Customers’ concerns of being recorded while enjoying themselves has led a San Francisco bar to ban the use of Google Glass on its premises. But is a ban of the smart glasses really necessary?
If we wanted to spy on fellow bar patrons, we’d definitely find a more discreet way than using Google Glass. Most consumers have smartphones with decent video cameras, and buying a pair of authentic, unrecognizable spy-type glasses is just a quick click of the mouse away.
Since they were first announced in 2012, Google Glass has caused a bit of controversy. They’ve been banned in casinos, commuters have gotten tickets for driving with them on, and now your friendly neighborhood bar just doesn’t want to deal with possible privacy issues.
A San Francisco South of Market bar, frequented by the tech crowd, and it’s sister bar have banned the use of the device saying customers “have expressed concerns with being recorded while enjoying themselves”, CBS San Francisco reports.
Although Google addressed consumers’ privacy concerns last year when it announced it would not approve any type of facial recognition or voice print apps unless strong privacy protections were in place, that’s apparently not enough for some consumers and business owners. But will a ban really make a difference?
Consumers with Google Glass aren’t exactly hiding the fact they have them on. The product has a very distinct cyborg look. Even the upcoming Google Glass for prescription glasses is easily recognizable.
Besides, since the camera on Google Glass is set up so that its field of vision is similar to the wearer’s, someone sporting the device would need to be looking directly at another person in order to record video of them. Staring at a fellow bar patron while sporting an expensive, distinct piece of headgear isn’t exactly under-the-radar.
Sure it might be easy to make a recording with the glasses, but it is just as easy to make a recording on one of the million smartphones on the market without a fellow patron noticing.
What are establishments going to do if the smart contact lenses Google is reportedly working on becomes reality? Will consumers be asked to take those out, too? In that case, they’ll just have a bunch of people with blurry vision bumping into each other.
If someone was really set on catching another person doing something ill-advised at a bar or any other establishment, wouldn’t it be easier, and more cost effective, to purchase a pair of non-recognizable spy glasses? A quick look at the Brick House Security website shows a number of high-end “spy glasses” available for purchase.
Not that we recommend using any of these for secretly recording strangers at a bar, but for $230, a small fraction of the cost of Google Glass, you can score a pair of stylish DVR camera glasses that are “impossible to detect”.
And don’t worry about wanting to record when sitting on the sunny bar patio, there’s a pair of hidden camera SpyShades for only $80. Now that’s a steal.
Google Glasses have enough problems (horrible headaches, anyone) besides being banned from public establishments. And with technology continuing to advance there’s sure to be another gadget just waiting to creep on our privacy, anyway.
Google Glass Wearers Banned From San Francisco SoMa Bar [CBS San Francisco]