ECM versus Google Glass
June 4, 2014 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Personal electronic warfare? Glasshole.sh detects any nearby Google Glass trying to use wifi and disconnects it. In a networked world, it renders you invisible.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (219 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Right up until the glasshole tethers their glass to their mobile.
posted by pompomtom at 6:05 PM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I, for one, welcome the coming age of consumer electronic warfare and countermeasures. Hopefully it will make daily life less boring.
posted by fraxil at 6:08 PM on June 4, 2014 [25 favorites]


Right up until the glasshole tethers their glass to their mobile.

From the article:

Oliver warns, though, that the same Glass-ejecting technique could be used more aggressively: He plans to create another version of Glasshole.sh in the near future that’s designed to be a kind of roving Glass-disconnector, capable of knocking Glass off any network or even severing its link to the user’s phone. “That moves it from a territorial statement to ‘you can all go to hell.’ It’s a very different position, politically,” he says. For that version, Oliver says he plans to warn users that the program may be more legally ill-advised, and is only to be used “in extreme circumstances.”
posted by emjaybee at 6:09 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Good. /palin
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:12 PM on June 4, 2014


How is this not a fuck you statement right out of the box? If you go this far out of your way to break my ability to communicate with the outside world, I don't think it's that far out of line for me to assume that a physical strike is coming and respond accordingly.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:19 PM on June 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I, for one, welcome the coming age of consumer electronic warfare and countermeasures. Hopefully it will make daily life less boring.

Yeah, personal HARM's and Chaff Dispensers would be awesome.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:22 PM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I personally don't give two shits about glass one way or the other, but I do find the whole glasshole and Oh My God Cameras obsession really really strange. I strongly suspect most people who have Strong Opinions about the whole thing have never actually seen glass.
posted by aspo at 6:23 PM on June 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


How is this not a fuck you statement right out of the box?

So is wearing Google Glass in public.
posted by mhoye at 6:26 PM on June 4, 2014 [101 favorites]


the beauty of electronic countermeasures, kid charlemagne, is that you don't know exactly where they're coming from. you can still communicate with the outside world by talking, ASL or semaphore. a pre-emptive physical strike against someone just because your google glass went offline could be fatal for one or both parties.

i'm glad we don't have this where i live, i've never seen one in the wild. i and everybody i know in northern curry county, oregon would react negatively to someone looking at us with the glass on.
posted by bruce at 6:26 PM on June 4, 2014


Phew,
once the jamming/signal tweaking/blocking stuff starts it isn't gonna end.

Your camera has wifi? Block all those connections. Mobile phone; block it. Laptop at *$? Blocked... Just wait until we get to cellular....

And then someone will come up with jammer detector detectors (e.g., in some states it's illegal to have a radar detector and police have radar detector detectors!), because jamming some frequencies will be forbidden.

On and on we go!
posted by CrowGoat at 6:27 PM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


"[Prevent my glasses from connecting to the internet?], I don't think it's that far out of line for me to assume that a physical strike is coming and respond accordingly."

Just clarifying
posted by edheil at 6:29 PM on June 4, 2014 [26 favorites]


far more valuable would be to have a program that detects someone using a google glass and broadcasts boney m directly into their brains
posted by elizardbits at 6:30 PM on June 4, 2014 [28 favorites]


I don't think it's that far out of line for me to assume that a physical strike is coming and respond accordingly.

Too late, my personal drone has already detected your potentially threatening response and begun countermeasures.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:31 PM on June 4, 2014 [28 favorites]


I don't think it's that far out of line for me to assume that a physical strike is coming and respond accordingly.

Well sure, in Florida, yeah.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:34 PM on June 4, 2014 [33 favorites]


Just wait until the NSA and Samsung team up to broadcast Galaxy 8 wallpapers as everyone's permanent iPhone wallpaper. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave right now.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:35 PM on June 4, 2014


So is wearing Google Glass in public.

That depends on where you live. Where I live it's perfectly legal to photograph or record in a public place and no one has the right to stop you from doing that.

If you don't like that, there's a process for changing those things.
It goes through our parliament.

Whining about it on the internet isn't going to help.
posted by Djinh at 6:37 PM on June 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Let the arms race begin.
posted by jsturgill at 6:37 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll take off my Glass when you take your head out of your ass.
posted by humanfont at 6:38 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's great, how well does it work against these $40 video glasses off ebay that just record straight to internal storage and are widely available and completely ignored while everyone is busy getting pissy about Glass?
posted by markr at 6:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [61 favorites]


crowgoat (6:27 PM), i've never heard of a police radar detector detector, but i do not doubt you. i don't use radar detectors because i don't drive really fast anymore, but i could surely pay a tech guy to make for me a police radar dectector detector detector.

detector detector detector detector detector detector detector!

djinh (6:37 PM), the faith you repose in your parliament, and your suggestion that dissenters are whining on the internet, made me grin. go into the wrong bar with your glass on, and you will discover that lawmaking can be an extremely local phenomenon. as e.e. cummings correctly noted...

look at the loud, angry crowd
very angry and very loud
LAW IS WE!
posted by bruce at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh sure but when you break out a cellphone jammer suddenly everybody has a problem...
posted by MikeMc at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Countermeasures, you say?

Now, I don't have Glass, and I'm not particularly planning to have Glass, but if you start screwing around with my systems, as far as I'm concerned that gives me free reign to do the same back. And I'm probably a bit better at it than someone who's stuck a RasPi to their router and forgotten about it.

dSploit, anyone? Hope you like serving Goatse to your patrons. Or just straight-up pulling everyone's Facebook passwords and sending them out to everyone else on the network. And that's not even touching full-on Metasploit. RasPi/Beaglebone? Pretty easy to force remote access, and reverse the iptables block. Now only the Glassholes get access.

Opening up digital countermeasures is a dark road. Let's not go there, shall we?
posted by CrystalDave at 6:52 PM on June 4, 2014 [30 favorites]


How does it work against this tiny network-connected camera that has been craftily concealed inside of a telephone?
posted by mkdg at 6:55 PM on June 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Someone ought to call his bluff on his claim that he's developing a means to take down any Glass devices in the area, on your network or not. It's a pretty simple thing to block known MAC address groups on your own router.
posted by planetesimal at 6:55 PM on June 4, 2014


I don't love glass, but color me dubious that the Google Glass team won't be able to engineer around a 52-line shell script that just greps for a string in the MAC address to determine whether you're a glass user.
posted by whir at 6:59 PM on June 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I strongly suspect most people who have Strong Opinions about the whole thing have never actually seen glass.

From the article:
These are cameras, highly surreptitious in nature...
You're on to something. Anyone who has seen Glass recording that describes it as "surreptitious" is either unaware what surreptitious means or has never seen someone wearing normal eyeglasses. If any of the latter are reading, here's a word of advice: normal eyeglasses don't have a glowing prism extending from a large blue chunk of plastic on one side.

Also, connecting to a new wifi network with Glass is an awful experience. I suspect there are very few people that don't have it tethered to their phone.
posted by elsp at 7:05 PM on June 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


look at the loud, angry crowd
very angry and very loud
LAW IS WE!


I thought that was Auden?

It would be interesting to see if someone used this software, and got in trouble for it under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, how the Silicon Valley/hacker community reacted. On the one hand, there's the tendency to abhor that law, the authorities in general, and their disproportionate punishments for minor crimes; on the other hand there's someone messing with the shiny new technology from the beloved company.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:05 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


A few years ago I wouldn't have cared either way about Google glass... but with the knowledge of the NSA tapping everything, and knowing how well Picassa's facial recognition works locally on my 15 years of personal photos... I would prefer not to be surveilled by random strangers, in real time.

Google has become the gateway for evil.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:16 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


damn it, i just googled and it's auden after all, not cummings.
posted by bruce at 7:17 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The rant that prompted the creation of the script is well worth a read - Nobody Goes to Art School to Make Money, so Fuck Off.
posted by unliteral at 7:27 PM on June 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Where I live it's perfectly legal to photograph or record in a public place and no one has the right to stop you from doing that.

It's perfectly legal to drive exactly at the speed limit in the fast lane basically everywhere. The fact that something is allowed doesn't mean you're can't be an asshole for doing it.
posted by mhoye at 7:28 PM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Google has become the gateway for evil.

I enjoyed this tweet from Brent Butt:
Google motto 2004: Don't be evil
Google motto 2010: Evil is tricky to define
Google motto 2013: We make military robots
posted by mhoye at 7:30 PM on June 4, 2014 [101 favorites]


I can't not side with the hackers here. I am not a fan of Google Glass.

I'd like to comment about watching the show play out, but it's watching me. Can I still have some popcorn?
posted by quiet earth at 7:30 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, connecting to a new wifi network with Glass is an awful experience. I suspect there are very few people that don't have it tethered to their phone.

So it's pointless, basically?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does Glass lose the ability to snap photos or record video if the wifi is out? Recording video of one's kids at the playground (many playgrounds still don't have wifi, believe it or not) was one of the marketing use-cases when Glass was announced.

This sounds really dumb to me. Someone has forgotten that "the network is the computer" was just a marketing slogan. The marketing slogan for a venture that failed when the network dawned in a serious way, in fact.

I'm as leery of our self-sponsored Panopticon future as anyone, but expensive, obvious status-symbol gadgets like Glass may be the least of our worries. You can buy a video camera the size of a key fob for US$8. If someone's even moderately interested in photographing or videotaping you surrepetitiously, you're never going to catch them. In many respects, that ship has sailed - you can't tell when you're on camera, and that's been the case for years already.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:42 PM on June 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


far more valuable would be to have a program that detects someone using a google glass and broadcasts boney m directly into their brains

You say that like Ra-Ra-Rasputin is a bad thing.
posted by davros42 at 7:42 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


You say that like Ra-Ra-Rasputin is a bad thing.

Well he was the lover of a Russian queen.
posted by Talez at 7:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's great, how well does it work against these $40 video glasses off ebay that just record straight to internal storage and are widely available and completely ignored while everyone is busy getting pissy about Glass?

Exactly. I think a bunch of people getting all bent over this are going to have to find another target for their grar. I remember in the '90s when people were very upset about security cameras popping up and there was demanded signage about being recorded, but now it's just expected, and in many cases preferred.

Seems to me in a few years this will seem as silly a freakout as any other tech advance over the years.. (see fire, automation, email, etc.)

It may not be in the form of glassholery, but between little quadcopters and phones and every other form of digital communication, any remaining expectation of privacy is rapidly evaporating - I doubt it's going to slow down.

As a rule, we generally tend to resist this kind of change by just changing our priorities.
posted by hypersloth at 7:47 PM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


You're saying people who are obeying the speed limit should get out of the way of people who are breaking the law, and if they don't do so they're assholes? Wow.

Yep, and even better THE LAW AGREES. Slower traffic yields the left lane no matter what the speed.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:54 PM on June 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm not not going to jam anyone, but I may find it necessary to carry a small microwave everywhere to heat my tea.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hoping hooded cloaks and masks come back in style as a result of Glass. Also if the lining has signal blocking capabilities that would be neat. We will thank our muslim citizens for paving the way for the freedom not to reveal ourselves in public.
posted by fraxil at 7:57 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I remember in the '90s when people were very upset about security cameras popping up and there was demanded signage about being recorded

In the 70's and early 80's, a lot of people were hostile to telephone answering machines. "I don't want to talk to a machine", they would say, with an air of grim purpose. I mean, it really bothered them.
posted by thelonius at 7:58 PM on June 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


Hopefully it will make daily life less boring.

A couple of years ago I lost phone service in my house for a few days because my VOIP provider got into a fight with some Russian hackers who DDOSed it for ransom, and they have a pretty firm no-negotiation-with-terrorists sort of policy, so they had to buy more transit and patch the exploits while begging their customers not to jump ship... every day I had to wait for the daily status update email on how the war was going to see if my phone was going to work.

I imagine trying to explain this to my grandmother and realize I do live in fairly interesting times.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:59 PM on June 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


You eyeholes, recording me to your neurons with your peepers. I designed these scissors to countermeasure you right in the eye socket.
posted by Behemoth at 8:01 PM on June 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


I don't love glass, but color me dubious that the Google Glass team won't be able to engineer around a 52-line shell script that just greps for a string in the MAC address to determine whether you're a glass user.

Spoofing a MAC address is trivial on network interfaces. As long as Google hasn't locked out access to networking admin on the Glass, it shouldn't require any engineers at Google to spoof a MAC on the device. Even if they have, someone will want to hack into it to allow that level of admin control.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:05 PM on June 4, 2014


hooded cloaks and masks come back in style 

CV Dazzle: Fashion to fight facial recognition
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:06 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was under the impression, perhaps misguided, that what people were objecting to was the fact that Glass makes things like "stalker apps" (like NameTag) so much easier & effective than before.

Is it really just the camera itself that bugs people?
posted by aramaic at 8:07 PM on June 4, 2014


You say that like Ra-Ra-Rasputin is a bad thing.

i just want everyone to listen to boney m at all times
posted by elizardbits at 8:08 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


As thelonius pointed out with answering machines, it also followed that early adopters of cell phones were ridiculed.. I'm not saying I'm a big fan of this particular change. I just think it's inevitable.
posted by hypersloth at 8:08 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


On a completely different hand, consumer electronic warfare like this can be an interesting way to make friends with similar interests.

I've actually met a few fellow nerds because our firewalls lit up because we were portscanning each other at a coffee shop or because I shoulder surfed someone with a terminal window open and running nmap or kismet or something.

"Dude, did you just port scan me? Not cool!"

"Yeah, did you know you still have IIS open on that unpatched XP virtual machine you're running? You should sandbox that shit."
posted by loquacious at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


mhoye: "It's perfectly legal to drive exactly at the speed limit in the fast lane basically everywhere. The fact that something is allowed doesn't mean you're can't be an asshole for doing it."

Most places in the US and Canada this is only true while passing slower traffic. And because traffic law is such a crufty thing you can be doing exactly the speed limit and still be charged with impeding traffic making this action situationally less than legal.

aramaic: "Is it really just the camera itself that bugs people?"

I can't speak for everyone but a large subset of the complaints I've seen about it are concerned with the camera itself completely decoupled from any software to take advantage of it. I've been carrying a camera with me everywhere I go for 25 years now and this isn't really new. In fact in my experience people are less weirded by cameras now that everyone has one. 25 years ago casually carrying a camera everywhere you went put one in the same league as people who tortured small animals to death, at least in some people's view.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yep, and even better THE LAW AGREES. Slower traffic yields the left lane no matter what the speed.

I guarantee that the law where Jimbob lives says nothing about yielding the left lane.
posted by markr at 8:18 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hoping hooded cloaks and masks come back in style as a result of Glass.

Nah, those are illegal. But a gadget that feeds unsolicited audio and video recordings to an ad company? That will remain legal, even if Google has to buy the US government.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:19 PM on June 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


When Google Glass goes down to $300 and becomes the must-have aspirational tech item, it'll be cheap enough for someone to figure out how to brick it OTA.
posted by hellojed at 8:23 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where is a hooded cloak or mask illegal? No place cold I'm guessing.
posted by Mitheral at 8:25 PM on June 4, 2014


Anti-mask laws
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:31 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like the fact that most people (not here) call these devices Google Glasses. I don't know why but that makes me happy.
posted by chaz at 8:32 PM on June 4, 2014


Seems to be mostly a knock on offense when already committing a crime/disturbing the peace. Just walking around with your face concealed doesn't look illegal except in France.
posted by Mitheral at 8:46 PM on June 4, 2014


It would be so much better if they were called Googley Eyes
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [34 favorites]


Last Google Glass hate thread, Frowner was the only one I recall who seemed to understand why to hate Google Glass if you are so inclined.

It's not the tech, or the capability. I have a couple cameras in my pocket most of the time already, and I can use them somewhat stealthily to some degree or cloak their use as some other innocuous interaction with my phone. Of course, that's just what I happen to have - if I really wanted a surreptitious camera, I would go out and get a surreptitious camera.

The reason to hate Glass is precisely that it's not surreptitious. The use of hidden camera footage tends to be socially constrained in varying ways. Glass, though, is plain in front of your face. I think it will normalize ubiquitous recording by individuals in public spaces. Society will shift and accommodate. It will be called progress.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:47 PM on June 4, 2014 [34 favorites]


Just popping up to note I went to art school and lots of people - the majority, I would hazard, were thinking about the money they would make (they just kept talking about jobs around graduation! the temerity!).
posted by 99_ at 8:48 PM on June 4, 2014


Also, connecting to a new wifi network with Glass is an awful experience. I suspect there are very few people that don't have it tethered to their phone.
So it's pointless, basically?


It has little to no technical merit for a variety of reasons, but I wouldn't say it's pointless. In discussions about how one disapproves of Glass it provides the author with the moral high ground of being able to say "... and I am doing something about it!" & for the rest of us it motivates the discussion of another iteration of technology intended only to degrade the Others' gadgets.
posted by elsp at 8:58 PM on June 4, 2014


Dammit ... If this shit keeps up I'm gonna hafta go read Neuromancer and all those other books again to get back up to speed on counter-countermeasures.

Might not be so bad nowadays ... I cud have some pro read them to me instead. Yeh, that's the ticket.
posted by Twang at 9:10 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Google Glass: You're not wrong, you're just a glasshole.
posted by islander at 9:13 PM on June 4, 2014


I think it will normalize ubiquitous recording by individuals in public spaces. Society will shift and accommodate. It will be called progress.

Unless you happen to record something you didn't expect to that makes a random sociopath (no I'm not even thinking about PoPo here) nervous about his future. In which case it will be called "Invitation to the Dance".
posted by Twang at 9:20 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Too late, my personal drone has already detected your potentially threatening response and begun countermeasures.

You make a joke but I dead seriously just put in a request for a quote on a bit of aerial surveillance I wanted across the country. They didn't service that region yet.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:22 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


The reason to hate Glass is precisely that it's not surreptitious.

Wait...so you're saying it's completely insane? Pointing a camera at someone is not surreptitious. Holding a cellphone which has a camera in it up in front of you is not surreptitious. I cannot for the life of me grasp why bolting the not-surreptitious camera onto your glasses frames suddenly transforms those actions to OMG GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!!!

This is just a stupid, baseless moral panic that everyone will look back on in about five years time (or perhaps less) and wonder "what the hell was that all about?" It will be the "hey, remember when someone had to run in front of cars carrying a red flag?" of the early C21st.
posted by yoink at 9:23 PM on June 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


The reason to hate Glass is precisely that it's not surreptitious. The use of hidden camera footage tends to be socially constrained in varying ways. Glass, though, is plain in front of your face. I think it will normalize ubiquitous recording by individuals in public spaces. Society will shift and accommodate. It will be called progress.

I hadn't considered this before and I don't understand the heart of the objection. We expect to be recorded by political and corporate entities when we're in public; why is it worse when individuals record us?
posted by elsp at 9:25 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


People hate your Google Glass because you are pointing a camera at them and they can't tell if it's on.
posted by anemone of the state at 9:25 PM on June 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


Seems to be mostly a knock on offense when already committing a crime/disturbing the peace

Or exercising freedom of speech outside designated zones, but, hey, it's called progress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:26 PM on June 4, 2014


People hate your Google Glass because you are pointing a camera at them and they can't tell if it's on.

I can't tell if the person looking at their phone at the table opposite mine at the coffeeshop is taking a photo or reading their email. I'M LIVING IN A DYSTOPIAN HELL!!!
posted by yoink at 9:28 PM on June 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Wait...so you're saying it's completely insane? Pointing a camera at someone is not surreptitious. Holding a cellphone which has a camera in it up in front of you is not surreptitious. I cannot for the life of me grasp why bolting the not-surreptitious camera onto your glasses frames suddenly transforms those actions to OMG GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!!!

It's not complex. If someone points a traditional camera with you, it's obvious that they are taking a picture. If someone hold a phone up at you just so, it's often obvious that they are taking a picture (although you can be sneaky about it).

With someone wearing Glass or similar wearable headsets, it is not obvious. They might be recording. They might not be. If they were recording you, you would have not have a way of telling, and therefore wouldn't have the opportunity to object. The platform changes the way in which camera technology is used in a way that does not conform to the current social conventions.

And yes, I've had a hands-on with Glass. I've also sat in a room with a bunch of international regulators while they completely lost their shit over it. Just because they're paranoid, doesn't mean they're wrong.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:32 PM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


The differences between an always-on surveillance device and a cell phone out of someone's pocket for a brief duration seem so painfully obvious that it beggars incredulity that the false equivalence is even made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on June 4, 2014 [21 favorites]


Actually, what Blazecock said.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:34 PM on June 4, 2014


The differences between an always-on surveillance device and a cell phone out of someone's pocket for a brief duration seem painfully obvious that it beggars incredulity that the false equivalence is made.

Indeed, the difference there is painfully obvious. So's the difference between an always-on surveillance device and Google Glass. Painting one as the other is itself ridiculous.
posted by kafziel at 9:36 PM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Painting one as the other is itself ridiculous.

Glass has few, if any, functions unless its surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 PM on June 4, 2014


i bought both of the ebay items linked up thread.

thanks, all!!

*excited for a fun week*
posted by raihan_ at 9:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I be interested to see if there's some overlap between people who champion street photography but assail Glass (if other social cues are relelvant, I'd say it's high).

Is there any extant evidence that people using Glass are recording the majority of the time? Maybe it's just because I've been wearing glasses for 30 years, but the appeal of glass has nothing to do with recording. It's probably an awful lens.

And pretty much find any argument that 'I can tell when a phone user is photographing me' to be utter and complete bunko.
posted by 99_ at 9:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's really fun to read the thread and imagine people are arguing about Ira Glass.
posted by neroli at 9:49 PM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


But kafziel, it's made by a company that sells advertising! Only evil companies do that.

Or exercising freedom of speech outside designated zones, but, hey, it's called progress.

What does this even mean? Why not actually participate in good faith and actually explain your points and reasoning, instead of posting coy, basically-meaningless one liners? Or do you just not want to admit you are possibly wrong about this whole mask law thing?

I think it's way too early to determine if google glass type tech is going to be a fad or something that catches on. It could be like cellphone users who were ridiculed early on, or these folks could just be doofuses (or both. Probably actually both). I think that personal sousveilance can be empowering in a lot of ways, like having a permanent offsite record of interactions with authority figures for instance. Hopefully a more "socially acceptable" company will come out with a similar product and we can debate things more on their merits.
posted by grandsham at 9:50 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wait...so you're saying it's completely insane?

I'm saying it's the symbol, not the capability. Glass on a face says "Hey I'm recording everything and that is OK to do." People not smashing the Glass off the face, not outlawing it, not verbally harassing the wearer, not screaming and causing a scene, not viciously shunning the wearer, etc. signify society agrees. (Keyboard warrior-ing doesn't count.) I don't think that one fight in SF and the odd places with a no Glass rule are the start of an effective movement to make such actions widespread, so I think we'll be seeing Glass.

With someone wearing Glass or similar wearable headsets, it is not obvious. They might be recording. They might not be. If they were recording you, you would have not have a way of telling...

No, it is obvious. It means they're recording you. And it means it's socially acceptable.

Battery, bandwidth, and storage are the only reason not to record everything, and battery's the only strong one there if you're happy enough with significant compression. A robot can go through it for you and extract interesting snippets and data.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:51 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought the function of Glass was to do away with the oblivious people who shuffle along crowded city streets with their noses in their phones. I think we can all agree that they are the real monsters.
posted by um at 9:52 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hoping hooded cloaks and masks come back in style as a result of Glass.

Check out my sweet summer burqa. Fuckin all breezy linen and shit. Shoulda done this years ago. Religious garment dontcha know.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:55 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


For everyone in this thread who mentioned cloaks and hoods as an alternative, prepare to be Dick'd. Phillip K Dick presents the 'Scramble Suit' from his novel 'A Scanner Darkly'.

Personal ECM is an interesting idea. Perhaps I am in the minority but an embodied camera worries me a lot less than a world of hidden cameras. In fact in a world of ubiquitous surveillance, making your own evidential recordings with a glass-like device is probably a very good idea. Russian dashcams on your head.
posted by vicx at 10:01 PM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Does Glass lose the ability to snap photos or record video if the wifi is out?"

No. It stores it and will later sync it.

Also a few other misconceptions to clear up, so at least we're objecting to Glass for real reasons:
- the camera is not always on
- when the camera is recording, it shines a bright light from the lens that is visible to other people.
posted by mulligan at 10:04 PM on June 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


What I find odd about google glass is that it's being marketed as a lifestyle thing. This is just a weird idea to me. I'm not creeped out necessarily by the idea of someone wearing google glass on the subway, but I can't imagine why a random passenger would want to wear google glass on the subway.

But I can see why I would want the subway driver, or a doctor, or a cop, to wear something like google glass (...assuming it's not connected to the web).

Privacy issues aside, marketing google glass as a social thing seems weird in a way, a bit like Epson marketing a portable all-in-one scanner-fax-copier-printer as a social thing ("Fax LIFE as it happens!").
posted by serif at 10:04 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there any extant evidence that people using Glass are recording the majority of the time?

It's currently not capable of recording all the time. The battery is too small and limited, and so is onboard storage. Plus it gets kind of hot. But battery tech is getting better all the time. Storage is cheap, and you could always just stream the photos or video to external storage. Future iterations will almost certainly be able to record all the time.

Other wearables currently available do have always-on recording functionality, like the Narrative Clip.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:07 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Glass has few, if any, functions unless its surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Smartphones have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Tablets have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Laptops have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Oh hell, watches have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

If you said any of those people would laugh you out of the room. But somehow glass is some panopticon filming 100% of the time SENDING DATA TO YOUR CORPORATE MASTERS privacy hellhole? If that's true you are in luck because it means, modulo Google having invented cold fusion (small factor too!), glass users need to keep a backpack with a car battery in it on them at all times.
posted by aspo at 10:08 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


- when the camera is recording, it shines a bright light from the lens that is visible to other people.

No, it does that whenever you're using it. There isn't an indicator LED or similar, that clearly signals that you are recording. An observer wouldn't be able to tell if you were recording or just checking directions or bookface or whatever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:09 PM on June 4, 2014


Or do you just not want to admit you are possibly wrong about this whole mask law thing?

There are laws against concealing your identity in public spaces. I cited a list of countries where this is so, which seemed a fair and reasonable response to a challenge to issue such a citation. What seems in bad faith, in fact, is when a claim is more or less made that there are no such laws — and when evidence is provided to the contrary — that the goalposts are moved and that people are being prosecuted for something else, which is not, in fact, true.

My initial comment simply observes the fact that it is already illegal in many places to hide your physical identity in public, should authorities wish to prosecute you for that, and that, ironically, the legal vacuum around privacy and civil rights in fact defends the ability of a private corporate entity to surveil, through users of its products, on the behaviors of those who may not want their activities recorded and analyzed on a continuous basis by an entity to which they have effectively ceded most of their rights — and not, I expect, were you to ask most people on the street, by choice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 PM on June 4, 2014


It isn't just that it's a camera, it's a camera that can upload everything it sees to the world's most data-hungry corporation. This is the corporation that snarfed up people's Wi-Fi passwords by accident because they can and will inhale everything, indiscriminately. And then correlate it and match it to a composite identity of you because that helps them sell advertising.

And, more entertainingly, once they have it, it's subpoenable.
posted by adipocere at 10:11 PM on June 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Ira Glass, or a search engine on speed.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:15 PM on June 4, 2014


Other wearables currently available do have always-on recording functionality, like the Narrative Clip.

Photo recording, at least. (1 photo every 30 seconds for the Narrative Clip)

I think there's a distinct difference with lifeloggers, which by their current nature don't do video or audio.

The lifelogger idea's pretty tempting, I'll admit. My memory's terrible, and I don't like that feeling of stepping out of the moment to deliberately set up and take a photo of something. I have trouble enough stepping into the moment as-is. What was I doing a year ago? I know major events, and I have a weekly-or-so status update from then. But what was I doing, beyond the broad strokes of 'going to class'? What was cool, that I wouldn't have thought to write down if I was self-interested enough to write a journal? What're the moments that I would look back fondly on in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, if only I could remember them? What bits of ephemera would light up a worn and hidden pathway in my mind, in the possible future where my Alzheimer's chit comes up?

But then, there's the threats of violence (less-so here than most places this topic's come up), the idea that "people not smashing the Glass off the face, not outlawing it, not verbally harassing the wearer, not screaming and causing a scene, not viciously shunning the wearer, etc. signify society agrees". The zeitgeist is turning against me, or at least the aspect of me that's involved in technology for work and personal creativity. I may not be the 'glasshole' who is held up as an example of Gentrification and Tech-Busses and Death-Of-Privacy, but that heat still gets pointed my direction. And sure, given my demographics, if this is the worst I'm having to face, I'm still doing pretty well.

But it's still worrysome. There's arguments to be made on the declining room for day-to-day interactions to be a palimpest where what happens is forgotten and discarded once it's transpired. I just want to hold onto some memories more reliable than this sack of flesh can retain, one photo-every-thirty-seconds or so at a time.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:22 PM on June 4, 2014


I just want to buy some milk and go the fuck home, not worry about what some creeper is going to be doing with my visage later. I'm in sweat pants and flip flops for Christ's sake.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:23 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Smartphones have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Tablets have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.

Laptops have few, if any, functions unless their surveillance hardware components are enabled and actively capturing data.


At the core of all of this, I think, is the issue of consent.

Your phone is a "surveillance device" for "eavesdropping" on someone you are almost always having a mutually consensual conversation with.

Your laptop is a "surveillance device" for "eavesdropping" on someone you are almost always having a mutually consensual email discussion with.

Your tablet is a "surveillance device" for "eavesdropping" on someone you are almost always having a mutually consensual video or audio chat with.

Where does the spectrum of consent fall with Glass? The answer is that, with this technology pointed at random people, there is almost always no consent. No legal or even social contract exists for how the data are used. Personal agency is revoked. And that's why projects like Oliver's exist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sousveillance.
posted by I-baLL at 10:35 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where does the spectrum of consent fall with Glass? The answer is that, with this technology pointed at random people, there is almost always no consent. No legal or even social contract exists for how the data are used. Personal agency is revoked. And that's why projects like Oliver's exist.

But doesn't this argument depend upon literally ignoring the technical capabilities of millions of devices routinely used every day? How many Glass units are in the wild? 10,000? That many Android and iPhones are sold every day.

In literally minutes I can point to you tens (dozens?) of examples of venerated examples of projects that are dependent upon observation without consent (verbal, visual, written), most of which get the sort of misty eyed pomo flâneur pat on the back (likely even here).

Glass opponents are the epitome of delusional fear mongering. If it were coming from people that weren't instagramming the most pointless details of theirs and others existence, it might have the whiff of credible. But for the most part, it's a self-delusion. Maybe Glass users should be celebrated for making overt what has been true about public life for almost a decade now.
posted by 99_ at 10:38 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is stupid. Hating on Google Glass is the new "I don't own a TV."
posted by zardoz at 10:43 PM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I think we should have an event where people walk around all day with video cameras mounted on their heads and then restart then restart the conversation on what Glass is or isn't.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:44 PM on June 4, 2014


You mean have people walk around with smartphones on their heads?
posted by I-baLL at 10:46 PM on June 4, 2014


Or GoPros?
posted by 99_ at 10:47 PM on June 4, 2014


Nope, not GoPros. A Google Glass is basically a crappy smartphone. Strapped to your head.
posted by I-baLL at 10:49 PM on June 4, 2014


It almost makes me want to get one of the dozens of actual surreptitious recording devices or phone apps and secretly record people being a jerk to someone wearing Glass.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:51 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


But doesn't this argument depend upon literally ignoring the technical capabilities of millions of devices routinely used every day?

In general, I don't think so. There are usually social and legal rules for those other technologies.

The most trivial example I could think of is that you can't just point a video camera out into a crowd and use the footage for a television program or film, for instance — you have to obtain media waivers from participants, and participants have to be of a certain legal age to cede their rights, all of which establishes and invokes a specific type of consensual relationship between the recorder and the recorded. When that relationship fails, lawsuits and professional censure often result.

As another trivial example, holding up a cellphone camera in a coffee shop, which is pointed at customers without their permission, is behavior that is socially proscribed, if not very unusual to the point that the cellphone user will likely be asked to leave the space by the shop owner — who will be within her legal rights to do.

Yet another example: Someone who isn't law enforcement and who does not have a legal warrant who installs a keylogger or other eavesdropping software on a laptop — or attaches the equivalent of a wiretap on a telephone — without the laptop's or phone's owner's knowledge — these are usually frowned upon in common society and often illegal by most statutes.

There are many other examples, but you get the idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The most trivial example I could think of is that you can't just point a video camera out into a crowd and use the footage for a television program or film, for instance — you have to obtain media waivers from participants, and participants have to be of a certain legal age to cede their rights, all of which establishes and invokes a specific type of consensual relationship between the recorder and the recorded. When that relationship fails, lawsuits and professional censure often result."

This is not the case:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law
posted by I-baLL at 10:56 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Well, that last example ignores the NSA, but despite writing their own laws as they go along, I'd think it's fair to say that what they do is not socially acceptable to all, at least.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 PM on June 4, 2014


Do you sign a waiver every time you walk past a security camera?
posted by I-baLL at 10:57 PM on June 4, 2014


But that same coffeeshop could mount a high quality, high resolution, high field of view surveillance camera that records all the customers all the time and nobody would blink an eye. So it seems that the powerful are free to surveil the weak, but if the reverse happens, then that is Cause For Concern.
posted by Pyry at 10:58 PM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


"could mount"? I haven't been in a coffee shop lately that hadn't had one of those. Also they had near-infrared LEDs on them for night vision and I could tell the camera was on because I could see the IR from the LEDs with my cell phone camera.
posted by I-baLL at 10:59 PM on June 4, 2014


There are many other examples, but you get the idea.

Um, no I don't. Getting model release for photography (still or motion) isn't something Glass users are exempt from. And news organizations can point a camera at anyone they like.

But kudos for the vague prohibition of 'professional censure' being invoked. How does this work exactly?

Pointing a cellphone at someone in a coffee shop is going to be governed by the owner of the coffee shop, as a private business. If the owner has no objection, there is no 'professional censure' or 'social prohibition.'

There are plenty of resources that can explain in more basic details regarding the legal issues around public photography. I suggest you do some reading before setting up useless straw men.
posted by 99_ at 11:02 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Do you sign a waiver every time you walk past a security camera?

No, but laws defend the rights of private property owners to install security cameras to secure their property and to help with personal safety of people on the property.

In exchange, security cameras are used just for that. Other non-accepted uses can invite civil and criminal liability for the property owner, which is why some publish their policies on the use of security camera technology, detailing scenarios where it used and why, as well as what happens with footage.

So, in exchange, the automatic waivers we grant in these spaces have become largely implicit, because these kinds of contracts/policies exist beforehand in some form that is readily accessible or available on demand, or they have become boilerplate and small-print on the back of ticket stubs or other contractual documents we receive when we enter private spaces (parking lots, sports arenas, etc.).

In public spaces, there are laws that regulate the installation and use of surveillance technology to establish similar policies — protect people and public property, etc. — while minimizing abuse that opens up liability issues. The public signs that waiver by participating in a representative(*) democracy that elects legislators who write these laws.

It's unclear if any such similar contracts or policies exist with the use of Glass technology, except for a brief doc from Google that asks users not to be "creepy or rude". Which, at the very least, makes Oliver's work useful, to the extent that it helps get people started in asking those sorts of questions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 PM on June 4, 2014


Blazecock: Did you read the Wikiepdia link I posted a few comments up regarding the legality of photographing in public?
posted by I-baLL at 11:21 PM on June 4, 2014


Video glasses rant: I want these things built into every riot helmet and any other paramilitary headgear used by the cops. I want the video always on when the cop is on duty, and I want it un-fucking-deletable. I want defendants to have access to all the relevant video and I don't want them to be jerked around while it gets accidentally lost. Police brutality is a social problem where I see technology providing a necessary part of the solution.

(on-topic, the recording should be buffered when offline or connection blocked by a device whose use would certainly be made illegal were my cop helmet dream to come true. Paramilitary deployments should include electronic countermeasures and tricorder-style black box recordings of relevant spectrum for evidence for later prosecution, anyway.)
posted by bigbigdog at 11:28 PM on June 4, 2014


Where does the spectrum of consent fall with Glass? The answer is that, with this technology pointed at random people, there is almost always no consent.

The other day they were filming a TV show outside my apartment. So they had some of those signs up about how entering upon this area indicates your consent to be recorded. And that sign is right outside my apartment door. Now, that, all the time, everywhere, and it's a social contract, not some flimsy legal one.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:34 PM on June 4, 2014


I would prefer not to be surveilled by random strangers, in real time.

That ship sailed decades ago. It's been obvious for quite a while that the question is no longer, Will we all be recorded by ubiquitous surveillance?, but How can we incorporate universal surveillance into a livable society?. That's the discussion Brin was trying to get started with The Transparent Society, but people seem to mistake that book for advocacy (mostly people who haven't read it).

The possible answers to that do include new social norms, such as the suggestions in this thread of assaulting and bullying anyone who wears a camera on their brow instead of keeping their always-on camera in their hand, in a window, on the ceiling, in their lapel, etc., like a respectable person obviously would.

As save alive says, people hate Glass for symbolic reasons, not for anything intrinsic to Glass itself. It's not even primarily a recording device; it's primarily a HUD (a less absorbing version of the wearable computers we all already carry) and supposedly the original designs didn't even have a camera. But cameras are cheap as dirt and there's no reason not to attach one to anything that already has a battery and cpu. Really, the arguments against Glass seem to be mostly classist. Like cell phone users in the early 2000s, or Prius drivers a while later, Glass users currently represent someone slightly richer than the average person. That's always been a reason to hate someone.
posted by hattifattener at 11:34 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Iball, here's an overview of the issue of consent with commercial recordings that is a bit more focused on the US:

Legal guide to video releases & the use and publication of Audio and Video Recordings

Exceptions exist for news broadcasters, but there appear to be limitations there, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:40 PM on June 4, 2014


normal eyeglasses don't have a glowing prism extending from a large blue chunk of plastic on one side.

For now. Five years from now, they'll probably be indistinguishable from regular glasses. And people will get the crap beaten out if then for wanting to look like Buddy Holly. Bars will institute "no eyeglasses" policies, and people who are nearsighted will be social pariahs.

Fifteen years from now, the first Google Contacts will come to market, and directly looking at someone will be an invitation to a fight or a lawsuit.

And remember my friends, future events such as these will affect you in the future. The great Criswell has spoken.
posted by happyroach at 11:41 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can't tell if the person looking at their phone at the table opposite mine at the coffeeshop is taking a photo or reading their email. I'M LIVING IN A DYSTOPIAN HELL!!!

I usually intentionally hold my phone in a way so as not to point it at people, just so there's no confusion.
posted by empath at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's weird to me, the thing I'm most facinated about w/r/t google glass is it's prism heads up display. I wish they would make Google Glass without the camera, because I could actually use a HUD thingamajig/headset rather than a head mounted camera.
posted by hellojed at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Blazecock: I don't think you read the Wikipedia link that I posted. Also, I had to look around your link to find references to video recording in public and finally found something about it:

http://www.newmediarights.org/page/field_guide_audio_and_video_recordings#Video

"Can I secretly record video?
Video has less restrictions and limitations compared to audio recordings. You can legally record video without consent, unless it violates the privacy rights of others. Courts have banned secret video recordings in locations such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, bed rooms, where persons expects a heightened level of privacy. Courts have allowed secret recordings of babysitters, elder care employees, and other instances without consent.
"
posted by I-baLL at 12:03 AM on June 5, 2014


I wish i could find the previous thread, but the best point brought up in it about why google glass is bad is that it's easy to use it for harassment.

The point above brought up was that if people wear them all the time, and that becomes accepted/normal then recording is normal. But that's not really the main issue, the main issue is that wearing them is normal and therefor you never know when to expect someone is recording you.

This is totally fraught with issues of harassment/cyberbullying/etc that disproportionately effect people in groups already prone to that type of harassment.

Basically, it's something championed and worn by primarily somewhat affluent nerdy white dudes that they can use to make stealth "lol look at how stupid these black people on the subway are" videos without even having to risk pulling their phone out. And much, much worse.

This is not progress.

That's great, how well does it work against these $40 video glasses off ebay that just record straight to internal storage and are widely available and completely ignored while everyone is busy getting pissy about Glass?

Because

1. those look dorky, and not in a "i'm obviously using computer glasses" way. If wearing some kind of HUD glasses like google glass becomes fairly innocuous, then it will be an even wider chasm of "oh, normal" vs weird chunky spy glasses. Think of the brief stark weirdness when you first saw people taking photos with ipads, vs it now just being some thing that old people do at tourist attractions.

2. depending on what mobile gear you carry around with you, at least generally it's going to be a hassle to post this stuff online or get it out of the device without going home. Being able to upload it to youtube or whatever in 2 seconds is a big difference.

I mean i could write even more stuff about how the attitude of a good sized contingent of the people using glass is part of what's being hated here, and repeat stuff about that whole restaurant fake shit review thing that happened, but i don't even want to start much. That's part of it too, though.
posted by emptythought at 12:08 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Five years from now, they'll probably be indistinguishable from regular glasses."

If you're talking about the Google Glass as a smartphone then, yeah, I can't wait for that day.

If you're talking about the Google Glass as a recording device then recording devices that look like rnormal glasses have been around for about 40 years.
posted by I-baLL at 12:09 AM on June 5, 2014


Yeah, I love the idea of an active HUD. However, the camera just ruins it for me. Actively taping other people in person without their consent is pretty much a hostile act - try holding up your camera like you're taping people in public and see how long that lasts. Yeah, people accept security cameras, but security cameras nearly always get used for security purposes only. I don't have to worry that if I stay something stupid in conversation, it's going to get uploaded to YouTube.

The problem is that the device kind of needs a camera for many purposes the HUD could be used for. Maybe it'd be better if the device kept the camera but had no internal storage and had a severe limit to the upload rate.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:10 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, why would anybody use the Glass for surveillane? It's not built for it and costs $1600. Why not just use stuff like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diWskzGOVq8

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52UFPR8fxXU
posted by I-baLL at 12:12 AM on June 5, 2014


They could end this entire thing if they let people buy a cameraless version, and/or had some sort of NFC/bluetooth LE/wifi direct receiver on it that would detect a "no record" flag being sent out by wireless APs in businesses, or other peoples devices. Have a hypervisor virtualizing the OS. If you're running a cracked version of the OS to bypass this, you don't get access to the camera.

The problem is that the device kind of needs a camera for many purposes the HUD could be used for. Maybe it'd be better if the device kept the camera but had no internal storage and had a severe limit to the upload rate.

It could have easily only had an IR camera or something similar like the kinect low res standard camera+IR setup, which could track gestures and such but not actually take photos/video in a meaningful way.

Or i mean seriously, why not have a rapidly blinking red "recording" light? what the fuck?
posted by emptythought at 12:13 AM on June 5, 2014


Oh, and it's impossible that Google Glass will ever look like regular glasses. The recording functions are compatible with that (mostly) but the HUD purpose intrinsically requires some kind of active projection and internal reflection that will always be visible to some greater or lesser degree.

I also wouldn't hold my breath for them to get too much smaller; all that cell phone tech requires a certain amount of power, which requires a certain amount of battery. Battery tech is starting to run up against fundamental limits of chemistry and won't improve like processor tech or flash.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:14 AM on June 5, 2014


To the people saying that the camera should be removed or that the internal storage should be removed:

Great idea! Let's start with your smartphones.
posted by I-baLL at 12:16 AM on June 5, 2014


emptythought: It could have easily only had an IR camera or something similar like the kinect low res standard camera+IR setup, which could track gestures and such but not actually take photos/video in a meaningful way.

Hah, an IR camera would be almost worse in some ways. Did you know a lot of clothing is semi-transparent in the infrared?

Anyways, it wouldn't do a lot of what something like Google Glass has the possibility to do, like automatic reading of signs and such. I'm not really sure what the point of grabbing gestures is, actually (controlling the device?)

Or i mean seriously, why not have a rapidly blinking red "recording" light? what the fuck?

The problem there is that people who hack/root the device now have a nice, high-resolution camera that can record with everyone else thinking it's not. Even if it can't be turned off in software, you could just fry it, paint it, or jiggle it around until the contacts break.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:20 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I-baLL: To the people saying that the camera should be removed or that the internal storage should be removed:

Great idea! Let's start with your smartphones.


The difference is that I have to hold up my smartphone up and point the lens at things, which is visible (you can be sneaky about it, but you can sneakily record people lots of ways, and everyone agrees that generally makes you an asshole except in very special circumstances). If you had to take Google Glass off and hold down a button to videotape, and it was obvious to everyone, that would be easier to accept.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:23 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


"The difference is that I have to hold up my smartphone up and point the lens at things, which is visible (you can be sneaky about it, but you can sneakily record people lots of ways, and everyone agrees that generally makes you an asshole except in very special circumstances). If you had to take Google Glass off and hold down a button to videotape, and it was obvious to everyone, that would be easier to accept."

So Google Glass is bad because assholes can use it to secretly video people but other video devices are good because assholes can use them to secretly video people but it's okay because the people doing the videoing are assholes?

So if it's Google Glass, blame the device. If it's not, blame the person?
posted by I-baLL at 12:27 AM on June 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I-baLL: So Google Glass is bad because assholes can use it to secretly video people but other video devices are good because assholes can use them to secretly video people but it's okay because the people doing the videoing are assholes?

So if it's Google Glass, blame the device. If it's not, blame the person?


I blame the person with the device. If someone was running around with secret camera-glasses, I'm going to be immediately suspicious and hostile if I figure it out. Google Glass does the same thing and the user shouldn't expect a better reaction. Although they do get a little benefit of the doubt because it does other things too, I'm still not going to say anything but 'put your camera away' to you until you do.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:35 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


So Google Glass is bad because assholes can use it to secretly video people but other video devices are good because assholes can use them to secretly video people but it's okay because the people doing the videoing are assholes?

I'm imagining this sentence being posed as a logic challenge by elves on a bridge
posted by serif at 12:42 AM on June 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


So Google Glass is bad because assholes can use it to secretly video people but other video devices are good because assholes can use them to secretly video people but it's okay because the people doing the videoing are assholes?

I have no idea if you're being disingenuous or what, but holding an(increasingly large, with every coming month) big fondleslab in your hand up in the air is massively different from a little bob on the corner of some glasses that can be almost hidden by the brim of a baseball cap.

Great idea! Let's start with your smartphones.

See above, this is about the ability of the person potentially being recorded to assess the environment around them and figure out if they're probably being recorded. This is very obvious with smartphones, and completely opaque with glass other than that they're wearing it.
posted by emptythought at 12:49 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I-ball, it comes across to me that you like Google Glass, so you're reading at cross-purposes to what people are saying here.

Here's a car analogy, as is traditional.

"Check out these new automobile doohickeys! Better than a horse!"

"I don't like them: I think they'll redefine the relationship between people on foot and the way we use the road in public. For example, I fear that it will become socially unacceptable to walk freely in the road, because you'll be in the way of the automobiles. It will radically change our public spaces"

"Man, that's such a crock. Look, there are already horses and carts. How is the automobile different, really? Next you'll be saying there will be laws against walking in the road, like some Wellsian nightmare!"
posted by alasdair at 12:55 AM on June 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm okay with wearables users recording artists work, that's their business. And I'm thrilled with devices that surreptitiously record cops, authority figures, lobbyists' conversations, etc. Go Glass! :)

I'm unhappy with Glass reporting images back to Google for facial recognition however. We've already got this problem with photos uploaded to facebook and G+ though, although glass makes the problem realtime.

There are already ad blocking tools for DD-WRT, which works on many routers.

Why not just block the specific domains used by devices that might engage in facial recognition based user tracking too? All photo upload facilities with Facebook, G+, and whatever Glass uses. Yes, folks might upload their facebook photos later, but that's no longer realtime. Just for fun you could block Apple's iOS related domains too.

At present, there are tricks like CV Dazzle that hide you from facial recognition, but they won't work long after many people start using them, and require too much work.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:09 AM on June 5, 2014


Talks of ECM aside, if someone approaches me wearing Glass, I'm breaking out the "I'm being interviewed by local TV" persona while talking to them. One of my friends want to hang out, if they're wearing Glass they get that persona, not the "hanging with friends" persona. So they'll have to decide if they want to use their cool device or have an actual, candid conversation with me.
posted by Harald74 at 1:26 AM on June 5, 2014


Blazecock: I don't think you read the Wikipedia link that I posted. Also, I had to look around your link to find references to video recording in public and finally found something about it:

I actually did read it, but it didn't say much about how commercial recordings (which is the kind of example I cited) are restricted beyond talking about getting permits and such, and so I pointed you to another more detailed overview, written by a legal group that appears to deal with this subject on a regular basis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 AM on June 5, 2014


The vast majority of people recording stuff with glass will not be releasing commercial recordings.
posted by empath at 1:43 AM on June 5, 2014


Did anyone watch Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror series? There was one episode called The Entire History of You. Google glass just seems like a prequel which is why I personally feel very unsettled by the device.
posted by like_neon at 1:48 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


"You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a machine that spies on you every hour of every day...."

posted by mikelieman at 1:55 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


How is this not a fuck you statement right out of the box? If you go this far out of your way to break my ability to communicate with the outside world, I don't think it's that far out of line for me to assume that a physical strike is coming and respond accordingly.

In the cold war of individuals, a decapitation strike is pretty damn messy
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:57 AM on June 5, 2014


Google Glass is totalitarian:

The default human form of organisation is feudal: power structures are fluid and made of personal relationships, and there are no rules, only traditions.

This changes with the introduction of the res publica, the public matter. Areas of life considered public gain specific rules that are clearer and stricter than the traditions of private matters. This introduces a distinction between public and private speech. Publishing some utterance, formally associating yourself with it, is now different from saying it in private.

For example, if I'm in my bedroom with my girlfriend and say to her "I really hate Bob and want to kill him", then that's, well, not nice, but clearly private speech. My girlfriend will be weirded out and tell me not to talk such nonsense, but that's about it. If on the other hand, I stand on a soapbox in the town square shouting the same thing, or write letters to newspapers detailing my murder plots, I'd expect to get a visit from the police!

Between the extremes of the bedroom and the soapbox, there is a de-facto grey area of semi-private speech: things said while in public but not to the public. If I am walking down the road with a friend and say something to them, that is not "public speech", even though I am in physically located "in public". If I'm at a party with friends and we're discussing some topic, we are not making public statements on that matter. (I recall an angry drunken night just after the UK phone hacking scandal broke where I definitely said some things I would not want to be on the record.)

This is important enough that it comes with a formal implementation, the Chatham House Rule. Participants of a meeting held under Chatham House Rule are allowed to reveal what was said at the meeting, but not who said it. This is extremely useful, for example, at government policy meetings, where public servants can talk to politicians much more freely.

Google Glass wants to destroy this all. It turns private speech outside the bedroom into public speech. Words said at a party, or walking down the street, become potentially public. Of course, people have always been able to quote others' private speech, but a recording turns an allegation into something more substantial. This changed calculus of risks causes self-censorship. I would never talk politics near a Glass, knowing that my statements can be easily recorded, published, framed, de-contextualised, and disseminated without my knowledge or consent.

A lot of ideas considered universally right these days were originally crazy, radical, dangerous — the sort of thing you could lose your job over. Enlightenment ideas of equality and democracy and rational thought were greatly accelerated by the appearance of coffee shops, exactly because these were semi-private places ideal for in-public private speech. Democracy, women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery — popularised through private speech in public.

Radical ideas cannot always take root in the open: the price to pay for speaking of them in public is too high — which is why freedom of association is so important to a functioning democracy, and why totalitarian regimes restrict it, isolating political opponents and preventing organised resistance. A totalitarian regime wants to make all aspects of human life public.

Private speech is at the foundation of liberty. Glass wants to turn all speech public. It is totalitarian. If you have any political beliefs you would be uncomfortable signing your name under but hope to realise one day, Google Glass is your enemy.
posted by Zarkonnen at 2:09 AM on June 5, 2014 [31 favorites]


The vast majority of people recording stuff with glass will not be releasing commercial recordings.

I guess I was referring to one specific objection that was made a while back, that's all. Maybe we're getting far afield. If the vast majority of people silently recording people with a Glass device won't be asking for their subjects' consent, then perhaps that is a larger social issue and Oliver's work will help push others to ask these kinds of questions.

Maybe animosity towards the Glass devices isn't about constantly sticking a camera in people's faces, maybe it's about something else. Personally, I think at least a part of the problem that non-Glass device users have is about an obvious lack of consent on the part of the recorded, but I'd bet the problems that use of a Glass device raises are serious and should lead to a discussion worth having and not dismissing.

For instance, I'm not sure it really helps to dismiss objections to Glass devices by bringing up camera cellphones. What a Glass device does when it is powered on is not a typical use case for a cellphone. Only antisocial people hold up cellphone cameras in strangers' faces, invading their space to record their actions without consent. It is odd behavior and usually socially unacceptable, whatever the local legal framework might be. It seems unusual to try to force the two use cases to be equivalent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Private speech is at the foundation of liberty. Glass wants to turn all speech public. It is totalitarian. If you have any political beliefs you would be uncomfortable signing your name under but hope to realise one day, Google Glass is your enemy.

It's probably also pretty shitty if you're a cop on the take.

Having stuff like glass out there can work both ways.
posted by empath at 2:27 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Bars will institute "no eyeglasses" policies

and they will be sued, successfully
posted by pyramid termite at 2:45 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon has been quite persuasive and made some very good points indeed; and has nearly gotten me to change my mind.

But I think I'm with empath: the state can surveil individuals almost anytime it wants, yet we're more concerned about individuals surveilling each other. We're already disclosing everything about ourselves and friends all the time anyway on the facetwitters and pintagrams....

In the end, normalizing recording authority figures is a greater good for society.
posted by digitalprimate at 2:50 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Having stuff like glass out there can work both ways.

Empath: Absolutely. Note that an on-duty cop is very very much part of res publica and should have no expectation of privacy. Quite the reverse, actually.

The worry I express isn't about surveillance, by the state or otherwise, it's about ubiquitous self-censorship killing the mechanisms of political progress.
posted by Zarkonnen at 3:00 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is short-sighted, but google glass doesn't seem that innovative or useful to me, so it is hard to see it as a threat or a game changer. Or maybe that's part of the plan: start with something so dorky and pointless that it doesn't seem threatening.
posted by snofoam at 3:12 AM on June 5, 2014


About the two-way street thing: shortly, the very first interaction police have with a Glass-wearer will be to remove the device or disable it.
posted by glasseyes at 3:30 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guarantee that the law where Jimbob lives says nothing about yielding the left lane

Sorry. That was very non-post-English-empire of me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:47 AM on June 5, 2014


"Sarah Connor?"

The military robots, the glass, android, the google fiber...
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:58 AM on June 5, 2014


Bars will institute "no eyeglasses" policies

and they will be sued, successfully


My latest aspiration is now a new bar in San Francisco: THE FARADAY CAGE. Booze inside of Faraday cages. What could go wrong?
posted by Slackermagee at 4:47 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


We should be doxing the fuck out of Glass wearers because come the panopticon these fanbois will be the stormtroopers for our new data hoarding, driverless car riding, military robot having overlords.
posted by fullerine at 4:50 AM on June 5, 2014


Prediction: Google Glass and devices like it will become normalized, although various social norms will develop, much like with cellphones and more recently Bluetooth earpieces (a.k.a. "douchetooths" to some).

Eventually, it will be the distribution of photos or recordings of someone without their knowledge or consent, not the recording, that generates social and perhaps even in extreme cases legal sanction.

It will be understood that everyone is basically recording each other all the time, but that friends don't upload or redistribute unflattering recordings (or recordings that could be used unflatteringly) of their friends. Someone who uploads a recording from a personal electronic device of someone without their consent will be viewed as creepy, in much the same way that someone today who regularly recorded all of their phone calls or walked around wearing a wire, and uploaded them to the Internet, would rapidly find themselves with few people to talk to.

Google Glass only makes explicit and obvious what is already the case. If you're running your mouth in front of someone you don't trust, you're in trouble today. Every modern cellphone can be turned into a very good voice recorder with the addition of a simple app; if someone wants to be creepy, they don't need Google Glass to do it. Non-creepy people don't do that, just like non-creepy people won't upload or share Google Glass recordings. (They won't by definition, because to do so will be "creepy".)

A lot of ideas considered universally right these days were originally crazy, radical, dangerous — the sort of thing you could lose your job over. Enlightenment ideas of equality and democracy and rational thought were greatly accelerated by the appearance of coffee shops, exactly because these were semi-private places ideal for in-public private speech.

In the sixteenth century, an urban coffee shop was a fine venue for controversial political speech, in large part because recording devices didn't exist and proving who said what was difficult. Today, a coffee shop would be a very stupid venue. If your radical meeting is held in person and open to the public, you should assume it's being recorded by your adversaries today. That public "semi-private" speech is already public and should be assumed to be on the record, all the time. That ship has sailed.

If you want a semi-public venue for controversial speech today, you need to do one of two things: (1) use some sort of technological anonymity or anti-recording measure, which is very hard and quickly becomes gangster-movie fodder (cellphone jammers, patting everyone down for wires, etc.) unless you do everything online/virtually; or (2) you restrict attendance at the meeting to only people you trust, i.e. ideological fellow-travelers or at least people who for other reasons can be trusted to maintain confidence (ranging from gentlemanly social convention to loss of future access).

In the case of #2, which has the benefit of not degenerating into an immediate and probably un-winnable technological arms race (jammers vs. spread-spectrum transmitters, tiny recorders, uncomfortable edge cases like what do you do with people with hearing aids, etc.), it doesn't matter whether everyone in the room is wearing Google Glass since you are already depending on their discretion. You could just say, "everyone please stop recording" and either they do or they don't, and if they don't, you've made a fatal error already because they're present. You're already hosed, because Google Glass is just one (really obvious) way they could be recording you.

Google Glass doesn't take away anything that we hadn't already lost. People who are going to do creepy shit with Google Glass already have lots of ways to be creepy. Political operatives working to undermine radicals already have ample recording technology. Technologies like Glass might create some interesting opportunities for reverse-surveillance, though, in contrast to what today is basically a one-way street.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:53 AM on June 5, 2014 [20 favorites]


Let the arms race begin.

The arms race is old news - - we've entering the era of the face race.
posted by fairmettle at 5:22 AM on June 5, 2014


emptythought This is totally fraught with issues of harassment/cyberbullying/etc that disproportionately effect people in groups already prone to that type of harassment.

I often think this would also stop a great deal of harassment. A woman wearing these would be less likely to be harassed by some sleaseball on the street, in the bus or at the supermarket if the harasser in question was not sure if his actions were being recorded. General creepers, flashers, gropers, dirty talkers and public masturbators are much easier to convict if evidence of their crime is automatically backed up to Google+ image storage.

Fake Glass could be as effective as a deterrent as the fake CCTV cameras and burglar alarm boxes on residential properties.
posted by guy72277 at 5:23 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Upset the established order, and everyone loses their minds. - The Joker
posted by blue_beetle at 5:24 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


What makes me giggle about glass is that it's not going to be adopted by everyday users in any kind of quantity. 3D printing at home will be A Thing before Glass ever is. Glass is an industrial tool for inventory tracking (instantly translates barcode/QR code into english) and manufacturing/maintenace (that highlighted part attaches to the other highlighted part and here's an animated .gif on how that works) and law enforcement (STOP RESISTING my club in your face while handcuffed! Ooops, should I not have done that? Was that bad?)

Glass in a non-workday context makes you look like a dork and makes other people think you're spying on them. Non-starter as the Next Big Thing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:28 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I-ball, it comes across to me that you like Google Glass, so you're reading at cross-purposes to what people are saying here. "

I don't actually like Google Glass. I've tried it and, to me, it seems to fail at what it is supposed to be: a smartphone. You can't see the screen that well if you're nearsighted because it's focused to infinity, the battery sucks, the speaker system isn't as groundbreaking as it's not too good (bone-induction.)

However what the Google Glass is not is a recording device. Yes, it has a camera but that doesn't automatically mean recording device. People in this thread don't seem to actually know what the Google Glass is or supposed to be. They think that it's a new camera and that's all they're focused about. They claim that it's different than a cell phone because you can't coverlty record people with a cell phone but you easily can. The only difference between the Google Glass and smartphones is that one is strapped to your head and one isn't.

"Oh, but if it's strapped to your head then I won't know if you're recording me"

Well, you don't already know if I'm recording you with my smartphone or with my glasses or with my watch or with my pen. You're paranoid about Google Glass because it's like wearing a sign that reminds you that you might be recorded by cameras.

I posted a link before to the wikipedia article on sousveillance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousveillance

People seem to be ignoring surveillance, attacking sousveillance, and also attacking the Google Glass which is not actually a device built for one or the other. Nobody who will want to secretly record will use the Google Glass. It stands out (and is not good for long and secret recordings). If you're going to compain about it then you might as well complain about people walking around with cameras hanging from their neck because you can't tell if they're on or not. And you might as well complain about every security camera and cell phone user whose camera looks like it may be pointed at you. People need to educate themselves about what the Google Glass is if they're so afraid of it and also they should read up on surveillance and sousveillance.
posted by I-baLL at 5:46 AM on June 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


If (as mentioned upthread) the Glass has an indicator light (visible to the public) when it is being used. Then you will always know when you *Could* be recorded There will never be a time where you are being secretly recorded because you will see the indicator. It IS possible the light will be on and you are NOT being recorded, but you could never be recorded without knowing it.

Is that an honest read of how it works?
posted by Twain Device at 5:51 AM on June 5, 2014


"Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society. They are a boon to Hiro because they embody the worst stereotype of the CIC stringer. They draw all the attention. The payoff for this self-imposed ostracism is that you can be in the Metaverse all the time, and gather intelligence all the time."

And in Snow Crash the gargoyle was taken out by the application of glass to his googlies.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:52 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pretty much the only difference between Google Glass and a cell phone is the AR display. They're less covert than cell phones in terms of recording people, at least right now. Someone holding a cell phone at chest level is common-place, while Google Glass is highly visible.
posted by demiurge at 5:55 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel like people in general don't really understand how boring Glass is. If you read any of the developer documentation about Glass it becomes clear that the device is almost entirely about showing status updates. It's basically just an always visible version of the notifications you get on your Android phone that you have a new email or there's some update to an app that you have. It's not a powerful enough device on its own to do most of the things people who haven't used it assume you will be able to do with it, including recording video for long periods of time. In terms of what people are actually going to be able to use it for, it shouldn't be any more exciting or controversial than the Android watches that have been coming out, because they all do basically the same thing (allow you to get updates from your phone without having to take your phone out of your pocket).
posted by burnmp3s at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you don't want to be photographed you could always wear an attractive infrared light necklace.

I was a nerd before it became legitimized by venture capital money, and Google glass still makes me queasy. It's like we're surrendering something--you can feel it disappearing--even if you can't quite articulate what it is. The terrible thing about all the obvious and heavy-handed Skynet jokes is that they encourage us to dismiss that queasiness instead of figuring out how to articulate what is happening.

I love what Clockzero wrote about the Google car, how this is part of a larger project that renders the world legible, or machine-readable, and always in a state of being readby something not-human. We're being converted to data, at an unprecedented velocity. We're particles, and once the system knows our speed and direction, at all times, we will have irretrievably lost something important. It's like our possible subjectivities are imploding.
posted by mecran01 at 6:01 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wearing Google Glass right now is a class statement.
What color is your crash helmet?
Seven years from now you'll pick up the same type of device from Wal-Mart for 79.95.
Just about everyone will wear them.

I guess you can stomp the early adopters. But why bother?
posted by Pudhoho at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, I've actually only ever seen three people wearing Google Glass ever and I live and work in a huge city. Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Twain Device - Glass has an indicator light when it is being used. Is that an honest read of how it works?

I think that's an honest reading of how non-rooted and hacked Glass works. I think Samsung phones have/had a root level shutter sound on their phones to make public creepshots more difficult to take. Such things are totally turn-off-able though if you're tech-minded.
posted by guy72277 at 6:19 AM on June 5, 2014


It IS possible the light will be on and you are NOT being recorded, but you could never be recorded without knowing it.

Five seconds with a hot soldering iron would take care of the indicator light. And that's the brutal, inelegant way of doing it, only really necessary if the light is connected to the camera in hardware. Again: creepers gonna creep. You can't depend on technology to solve this issue, all you're doing is giving yourself a false sense of security and non-surveillance.

And yeah, Google Glass in its current incarnation is pretty boring and really not even that good as a surveillance device. People seem to be more up in arms about some sort of hypothetical device, which could be built using the same technologies as Glass, than Glass itself. It's not nearly as interesting as its detractors imagine it to be.

Something like this or this are probably more in line with what people are actually afraid of, and neither are made by Google -- and neither (particularly the second one) are going to be stopped by a "No Google Glass" rule at your club/orgy/rally/cabal. The discussion needs to be about more than a particular Google product.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:28 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lots of people talking about how the public are ok with people having CCTV, cell phones out and cameras around necks so why not glass. I think it all comes down to "angle".

I imagine you'd get some static for holding your smartphone camera at an angle that points at someone's face - texters could be accused of photographing people's feet, I guess cameras pointed at feet aren't really an issue. Glass on the other hand is always pointed at peoples faces.

It's not a general aversion to having one's image being caught on camera, it's a "GET THAT CAMERA OUTTA MY FACE!" type reaction.
posted by guy72277 at 6:30 AM on June 5, 2014


You have the right to capture my image, but it might be a really bad idea to do so.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:39 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


From TFA:
He sees it as no different from cell phone jammers, which have been adopted in many schools, libraries, and government buildings.
He's wrong, at least as regards the US:
We remind and warn consumers that it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi. Despite some marketers’ claims, consumers cannot legally use jammers within the United States, nor can retailers lawfully sell them.
I assume that the FCC would be similarly antipathetic to this software exploit.

I wonder if Google Glass is the Segway of this period. I think I've seen like two of those, ever.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:44 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


My beef with Google Glass isn't the people who wear it - even the intellectual fireballs who record when it's not socially acceptable and publish it to whatever social media they use.

My problem with it is that no matter how the information is used, it exists. If the past several months have taught us anything, it is that if information exists it will be stored and used.

Information is power, and the interesting thing (to me) is Google Glass promises to make that power available to you while simultaneously deriving even more power in aggregate from the users.
posted by Mooski at 6:46 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


At my son's graduation I took a picture of a girl's amazing sequinned high heels, then it struck me later that I was taking pictures of the feet of under age high school girls and I felt dirty.

One man's creepshot is another's magazine cover.
posted by mecran01 at 6:48 AM on June 5, 2014


Ugh, fucking Google Glass. I like how people are all "but smartphones are incredibly invasive, pervasive, and creepy too, so...who cares!" Well, I dislike smartphones as well and have never had one. I prefer people not point their smartphones at my face and in general they do not.

I will continue my resistance movement that I call Casting Mad Shade at People Wearing Google Glass. If you're going to have a picture/video of me, at least I can look pissed off in it.
posted by threeants at 6:50 AM on June 5, 2014


If google glass was sold without a camera, the device could fit in the position of a hearing aid, it would be far less controversial and could even be "frame agnostic". Veritable hot cakes, I tell ya.

Give it an adapter to connect a dorky, corporate/industrial use camera device for barcode scanning etc, and Google might be on to a winner.

Personally, I'd love it if it could do real-life ad-block for hoarding and logos, taking away brain-write permission from advertisers.
posted by guy72277 at 6:53 AM on June 5, 2014


The Segway was touted as a revolutionary consumer device. As usual, the media hype machine was full of shit as always.
However, Seqways have proved their worth with meter readers, parking enforcers, etc...
No doubt Glass will fill a need and do it well.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:54 AM on June 5, 2014


Also, the most reliable countermeasure is a tire iron.
Do you really want to deploy that?
I think not.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:57 AM on June 5, 2014


It's really fun to read the thread and imagine people are arguing about Ira Glass.

The way they go around and around, tho, makes them sound like Philip Glass.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:00 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


All of these threats of violence against Glass users are really inappropriate. Now quit blocking the Google Bus so I can get to work!
posted by fraxil at 7:04 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


anemone of the state: "People hate your Google Glass because you are pointing a camera at them and they can't tell if it's on"

So far, I seem to see people hating Google Glass because they don't have it yet.
posted by chavenet at 7:04 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The only person I have seen using Google Glass was furiously poking at an iPhone. I really should have taken a photo, shouldn't I!
posted by asok at 7:08 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


So a month ago I read Dave Eggers' The Circle, and while I quite enjoyed it as a nasty little tale, I found the whole thing ridiculously unlikely. It seemed to me that the panopticon-supported social media dystopia in the book could only have been achieved if almost everyone in the book was not just horrifically myopic but also a terrific, awful dickhead. Impossible, I thought.

Having read this thread, I'm suddenly much less sure...
posted by ominous_paws at 7:47 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The weaponization has only just begun.
posted by corb at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2014


...almost everyone in the book was not just horrifically myopic but also a terrific, awful dickhead. Impossible, I thought.

Ever drive in rush hour traffic?
posted by Pudhoho at 8:01 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


So far, I seem to see people hating Google Glass because they don't have it yet.

Maybe if you pushed that stupid little screen out of your way, you'd see that nobody anywhere is doing that at all.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:24 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hoping hooded cloaks and masks come back in style as a result of Glass.

I have bought myself some of those ridiculously large Gucci knockoff sunglasses that I wear places now. They are apparently very good at defeating facial recognition software.

It's ridiculous that I feel obligated to wear enormous sunglasses if I want to go to the grocery store in yoga pants and damp hair so that freaks can't take pictures of me and upload to the internet with my name attached without my consent, but I guess that is the world we are living in now.
posted by winna at 8:47 AM on June 5, 2014


And no, it's not that I think I'm that interesting. It's that I can't tell whether or not someone else would think it funny and then I'd have that floating around on the internet forever with no way to take it down. It's probably easier to avoid the Streisand Effect if you don't have something to Streisand Effect in the first place.
posted by winna at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2014


Oh ho ho. Back in 1998 I had an extra job conducting telephone surveys. I was paid a dollar above minimum wage plus a bonus for completing X numbers of surveys.
I made out really well because I developed the right 'bedside manner' and I knew from the git-go it was a numbers game. I worked the lists. I always kept moving.

Of course my coworkers and I traded tales in the break room of our worst experiences.
We wanted to inflict revenge upon these uncooperative people who deprived us of our bonuses.
In one flight of fancy, I portrayed a time, in the near future, where all of the post cold war satellites were owned by corporations, and the entire earth was mapped down to individual addresses.
I suggested that in my future we would be able to tie a phone number to an address and launch cruise missiles to destroy the rudest people.
Most of my coworkers were adamant that my future would never occur.

Who's laughing now?
posted by Pudhoho at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2014


I can't tell if the person looking at their phone at the table opposite mine at the coffeeshop is taking a photo or reading their email. I'M LIVING IN A DYSTOPIAN HELL!!!I'M LIVING IN A DYSTOPIAN HELL!!!

Not hell yet, maybe, but post-Snowden you can't credibly argue this isn't dystopian.

For me, Glass broke a psychological barrier where I realized I *should* have been thinking the same thing about phones all along, but for some reason didn't until the camera was pointing right at me, at eye level, during entire conversations.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:02 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Really, Glass is just a prosumer version of devices the military has already deployed.
And anyone with some smarts and that 50's Popular Mechanics DIY mind is already able to build military-capable drones, cruise missiles, etc in their home workshops.

So, really...
posted by Pudhoho at 9:14 AM on June 5, 2014


If Glass needs to connect to the web to use facial recognition, you could defeat that part of it with this jammer hack, which seems potentially useful to me. I mean, they could connect to the web and know who you are later, but unless they're getting data about who's around them RIGHT THEN they can't gather more or follow/harass you based on that info.
posted by NoraReed at 9:18 AM on June 5, 2014


I suggested that in my future we would be able to tie a phone number to an address and launch cruise missiles to destroy the rudest people.

You know reverse-lookup phonebooks have pretty much always existed, yes?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on June 5, 2014


You know reverse-lookup phonebooks have pretty much always existed, yes?

Of course we did. But they were paper.
I suggested a future where all of that information was stored in a database we could access.

Heh, don't move. I can hit you both from here.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2014


a new bar in San Francisco: THE FARADAY CAGE

I think you'd get a ton of business. No wifi, no LTE, no net connection at all. Anyone pulling out a phone, tablet, or laptop inside would get ejected by a giant, luddite bouncer named Hank.

A primitive desert island of sorts, cut off from the matrix as much as you can be these days, but one which would serve scotch.

Almost a paradise.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:13 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


We should be doxing the fuck out of Glass wearers because come the panopticon these fanbois will be the stormtroopers for our new data hoarding, driverless car riding, military robot having overlords.

Rants the guy, standing on a street corner in London...
posted by happyroach at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2014


ryanshepard: It's not just cellphones. Let me raise your paranoia by three more doritos:

http://gawker.com/5934302/everything-you-need-to-know-about-trapwire-the-surveillance-system-everyone-is-freaking-out-about
posted by I-baLL at 10:59 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not just cellphones. Let me raise your paranoia by three more doritos.

I realized immediately after I typed that I should have said "every networked device".
posted by ryanshepard at 11:02 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I figured. Your post just reminded me of Trapwire so I decided to post that and say "three more doritos". There, I said it again.

Oh, also, honestcoyote, in William Gibson's novel "Neuromancer", the character, The Finn, sold that exact same service at a premium rate per minute.
posted by I-baLL at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I figured. Your post just reminded me of Trapwire so I decided to post that and say "three more doritos".

That's the interesting thing about Glass for me - I'm aware of various kinds of intelligence / law enforcement surveillance devices and live in a city blanketed with cameras, ShotSpotter, Stingrays, etc., but for some reason *this* was the point where my mind said "enough".

It might be personal, but I suspect I'm not the only one able to relegate the rest to a kind of low-level background feeling of dread, or to ignore altogether. Having a camera shoved in your face by a stranger, though? That poked me right in the reptile brain.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pudhoho:

"I suggested a future where all of that information was stored in a database we could access."

Reverse lookup databases have been online for years. You can even buy the databases.

There was a really good talk at one of the HOPE conferences by Steve Rambam about all of this stuff.
posted by I-baLL at 11:51 AM on June 5, 2014


Since glasses that can secretly take photos and video have already been widely available for years, and others have posted links to several examples already, I'd think the only reasonable objection would be the sharing of the data with Google. So does Google Glass always send photos and video to Google, or is it stored locally?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:13 PM on June 5, 2014


It's stored locally. It's literally the same as taking a photo with a smartphone. If I remember correctly, it actually needs a smartphone to do most of its functions.
posted by I-baLL at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2014


I think Kadin2048 pretty much had it right. I'm not unsympathetic to the dislike, especially since at least some of the early adopters appear to be the worst sort of techie asshole, such as the person who had her friends Yelp-bomb a restaurant for asking her to take them off, but the fact is, this is technology that already exists, just with less famous branding. And more of it is going to exist, because barring the apocalypse, tiny cameras are only going to get better, storage is only going to get more compact, and wireless more ubiquitous. You'd be better off trying to figure out the right etiquette for it than fantasizing about smashing people's faces for daring to wear what they want.

And I do sense a touch of entitlement in the inability to realize that recording all public encounters is likely to be a *life-saving device* for some classes of people. Both in requiring cops to do it, and in allowing civilians to do it. Gun law has been changed in large parts of the US to allow murder of black men without consequence, because everyone 'knows' that black men are scary. Some of those murderers may hesitate if they know there is a witness that they can't kill and that is difficult to smear.
posted by tavella at 1:24 PM on June 5, 2014


So does Google Glass always send photos and video to Google, or is it stored locally?

Both.

Via EPIC:

Glass does not just allow the wearer to record and observe other people, but Google as well. All of the data captured by Glass, including photos, videos, audio, location data, and other sensitive personal information, is stored on Google's cloud servers. Google will possess the data and may analyze it to develop profiles of individuals. Google currently scans the contents of emails of its Gmail users in order to target advertising, so it is foreseeable that it could do the same with Glass data. [emph. added]

Via Google:

Storage - 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total. [emph. added]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on June 5, 2014


My latest aspiration is now a new bar in San Francisco: THE FARADAY CAGE. Booze inside of Faraday cages. What could go wrong?

In seattle there at least used to be a bar or two and several DIY venues where you are never going to get a signal because it's in a bunker of a basement with no windows or whatever. To the point that the Thinking (Wo)man would power off their phone as soon as they got down the stairs so their batteries wouldn't just run dry. The owners/operators saw this as a feature, not a bug.

I can imagine that sort of place gaining popularity.

It will be understood that everyone is basically recording each other all the time, but that friends don't upload or redistribute unflattering recordings (or recordings that could be used unflatteringly) of their friends.

What i'm confused about is, does that make me and the other people uncomfortable with the first part like, curmudgeonly backwards grandpas or something? Because I don't want to have to depend on trusting other people to not be uploading recordings of me(or my friends, or whatever). I want to know definitively, to at least the relative degree that i can today, that they are or are not recording.

People are fucking assholes. There's a very small few people i pretty much implicitly trust, a slightly larger group of people i mostly trust, and a whole lot of assholes who i wouldn't really trust to not record something fucked up and post it as a "joke" or whatever.

My problem with it is that no matter how the information is used, it exists. If the past several months have taught us anything, it is that if information exists it will be stored and used.

This is pretty much exactly my issue. So i trust the person recording all the time not to upload it. Do i trust every single person who has access to his hardware or credentials? What if he leaves his universal google account logged in on a "friend"/paramour/whatevers machine and they decide to go poking around and find a funny video of me/a friend and forward it to a bunch of people or upload it?

That kind of constant recording just ruins me having any choice in how things of me are shared. As it is, this is already somewhat true. But at least i'm generally, the majority of the time, aware that this data is being created.
posted by emptythought at 2:03 PM on June 5, 2014


adipocere: "It isn't just that it's a camera, it's a camera that can upload everything it sees to the world's most data-hungry corporation. "

All cameras can do this.

Blazecock Pileon: "As another trivial example, holding up a cellphone camera in a coffee shop, which is pointed at customers without their permission, is behavior that is socially proscribed, if not very unusual to the point that the cellphone user will likely be asked to leave the space by the shop owner — who will be within her legal rights to do.
"

Do people flip their shit when people open their laptops in a coffee shop? Because they all have cameras that could be recording the whole time the machine is open.

Zarkonnen: "For example, if I'm in my bedroom with my girlfriend and say to her "I really hate Bob and want to kill him", then that's, well, not nice, but clearly private speech. My girlfriend will be weirded out and tell me not to talk such nonsense, but that's about it. If on the other hand, I stand on a soapbox in the town square shouting the same thing, or write letters to newspapers detailing my murder plots, I'd expect to get a visit from the police! "

Or your girlfriend publishes a recording or your private conversation and you are forced to sell your local sports team for $2 billion dollars. This ship has sailed so long ago you can't see it over the horizon.
posted by Mitheral at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Douglas Rushkoff: Punching Nerds in the Face is Never a Good Thing - "Are technology companies such as Google shouldering the blame for too much? It seems as if they are bearing responsibility not only for people's fears about the future of technology but the excesses of corporate capitalism."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:46 PM on June 5, 2014


Because they all have cameras that could be recording the whole time the machine is open.

I haven't used a Windows laptop or Chromebook in some time, but every Apple laptop with a camera that I've seen and used — whether the green LED next to the lens works, or not — has the lens pointed straight at the end user (except maybe a couple that used those barrel-shaped iSight cameras with PowerBook G4 around 2001 or so). So if my laptop's camera is surreptitiously recording anyone, most of it will be me and my ugly mug. (Hi, NSA!) I'll bet most of the other laptops out there have cameras with a similar installation profile.

Further, as my laptop's storage isn't synced to Google's cloud drive (or Apple's iCloud, or Amazon's S3, or Microsoft's Azure, etc.), unless my laptop has been hacked, any geotagged video footage of my face and surroundings is likely not in the hands of some corporate entity to do data mining, facial recognition, etc. on without consent, to decide without consent what ads to broadcast at myself or others, or what products to push without consent when I or others at the same physical location eventually go online shopping, and so forth.

And let's face it: it probably isn't "sousveillance" if there's some corporate entity that owns or otherwise automatically gets a bit-level copy of the footage your "sousveillance" device captured, as appears to happen with the Glass device (at least, based on Google's own technical specifications sheet for its Glass device).

Maybe we can flip our collective shit over our laptops being part of the panopticon when they have periscope mirror attachments built-in and ready to turn onto an unsuspecting public. Until then, anyone opening their laptop in a coffee shop, clicking a few buttons and manually turning it around to forceably point the camera lens at an open crowd will be looked at like the Eric Schmidt-like creepazoid weirdo that they are, and they will likely and thankfully be removed from the facility as soon as someone speaks up to a manager.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:33 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


elsp: "why is it worse when individuals record us?"

Because it takes power formerly hidden deep within the bowels of governments and faceless corporations like Axciom and its many competitors and makes it visible and (at least in theory) available to all.

Do you really think the Alice Waltons of the world want to have their every move tracked and available in some public database? Yours is, and has been for some years now, just not in public. I don't like ubiquitous recording on the part of corporations, governments, or loose (non-)associations of people. However, given that the first two exist, I am forced to be supportive of the idea of the third.

Instead, people will continue to project their unease with the first two onto the third because it represents an opportunity to "win" a battle in the war against ubiquitous surveillance. Never mind that it's not actually a win for anybody but the people who already have access to the fruits of the technology, it feels like a win.
posted by wierdo at 8:14 PM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "I haven't used a Windows laptop or Chromebook in some time, but every Apple laptop with a camera that I've seen and used — whether the green LED next to the lens works, or not — has the lens pointed straight at the end user (except maybe a couple that used those barrel-shaped iSight cameras with PowerBook G4 around 2001 or so). So if my laptop's camera is surreptitiously recording anyone, most of it will be me and my ugly mug. (Hi, NSA!) I'll bet most of the other laptops out there have cameras with a similar installation profile. "

Laptops exist with rear facing cameras, mostly of the hybrid laptop/tablet variety (and of course lots of people use iPads and other tablets with external keyboards as hybrid devices and practically all of them have rear facing cameras). And someone who is wanting to record people wouldn't have to angle a front facing camera laptop much to record the people behind them.

Anyhoo it was just another example of how people who want to can already record their environment in a very public way without anyone saying anything at all.
posted by Mitheral at 8:57 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you really think the Alice Waltons of the world want to have their every move tracked and available in some public database?

That's an interesting thought, considering the hate is being pushed heavily by Gawker which I view as a big ol' plutocrat false flag operation.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2014


Until then, anyone opening their laptop in a coffee shop, clicking a few buttons and manually turning it around to forceably point the camera lens at an open crowd will be looked at like the Eric Schmidt-like creepazoid weirdo that they are, and they will likely and thankfully be removed from the facility as soon as someone speaks up to a manager.

I think you are vastly overestimating how much people care. I suspect that I could blatantly pull out my cellphone and film people in a coffeeshop and nobody would really even notice, let alone complain to the manager. If I saw someone else waving their cellphone around, if I even registered the event as being remotely noteworthy, I would probably assume they were taking pictures of the decor rather than of me. If I saw somebody put their laptop into filming mode and turn it around, my assumption would probably be that they needed background footage of a crowd for some project, not that they were some "Eric-Shmidt-like creepazoid" out to violate my coffee-shop privacy bubble.
posted by Pyry at 10:48 PM on June 5, 2014


Maybe we can flip our collective shit over our laptops being part of the panopticon when they have periscope mirror attachments built-in and ready to turn onto an unsuspecting public.

Every single person holding an iPad, smartphone or other tablet up in front of them and looking at the screen could be recording--by video of still photography--whatever the back of that device is pointed at. And I don't mean "holding it up at arms length pointed conspicuously towards you"--I mean sitting at the table holding it in front of their faces apparently absorbed in reading whatever is on the screen. That has been true for, quite literally, years. Go into a crowded coffee shop some time. You will see numerous devices pointed at you which could be capturing your image and uploading it at almost every moment. That is a firmly established part of modern life. Unless you're a hermit, you already know what it is like to live in a world where you might be being recorded at almost any time in any public space--and you've known what that is like for years.

And yet for some bizarre reason what makes you and so many others lose their rag is the someone bolting a camera to their eyeglass frames.
posted by yoink at 6:42 AM on June 6, 2014


bolting a camera to their eyeglass frames.

It's the eyes. David Brin likes to characterize sousveillance, 'looking back,' as the solution for surveillance by secretive organizations. Peter Watts responded by reminding us what happens when you lock eyes with the 800 lb gorilla.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:57 AM on June 6, 2014


It's the eyes.

I don't understand the point you're making, but it's worth pointing out, a propos of "it's the eyes," that human gaze is something we're fantastically sensitive to. So people who think that somehow Glass allows for far more surreptitious recording than already available technologies are really not thinking it through. We're far more likely to notice someone keeping their gaze firmly locked in our direction than we are to notice someone pointing the back of their iPhone at us (which they can do independently of where they're looking). If I wanted to take photos of someone in a public place without them becoming aware of it, the last piece of technology I'd reach for is Google Glass, where I have to constantly draw attention to myself as being actively interested in that person in order to capture their image.
posted by yoink at 9:14 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sousveillance seems a strange term, and uniquely inapplicable when the eavesdropping device in question is constructed in such a way as to continually send its data capture results to the advertising company that made it. I suppose that it's odd, too, that a proposed answer to surveillance is more surveillance, but the choice of terminology is interesting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:58 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not really that odd. It's not any different than the myriad things we wish were different but know will not change. We're not going to get people out of their cars, so we build self driving cars. We're not going to get businesses to give up their surveillance systems, so we need to build our own.
posted by wierdo at 6:30 PM on June 6, 2014




Sousveillance seems a strange term, and uniquely inapplicable when the eavesdropping device in question is constructed in such a way as to continually send its data capture results to the advertising company that made it.

Only if you turn on Auto-Backup on. Why is this a problem when Google does this? Your iPhones are already sending all of your photos to Apple by default if you have iCloud enabled and you can set it up to backup your videos too. Hmm, I wonder how many people are aware of that.
posted by I-baLL at 11:14 PM on June 10, 2014


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