as it can watch you type them. It even manages to monitor your usage of otherwise safe, old-fashioned technology: it watches you enter door codes, it takes pictures of your keys, and it records what you write using a pen and paper,” Freeman writes. “Nothing is safe once your Glass has been hacked.”
Shaq Katikala, a technology writer for PolicyMic, agrees with Freeman. He lists three specific reasons why Google Glass invades our privacy, including losing vital information during a breach.
“How many of you will turn off your Glass while punching in your PIN? How about when a person’s credit card is visible from the edge of your vision? How about when opening your bills, filing out tax information, or filing out a health form?” he asks.
“Remember that computers can recognize numbers and letters blazingly fast – even a passing glance as you walk past a stranger’s wallet can mean that the device on your face learns her credit card number. All of this information can be compromised with a security breach, revealing both the information of the one using Glass and the people they surrounds themselves with.”
Google is attempting to address these concerns by configuring “the perfect level of obtrusiveness within an omnipresent Internet connection,” but none of their technological expertise can quell the fears rising within me. I am concerned. You should be too.
Are you concerned about the implications of Google Glass?