Google Glasses Create Possible Privacy Issue

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.

Google Glasses

Picture from: Michael Praetorius

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.

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2 responses to “Google Glasses Create Possible Privacy Issue

  1. This is a big ethical issue as journalists are to protect the interests of the public and not exploit them. Not only can subjects be filmed, but the glasses allow for social media interactions as well. Definitely an issue to watch…

  2. I would think when technology like that gets into the government’s hands, it would be a BIG issue. We have the right of privacy, and it sometimes seem like our privacy is taken away by the government a bit each day. So I think it is an issue that journalists have to watch for. I would be curious what people would think about this anyhow.

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