By Stacey Ross
Imagine you are single. A beautiful face in the crowd catches your goggling eyes and, being the dialed-in tech wiz you are, you’ll say something like: “She’s hot; I wonder if she’s single?”
After that, you can skip the formalities. Instead, you put on your Google Glass eyewear with the fully-loaded facial recognition app NameTag, blink your eyes, and – bam! – you’ll be all set with her personal information staring right back at ya!
Talk about sparing yourself rejection! (Oh, and random party-goers’ privacy while we are on the subject!) It also cuts out the need for small talk: by the time you meet, you’ll know everything about her! This is the new age of tech, folks!
Privacy in the trashcan
Google Glass, set to be released to the mainstream market sometime next year, is basically a pair of glasses with a built-in computer light enough to rest on your nose bridge! Using NameTag and other apps already in the pipeline, the Google Glass technology will wirelessly match up faces to social media profiles, all without giving people the right to opt out, because, well, if the information has already been made public, it’s fair game, right?
Are you already running to check your privacy options for your social platforms? Good thing, because you will need to be proactive in protecting your images and personal data. Google Glass is just one more reason to not only check your privacy settings on all your social networks, but a reminder to keep photos and personal data as concealed as possible.
Steve Lee, director of product management for Google Glass, addressed concerns by many and shared, “We’ve consistently said that we won’t add new face recognition features to our services unless we have strong privacy protections in place.” As far as I can understand, those protections mean that you will have to personally tweak your information profile for each app, similar to the opt-out policies for certain public data bases. We will see.
The developers of NameTag say that their facial-recognition software will make the world a much more connected place, but I translate that as giving the ability to stalkers to link to instant contact information, such as social media profiles, interests, hobbies, passions, and clues to your likely whereabouts.
Considering where this might take us
A New York Times article suggests that Google Glass will allow users to record things (both video and audio) without the need to whip out a more obvious cell phone. Then there is the safety component (think driving or even walking).
“This is just the beginning,” said Timothy Toohey, a Los Angeles lawyer specializing in privacy issues. “Google Glass is going to cause quite a brawl.”
“We are all now going to be both the paparazzi and the paparazzi’s target,” said Karen L. Stevenson, a lawyer with Buchalter Nemer in Los Angeles.
A stalker’s paradise
Developers of facial recognition technology are also working to enable the scanning of profile photos from dating sites such as PlentyOfFish.com, OkCupid.com and Match.com. So long as you are a member with a public profile, you are fair game! On the plus side, facial recognition technology could also allow users to match faces against the more than 450,000 entries in the National Sex Offender Registry and other criminal databases.
So, in the future, if you ever fall for a pick-up line, you’ll be ready to immediately cross-reference the source. And you thought you were already well-connected!
Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.