If someone points a camera or a smartphone in your direction, then you can ask that person not to take your photo or record you in a video. If they disregard your request, then you can walk away from the creeper. But with Google Glass, the $1,500 wearable computer, there is no obvious sign that you are being recorded. Should you automatically assume that the Glass owner is recording, or looking you up on social networks? That person might be described as a “Glasshole.”
During an interview with BBC World at One, Google’s Eric Schmidt said he likes the fact that you talk to Google Glass and give it verbal commands. He suggested that there will soon be thousands of Glasses in use and, for privacy reasons, it will usher in a “new social etiquette.” Schmidt stated:
The fact of the matter is that we'll have to develop some new social etiquette. It's obviously not appropriate to wear these glasses in situations where recording is not correct. Companies like Google have a very important responsibility to keep your information safe but you have a responsibility as well which is to understand what you're doing, how you're doing it, and behave appropriately and also keep everything up to date.
But etiquette alone has not stopped some attention-loving people from having long phone conversations that anyone nearby is forced to hear.
Rise of the anti-Glass culture: Jamming Glassholes
I ran across a post attempting to sell cell phone / Bluetooth jammers to jam Glassholes. However, regardless of how they are marketed, jamming devices are illegal. “Jamming devices create serious safety risks,” said Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “While people who use jammers may think they are only silencing disruptive conversations or disabling unwanted GPS capabilities, they could also be preventing a scared teenager from calling 9-1-1, an elderly person from placing an urgent call to a doctor, or a rescue team from homing in on the location of a severely injured person. The price for one person's moment of peace or privacy, could be the safety and well-being of others.” Yeah, but the idea of jamming Glass to protect your privacy does sound a bit appealing.
Ban Glass: Stop the Cyborgs
Stop The Cyborgs provides “free Google Glass ban signs” in the hope of creating Glass-free zones. “We want to encourage as many places as possible to become either ‘Surveillance free zones’ or ‘Highly intrusive surveillance free zones’.”
Only a few establishments have “officially” banned Glass: The Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club in Las Vegas, as well as the casinos there, will ban the wearable devices to guard the privacy of others. Legislators in West Virginia proposed an amendment to ban drivers from wearing Glass. It was worded as banning “wearable computer with head mounted display” while driving. Movie theaters will likely ban Glass as well. If you spend $1,500 bucks on a new toy, you'd want to be able to use it. However, banning Glass sounds much better than depending on social etiquette to protect privacy.
Both clickjacking and RATs (remote access tool) can turn on a web cam without turning on the recording light that would alert users to the covert spying. Most people find that idea very invasive, but Glass does not have a light that comes on to indicate it is recording. In fact, despite Schmidt’s claim to love Glass because you talk to it, Glass apparently can be setup to take photos without verbal input.
Google Glass wink control to take photo
If someone gives you a slow wink, you might take pause before you interpret that as a come hither eye gesture. If someone wearing Google Glass winks at you, then it could be a creeper's covert command for the 5-megapixel camera to take your picture. Reddit user “fodawim” dug into the code of the Glass companion app, MyGlass, and discovered a “huge list of features” regarding eye gestures, such as winking to take a photo.
How Guys Will Use Google Glass
Maybe Google won’t be like Apple, secretly keeping Siri data for "up to two years," yet it is doubtful that a new social etiquette for Glass will be enough to protect privacy. Jamming Glassholes might be illegal, but if Glass becomes wildly popular, it will surely usher in the rise of an anti-Glass culture.