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Google Glass: From distracted driving issues to privacy concerns, is Google Glass ready to go mainstream?

by  on  Accident Attorney

In October 2013, a woman in California wearing Google Glass became the first person to be pulled over for speeding and then issued an additional citation for wearing the headgear. The officer who issued the citation applied a law aimed at distracted driving which prohibits driving while watching television. The citation against Google Glass was eventually dismissed due to a common problem with applying old laws to new technology: lack of proof. There was no proof that the Google Glass was operating at the time that the driver was pulled over, and if it was operating as a television rather than a navigational device similar to a GPS, which is legal. 

As lawmakers struggle to keep up with advances in technology, and law enforcement apply laws meant for previous uses of technology to new uses (think calls to texting on cell phones), knowing when someone can be pulled over for what offense and having proof of that offense becomes much more difficult. Google is getting out in front of any proposed regulations of Google Glass, insisting that the headgear is no more distracting than a Bluetooth device, and can be a very helpful navigational tool. In Illinois, Delaware, West Virginia, Missouri, New York, and Maryland–6 states considering regulating Google Glass–Google is lobbying aggressively to keep Google Glass unrestricted. Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney notes that as of the date of this blog, no state has passed any restriction or regulation specific to Google Glass. However, distracted driving laws can still apply if it can be shown that the Google Glass was a distraction.

Another concern with Google Glass that some business owners who cater to the public are saying requires regulation has to do with privacy rights: restaurant and bar owners, as well as movie theatre owners, do not want customers wearing the device because other customers complain about being filmed, or watched. In one San Francisco, California, bar, patrons became so upset when one Silicon Valley employee was demonstrating her Google Glass, that she was assaulted. The locals thought they were being filmed and resented the intrusion of the Silicon Valley “techy” into their privacy. Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney believes that some of the animosity that erupted between the bar patrons and the Silicon Valley employee is evidence of the tension about the perceived gentrification of the area due to the huge influx of workers to Google, Microsoft, and other software companies. The price of Google Glass–$1,500–adds to the idea that techies and their money are taking over the Bay Area, and taking it away from the people who made it what it is today.

But is Google Glass any more invasive of people’s privacy than cell phones? Didn’t we already have this debate when we went from laptops to computers held in our hands–our smartphones? Don’t people film everything with their phones?? What about the recent controversy about “up-skirting?” People were filming and/or taking pictures under women’s skirts with their cell phones; how much more invasive can you be in public with a common piece of technology? 

Clearly modern technology can always be used in ways that sacrifice some of our privacy, and sometimes we make that sacrifice willingly. For the times that we do not, seeking redress through personal legal representation can help to compensate us for what we have lost. Contact your Denver Personal Injury Attorney at Levine Law if you have had some issues with distracted driving laws or personal privacy concerns.