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Google Glass and an always-on surveillance society

What do Google Glass and 3d printing have in common? No-one has seriously considered their implications for society in a broad context.

What do Google Glass and 3d printing have in common? No-one has seriously considered their implications for society in a broad context.

By way of a continuation of my previous thoughts on 3d printing, in so far as regulations — or the lack thereof — Google Glass is already causing a stir in restaurants, where patrons wearing the aforementioned device are being asked to remove it / them or leave. While the patron makes a half decent argument for the defense by pointing out the inconsistencies in policy, common sense is always a solid guide … which most people routinely ignore:

“One could argue, however, that wearing Google Glass carries with it no greater threat than, say, holding one’s phone up in the air and pretending to surf the Web when one’s actually taking a clandestine photograph of another patron. Same principle. Perhaps a smartphone is just a bit easier to notice?”

So, this is the here and now, but how does the situation improve over time? If we choose the 3d printing omnishambles as our starting point, then things only worsen. Presently, we have people wearing a device that — while discrete — is obviously some kind of recording device. What happens when ocular prosthetics meets cybernetics, or when Google Glass makes the leap to technology that resembles a contact lense? Oh yes, I’m sure the privacy advocates should begin to pay attention by then.

But what if the NSA / CIA / MI6 are already using this kind of technology? Welcome to the future, and a brave new world!

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.