March 20, 2013
A website designed to draw attention to a new technological development by Internet search giant Google is going viral, thanks in large part to a growing wave of concern over personal privacy.
The site, called StopTheCyborgs.org, was established “in response to the Google Glass project and other technology trends. The aim of the movement is to stop a future in which privacy is impossible and corporate control total,” say developers in a post describing the site’s intent.
The concept behind Google Glass is an eye wear device that uses Google’s virtually limitless bank of data to allow the user to record everything he or she sees, in real time, and then be able to utilize smart phone, Internet and other communication technology to immediately transmit, post or otherwise publicize that content – all without the permission of the subjects who have been videotaped.
“We are already continually tracked though smart phones, online tracking, banking transactions, and CCTV. So why all the fuss about a smart phone on your face?” says StopTheCyborgs.
Millions of ‘creepy’ cameramen
Consider these reasons, among many others:
— First of all, Google has the marketing resources and power to make recording of private activity or conversations socially acceptable. “Would you have even considered wearing a hidden spy camera or recording conversations a few years ago? Well soon everyone will be doing it and finding you odd for objecting,” says the site.
For comparison’s sake, the site’s founders say, check out Seattle’s “Creepy” Cameraman.
— With Google Glass, how are you supposed to know if somebody’s recording you? Keep in mind the very design of the Google device makes it difficult to know. “This is in contrast to a smart phone where the user must visibly hold the camera up to take a picture or record video. We must therefore assume that we are being recorded at all times (and possibly publicly broadcast) from a low angle where ones face is clearly visible,” the site warned.
— Even if a Google Glass user isn’t recording video, audio for their own personal use may still be collected and processed to the cloud, so as to display contextual information using image, object, face, voice identification and speech recognition, which is “so-called augmented reality,” says the site.
— Information collected about you won’t just sit in a database somewhere, to be read only by security services or bored IT workers. Rather, it will be delivered directly to the people you are interacting with – and all without your permission.
The last bits of your privacy are about to go away for good
“These concerns go beyond privacy,” warns the site. “There are serious consequences for human society. There will no longer be any distinction between the ‘digital world’ and the ‘real world.’ People will make decisions and interact with other humans in the real world in a way which increasingly depends on information that Google Glass tells them.”
Further, people will gradually “stop acting as autonomous individuals, when making decisions and interacting with others, and instead become mere sensor/effector nodes of a global network. There will be no room for multiple identities, hypocrisy or experimentation. There will be no space in which you can escape your online profile and the system will be controlled by a small group of corporations.”
Other concerns regarding Google Glass:
— Such devices could destroy the very last vestiges of privacy Americans – who are already videotaped on the street by cities, in stores and parking lots by businesses, by banks – have left.
— They could hold people accountable for easily pardonable “offenses.”
— They may increase violations of doctor-patient confidentiality and attorney-client privilege.
— The devices could spawn a whole new generation of stalkers.
Privacy in America has been vanishing for years. Google Glass and devices like it will put the final nail into the coffin, leaving your home just about the only place left on the planet where you might have some semblance of privacy (unless you invite someone in who’s wearing a pair of Google Glasses).