Is Google Glass Safe?

The eventual release of Google Glass, a pair of glasses with computing technology that makes it able to act as an assistant to the wearer, has generated lots of hype. But parallel to that hype is also the concern about what kinds of security implications we’re facing with technology that we wear so openly. We are at the forefront of a new era in technology, and we have yet to see how companies like Google will face the challenges presented in such a new environment. Needless to say, the changes will be turbulent. We’re now going to discuss what kinds of security and personal safety concerns we could expect from this kind of technology.

1: The Security of Others May Be Compromised


If you’ve been keeping a close eye (pun intended) on Google Glass technology, you’ve probably run into articles and videos that talk about the possibility of clandestine recording. In other words, the concern is that wearers of Google Glass can record conversations and events without the consent of their participants. These recordings could potentially damage the reputation of the subject, depending on what is said or done. On the positive side, you have a discreet device that can help you record things that may help others. But, at the same time, this technology can be used for more nefarious purposes.

The potential is there, but I’m surprised people aren’t talking enough about some of the really creepy things that wearers can do to others, like using facial recognition to identify complete strangers while walking in a park.

Of course, Google has created countermeasures that may make the device safer for others. For example, there’s a default 10-second limit to videos, and you have to execute a voice command and press the camera button for an extended period of time before you can even start recording. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that people won’t start turning off the 10-second limits and start the recording prior to spying. No matter what Google does, people will have a pretty dangerous device at their disposal.

Then again, such clandestine recording devices have existed for ages, and they’re much cheaper. To a snooper, it would be much more lucrative (and more inconspicuous) to buy a cheap pair of glasses with a tiny camera attached to it. These things run anywhere from $100 to $500. Compare that to Google Glass’ current price of $1,500.

How dangerous is the Google Glass for you, though?

2: Distractions, Distractions…


Have you tried walking around all day with a piece of glass shoved right in front of your eye? And, this glass is a screen that will show you all kinds of graphical interfaces, while you’re doing other things. A report by FastCompany shows us that a man got caught speeding while being distracted by Google Glass. What if he crashed?

I think there will be a lot of instances with people bumping into each other on the sidewalk. It already happens a lot with smartphones. Google Glass is more likely to absorb you even more.

3: Hacking


When you put malicious software into the picture, Google Glass users have even more concerns. Among the obvious problems that smartphones also face, apps for Google Glass can potentially do more damage because of how accessible your field of view is. For one, a hacker might be able to track your eye movements if he manages to tap into your system. Imagine someone activating your video feed when you go to the ATM. This way, he can get the PIN number to your debit card with little effort.

Apps like Winky, which allow you to take a photo by blinking your eye, can accidentally put you into bad situations if you blink while looking at a malicious QR code or URL. The glasses can be hijacked and all your personal data will go directly to the malicious developer’s server.

New Challenges, New Efforts

As we go further into the wearable tech avenue, we must take certain steps to ensure that we don’t fall into the traps I’ve mentioned earlier. New technologies have always been scary, and manufacturers have always come up with ways to respond to security challenges.

Do you have an idea on how Google Glass can be improved to deter these threats? Let us know in the comments!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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