FM sat down with Professor James H. Waldo, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, Chief Technology Officer, and Professor of Computer Science 105: Privacy and Technology, to discuss the privacy issues surrounding Google Glass, a soon-to-be-released device. Worn like a pair of glasses, follows voice commands to take photos, record videos, search for information, and share all of it across the Internet.
FM: How do you think Google Glass will affect and change privacy laws in the future?
JHW: It’s hard to say, because it’s not clear what the capabilities of the Google Glasses are going to be. In some sense they’re not going to be different from what we’ve already got—you already carry a camera and a recorder with you all the time. But what is going to be different is that if these things become ubiquitous or even fairly common, it’s going to be hard to tell when you’re being photographed or when you’re being recorded. We already have laws that protect you from being recorded, but the law almost always lags behind technology, by a considerable amount…. It could be the sort of thing where in certain situations, everyone is asked to take their glasses off. Maybe it means we’re just more careful about what we say in all situations, knowing that by default, unless you’re in a room with someone you know and trust, anything you say is essentially public.