Consumer Watchdog Welcomes Death Of Google Glass, Says Internet Giant Should Not Offer “Glass 2.0” Until Privacy Issues Are Solved

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today welcomed Google’s announcement that it would stop selling Google Glass, its privacy invasive wearable computing device and said the Internet giant should not offer a new version until privacy issues are solved.

“Google Glass may have appealed to a bunch of socially clueless ‘Glassholes’ who were oblivious to our privacy rights, but the device fulfilled no real consumer need,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “I’m only surprised it took them so long to kill the program as we know it.”

Last April the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group issued a report that found Glass inappropriate for the broad consumer market and urged consumers not to buy the device. Read the Consumer Watchdog’s Glass report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/goolgeglassreport041414.pdf

Noting that Google said the company still hopes to offer a revised version of Glass, Consumer Watchdog said a Glass 2.0 must include privacy protections. The key problem with the wearable device, Consumer Watchdog said, is that it allows a user to easily make surreptitious and intrusive video recordings.

“Simply put, it is a perfect stalker’s tool,” said Simpson. “It’s difficult to see how they solve that.”

Consumer Watchdog’s April study offered this analysis: “While the device might be useful in a few narrow specialized circumstances, Google Glass is inappropriate for the broad consumer market. It threatens the privacy of both people whose images are captured unbeknownst to them and the user of the device.  It can distract the user at critical moments, perhaps when driving, posing a safety hazard. As Google itself acknowledges, Google Glass can pose health risks in some circumstances.  It can easily be used for improper and even criminal purposes.  It is a stalker’s delight and our tests of the device demonstrated how easily it could be used to surreptitiously capture a person’s PIN when they use an ATM.”

“Glassholes wanted the device because they thought it made them look cool,” said Simpson. “Now even Google gets that it didn’t.”

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Published by John M. Simpson

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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