Posted by Sarah Fulton
Journalists dream of filming without the camera influencing a subject’s actions. Capturing the natural behaviors of people during a newsworthy event is ideal. With early adapters now using Google Glasses this ideal is well on its way to becoming reality. Journalist Tim Pool used Google Glasses to film incognito during protests in Istanbul. The Glasses allowed him to simply say a voice command to begin filming without having to deal with a larger camera.
However, the subjects of Tim Pool’s videos did not know they were being filmed, which could raise an ethical issue. While people’s public actions are fair game for journalist, the public also generally know they are being filmed. It is hard to miss a large news van or even somebody pointing a cell phone at you. It is not hard to overlook someone wearing glasses simply looking at you.
Whether journalists intend it or not people modify their actions in the presence of a camera. Google glasses deny them the opportunity to do this. Nobody wants to turn on the nightly news to find themself on it unexpectedly.
The question that will be: do the benefits for journalists outweigh the possible privacy issues for the public?
The question will most likely not be answered for a while. The Glasses are not yet available to the public. Beta testers paid $1,500 for their glasses. The consumer Glasses will likely be cheaper but still too expensive for immediate uptake.
A line will need to be defined. During a newsworthy event, like a protest or football game, journalists have the right to film using Glasses. They do not however have the right to film everyday conversations.