Every time a revolutionary technology comes into being, basic questions such as 'do we really need this technology?' or 'how can we ensure that new technology can be put to right use?' will give raise to concerns about privacy and security.
Thanks to wearable technologies like Google Glass the debate as to whether we need these ‘intrusive’ technologies is back.
Mobile cam phones
When mobile phone technology was quickly embraced by commercial enterprise, it successfully generated a massive ‘conditioned response’ that everyone needed it. It was quickly and widely adopted despite privacy and security concerns being evident.
A camera was understood to be a tool for taking pictures when it was integrated with a mobile phone. The use of cameras for capturing bar-codes or QR Codes or as a substitute for photocopying or as script and image searching were unthinkable when the debate around the inclusion of cameras was being thrashed out. Many privacy and security concerns raised then were conveniently forgotten or overrun, others were down-played due to vested interests.
With general acceptance of cameras in phones notwithstanding, some security and privacy concerns are still valid, and are why some multinational companies that have 24/7 operations still do not allow employees to bring them into the work place.
Most of us probably know what Google Glass does and can conceive what it could do. Some of us might even have had a chance to use it by now. How this technology will ultimately be put to use up to our imagination—as generally happens with any new technology.
Some concerns around new technologies are proactively responded to by the industry, and once a healthy debate has formed, other concerns may be reactively addressed. But when such technologies are seen primarily as business opportunities—as we have seen in case of webcams and cam-phones and no doubt, Google Glass—it will become difficult to ensure that all valid concerns are addressed. Adoption will be driven ahead by the business opportunities it presents, regardless of concerns.
For a healthy debate to highlight valid concerns on privacy and security it is important to understand how the Google Glass technology could possibly be put to use:
- Could Google Glass replace the GPS navigator in your car?
- Can Google Glass potentially send live feeds to remote servers - possibly without the knowledge of the user?
- Is someone who sits on the next table in a coffee shop is possibly stealing information?
- Can Google Glass worn by a driver be used as a crash camera / accident recorder?
- Do we need to step up our efforts to secure our mobile devices from attackers?
What are your thoughts?
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