Google Glass raises public privacy concerns


Google's wearable computer, known as glass, became available Tuesday to anyone willing to pay $1,500 per device.

It's not clear how many people took advantage of Google's one-day online sale, but one consumer group is hoping the sales stop.

Jamie Court is president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit based in Santa Monica. He says the camera in Google's Glass raises serious privacy concerns.

"This isn't a computer, this is spyware," said Court. "There is no way that a typical American would know that they are being recorded."

Consumer Watchdog says it's concerned primarily about how easy it is to videotape someone without their consent. Someone could walk into a public restroom, for example, with the camera rolling, or videotape someone using an ATM.

At a news conference Tuesday, Court demonstrated how someone would be able to capture someone's pin at an ATM.

Consumer Watchdog also wants users to know that Google tracks and stores information captured on the tiny device.

Still, fans of the technology say they aren't overly concerned about privacy.

Google calls people who wear these things "Glass Explorers," and the technology giant has always urged users to respect others and to use basic cell phone etiquette when using Glass.

In a statement released Tuesday, a Google spokesman said: "New technology always raises new issues. Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology."

The watchdogs at Consumer Watchdog don't plan to take legal action against Google. They say they simply want users and the public to know that there is more to Glass than meets the eye.

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