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Google Glass Raises Privacy Concerns

2013-8-25
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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

The Internet company Google is testing its newest high-tech device, Google Glass. Most of the technologies for Google Glass are already available on smart phones. Google has taken those same technologies and added them to eyeglass frames. The company describes the glasses as wearable computers that would change the way people view others and the world.

Chris Dale is the Senior Manager of Communications for Google Glass.

"Google Glass is a tiny computer that sits in a lightweight frame,  and rests neatly above your eye and it makes exploring and sharing the world around you a lot easier."

The glasses have a tiny video screen and a camera that connect wirelessly to the Internet through WIFI, a smartphone, or a tablet computer. You can make and receive calls, send and receive texts, take pictures, record video or search the web. You control Google Glass using your voice, and a touchpad on the right arm of the frame.

Professor Marcia Dawkins is among a select group of people who have been given a change to test out Google Glass.

"I thought this is something I definitely need for my classroom and hopefully for my personal life too."

The Professor’s Google Glass looks like a bright orange glasses, without the actual glass. But there’s a tiny rectangular glass at the top right-hand corner. Through that glass, she has been recording video while biking. She also has been able to talk to her sister in Thailand, and she plans to use the device to teach a public speaking class.

But not everyone is excited about Google Glass. Some are concerned about possible risks to privacy. John Simpson is the director of the privacy project at Consumer Watchdog.

"It is essentially going to allow people to come in and spy on you and record that, without you knowing what is going on."

Google says that it has already addressed that concern. Mr Dale explained that in order to start the camera or record a video, the owner must say something out loud.

"I activate the device, and say ’Okay, glass, take a picture.’ Similarly, I have a little button on the top here that I can push that will again show an explicit gesture to everybody around me that a picture is being taken and a video is being recorded."

But Filmmaker Chris Barrett showed just how easy it is to record people without them knowing it. His glass captured a man getting arrested after a fight. He shared the video on YouTube.

Also some are concerned about the use of facial recognition technology on Google Glass. But Google says it will not approve the use of such applications. The Internet company says it is still testing its new device, it hopes to make Google Glass available to the public by early next year.

And that’s the Technology Report from VOA Learning English. I’m June Simms.