Google has said to users of its intrusive recording spectacle product, Google Glass, that they need to avoid being a “Glasshole” by not respecting other people. In a page of ‘dos and don’ts’ for Glass users, the company studiously ignores mentioning the word ‘privacy’. Yet its advice clearly is, in part, a reaction to concerns about Google Glass being used to illicitly record other people in breach of their right to privacy.
The advice includes amongst its ‘Dos’ :
Ask for permission. Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends (see Don’ts #4). The Glass camera function is no different from a cell phone so behave as you would with your phone and ask permission before taking photos or videos of others.
And the ‘Don’ts:
Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.
It is deeply ironic that Google should warn consumers not to breach ordinary folk’s right to privacy in this way, when the company has been accused of serial breaches of consumer privacy.
In its guidance for Google Glass users, Google tells users to “respect others”. Perhaps it’s time for Google itself to stop being a Glasshole and to heed the advice it seems keen to share with others. We particularly like the ‘do’ – ASK FOR PERMISSION. Not a bad idea really.