Will Google's Augmented Reality Glasses Facilitate an All-Seeing Surveillance State?


Ever wanted to wear the Internet on your face? With a nifty pair of Google Glasses, now in an early prototype phase, you may soon be able to. Here's the demo video released yesterday by Project Glass at Google[x], the company's bleeding edge innovation lab: 

Neat, right? And potentially as revolutionary as Internet-enabled mobile phones and tablets.

But it's also slightly scary for anyone concerned about the prying eyes of government surveillance. Forbes' Kashmir Hill predicts that when we're all recording everything all the time, we'll all become tools of the state:

If we all start wearing glasses with cameras, the process of seeing and recording will become that much easier and possibly continual. I could imagine a feature — which life loggers and quantified selfers would love — that would allow you to record and save everything. Or, if you prefer not to accumulate that much private data about yourself, you could set your camera to continually record (and consistently erase) chunks of time — it could be five minutes, fifteen minutes, an hour, or a day, depending on your privacy settings. If something awesome (or horrible) happens that you want to save, you could instruct your Glasses to permanently store that file or upload it to your YouTube account. No more "Whoops, I didn't get my smartphone out in time to record that!"

Imagine how helpful this could be for reporting crimes. If you witnessed a boy being attacked in your yard, or a hit and run, or a robbery, you could immediately upload that file to police databases. Inevitably, we would all become watchmen, critical parts of the surveillance society. Alternately, law enforcement could use cell location tracking to figure out who was in a certain area at a certain time and get a warrant (or subpoena) for access to their vision logs.

On the other hand, this could also complicate laws that make it a crime to take videos and photos of cops