Will Google Glass Usher in Real Life Robo Cops?


Robocop photo credit Sony Pictures

The law enforcement applications for Google Glass are potentially huge, according to VentureBeat.

“Google Glass could help match suspects’ names and faces to information contained in various databases that police and federal law enforcement agencies use, such as those from the National Crime Information Center. That would give investigators a handy way to see a suspect’s rap sheet while interviewing them, for instance. It could also help eliminate the time-consuming, hand-written or typed reports that are the bane of cops the world over by enabling video recording and dictation for digital reports.”

App developers already are working on “Glassware” that could be useful for police officers, firefighters and EMT workers.

Gizmodo’s Adam Clark Estes writes:

“Mutualink, a company that makes equipment for everyone from NATO peacekeeping troops to local police forces, just revealed that app at APCO, a conference for public safety communications. Mutualink provided a few examples of how the app could be used in a press release:

  • Firemen reviewing the schematic of a building before entering and while navigating a burning structure.
  • EMTs triaging patients at the scene of an accident with current medical records of victims.
  • Police being able to watch video feed from school security cameras in real-time during an active shooter scenario.”

Besides its public safety applications there is no doubt that Google Glass has the potential to enhance how we interact with the world. But what does this mean for privacy?

Social media innovator Jure Klepic wrote in the Huffington Post last year:

“Even in preliminary testing phases, Google Glass has opened a Pandora’s Box of legal concerns. If it does become the next big thing in wearable technology, what are the ramifications for intellectual property and personal privacy when somebody can secretly film or take a picture of you with, literally, the wink of an eye?”

Chief among these legal questions is if the technology will violate the “reasonable expectation of privacy” doctrine, which was designed to protect people from being photographed in certain places after the introduction of the original Kodak cameras in the late 19th century.

Technology lawyers Gabriel Meister and Benjamin Han write:

“Needless to say, Glass is made of more advanced technology than the original Kodak cameras, and this new technology raises a whole new set of potential concerns. In particular, (1) taking a photograph with a traditional camera is typically more noticeable to subjects and onlookers alike than taking a photograph with a “wearable” device like Glass, and (2) the Bluetooth connection between Glass and its user’s smartphone allows the possibility of real-time facial recognition.”

“In part due to these concerns, on May 16, 2013, a bipartisan caucus of congressmen sent Google an inquiry regarding a variety of privacy matters. In response to that inquiry, Google announced on June 3, 2013, that it would not allow applications with facial recognition on Google Glass.”

About Charley Moore

Charley is the Publisher of Article 3, as well as Founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer Incorporated. Prior to founding Rocket Lawyer, Charley advised early stage companies, large enterprises and their investors on strategic partnering and corporate development strategy. Charley has been at the forefront of Internet corporate development since beginning his career as an attorney at Venture Law Group in Menlo Park, California in 1996. He represented Yahoo! (IPO), WebTV Networks (acquired by Microsoft) and Cerent Corporation (acquired by Cisco Systems) at critical early stages of their success and was the founder of Onstation Corporation. Charley graduated from the United States Naval Academy (BS), San Francisco State University (MS) and the University of California at Berkeley (Juris Doctorate). He served as a U.S. Naval officer and is a Gulf War veteran.
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