Do You Think Google Glass Is an Intrusion of Privacy?

Now that Google Glass has been available more broadly, we’ll start to see it on more and more people in public. This means you could walk into a restaurant or library and have someone browsing, watching, recording right there. Is this an intrusion of your privacy?

Google Glass wearers have been somewhat limited until now, as only those receiving an invite from Google were allowed to buy the device for $1500. But after Google opened up the sale of the device to everyone for just one day, on Tax Day no less, we’ll start to see it turn up in all sorts of situations. We won’t know whether the wearers are simply just wearing it, or if they are Googling directions to their next destination or even recording us. While some people are quite excited about the release of this device, others are put off by it, seeing it as an intrusion on their privacy. After all, these devices were for sale to everyone, not just people who had the good morals to not record people without their knowledge. There’s already been one violent act related to Google Glass, as a wearer reported getting it ripped off his head and smashed.

What do you think? Will you be bothered walking into a business and seeing someone wearing Google Glass, not knowing how they are using it? Or does it not bother you as you are wishing you had the money to buy one of these devices as well?

Do you think Google Glass is an intrusion of your privacy?

Image Credit: Tedeytan and Loic Le Meur

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. . . . all I can say . . . it’s gonna be a lot of assaults against people to take the device away from them!
    (I hope there won’t be any repercussions due to theft)

    1. ” it’s gonna be a lot of assaults ”
      It’s cheaper than having to pay $1500. :-)

      In case of Google Glass, If you got it, DON’T flaunt it.

  2. Invasion of privacy. You have no right to photo anyone without their permission. Also, ability to view computer or TV while driving. We need an automatic $5000 fine for wearing the device in public, or while driving.

    1. “ability to view computer or TV while driving”
      I hate to break it to you but that ability has been available for years. Haven’t you seen mini-vans with front and back video players?

      “We need an automatic $5000 fine for wearing the device in public, or while driving.”
      $5000 for wearing in public and automatic 5 years revocation of driver’s license for wearing while driving.

  3. I was recently in SF Area. The people wearing these are called “glass-holes”. Just another observation.

  4. Why should the NSA have all the fun?! Your “friends” and neighbors want to get in on recording everything, too. It will make the surveillance by the Stasi, KGB or the Gestapo seem like child’s play. Are you ready to have everything you do wind up on the nightly news? Or all over the ‘Net?

  5. How many EE hackers are working on wearable radio frequency jammers? A perfect privacy response to unregulated Google Glass proliferation, would be an equally wearable, VISIBLY LABELLED device that blocks wireless transmissions in an area = focusing distance of Google Glass.

    1. Firstly the argument “people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear” is an oft heard and just as often debunked argument. For people who forget it, here a wired article from 2013:

      Secondly, the idea that when you are “in public” you have no reasonable assumption of privacy is only valid in the case of police following and recording you. For private individuals and paparazzi there is jurisprudence in how far they can go in following public figures. For an unknown individual the rules are logically even stronger…

      for instance.

  6. Its interesting to see shallow-minded people comment on a technology they truly don’t understand. If you are in public places it is not an invasion of your privacy. Think about it for a moment. What difference is there in using Google glass or your iPhone to record something in public. Nothing! It would seem that these assaults are motivated by people’s fear of the unknown or because they have something to hide.

    1. The difference is that I know if someone is holding up their phone to video tape me. I would have no idea if someone wearing Google-Glass is.

      Technology can be used for good or ill and not every new device developed is a good thing. To quote Ian Malcolm from the original Jurassic Park;
      “Your scientists were so preoccupied trying to see if they COULD that they didn’t stop to think if they SHOULD.”

  7. The idea that it is an invasion of privacy is absurd! How could any rational person claim to have ‘privacy’ while in ‘public’? Furthermore, people have been photographing and filming strangers in public for decades. Those who are concerned about somebody going down the street, or something, just recording them or anyone else ought to do a little research before they start complaining (or worse, getting violent). These devices don’t have unlimited energy, they can only record for a short time, and you have to clearly tell it to begin. It’s far more difficult to record someone secretly with Google Glass than it is with a smartphone. And contrary to a previous comment, it is very easy to record someone with a phone without them having the slightest idea that you’re doing so.

    1. What about restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms??? Those are public places with an expectation of privacy. I’m sure I missed many others.

      You and others are thinking in very narrow terms. Google Glass can and will be worn ANY place optical glasses are worn. Many of those places are not public and there is an expectation of privacy.

      1. Once camera phones became commonplace such reasonable expectations of privacy all but vanished. Cameras and phones are already being taken into such places, and it’s still much easier to take pictures surreptitiously with them than it is with Google Glass. Phones, in particular, have become ubiquitous to the point where it doesn’t even catch the attention of most people when someone enters a restroom holding one up. They can appear to be reading/sending a message and very quietly press a button to snap a photo or start recording. Google Glass, on the other hand, is very conspicuous. Moreover, someone cannot as quietly issue the command to record as with a phone. If someone walks into a room wearing Google Glass it is no different than if they walk in carrying a video camera. Either may or may not be recording at the moment. You know immediately that your level of privacy has just diminished. If you want to be assured of privacy you can ask them to put it away. Now, I don’t care for the things myself, but I just don’t see how they can be construed as a greater threat to privacy than other devices that have been out there for much longer. When the time comes that the technology has advanced such that it actually looks like a normal pair of glasses it will be a more serious concern. Until then, I simply cannot see complaints about privacy as a valid objection.

  8. In public, not an invasion of privacy. However, anyone recording me via Glass without my knowledge had better not let me catch them in the act. Not if the value their $1500 investment, anyway.

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