According to UK’s data security protectors, wearable technology such as Google Glass and Samsung Gear could crack the Data Protection Act if used in inappropriate ways.
As you know, starting past week, Google Glass has been made available for purchase in the UK at the price of £1,000, for everyone aged over 18. Even so, Google still claims that its wearable device is in a prototype phase.
The information according to which, Glass and other wearable devices are capable of creating breaches in the Data Protection Act, was published today on a blog, by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Their statement says that all wearable devices must be operated according the legislation, and that personal information is one of the first things that need protection.
Senior Technology Officer at the ICO, Andrew Patterson, says that if a person is using wearable technology for his own use, he is probably not going to breach the Act. He explains that there is an exemption in this law, which allows users to collect personal information as long as it’s for their domestic purposes.
However, if the person that has been harvesting personal data decides one day to use the information in any other way than his personal purposes, than it’s illegal. Meaning that if you want to use this data in business purposes, like marketing or advertising campaigns, the exemption would no longer be applied.
So, in the case of organizations, every piece of personal information that has been collected with the help of wearable technology is bound by the Act; in conclusion, they must use that data according to the legislation.
And, in order to act accordingly, people involved in the data collection must know the legislation and inform the population on the motives their personal information is being collected. Also, they cannot collect excessive information, and when the final purpose has been reached, the information has to be deleted.
ICO’s CCTV Code of Practice must be addressed with the issues raised by collecting data using wearable technology that could take pictures or record the process of data collection.
However, Google has already responded to ICO’s warning in a previous matter, by saying that Google Glass has been created so that it could provide protection, and this is why the camera is positioned in plain sight (above the user’s eye), and the screen lights up when the device is recording or taking photos. Google’s spokesman also said that there are many other devices that could be used in spying more successfully than Glass.
All this rumor around Glass’s privacy issues have surfaced after a few Glass users have been banned from a bar, because other customers were afraid that they were being filmed or photographed with the wearable device. In case you didn’t know, Google Glass is also banned from strip clubs, hospitals, cinemas, casinos, and banks, even sports grounds.
As a response to the matter, Google published Glass’s etiquette guide, which advises users on how to be polite and respectful about the other people, and how to stop being ‘Glassholes’.
During past year, the Centre for Creative and Social Technology has conducted a survey, and the results showed that one out of five questioned people has responded that they would want Google Glass to be banned in the UK. Other results point out that their biggest concern is privacy related and that 61% want Glass to be subjected to legislative regulation.
Other news point out that people are more and more attracted to fitness bands that tracks certain body functions while doing their exercises. On the 26th of June, Google announced the upcoming arrival of a new Android OS for wearables, while Apple is allegedly working on its iWatch.
Deloitte, the consulting company, estimated that in 2014 the number of wearable devices sold, including watches, fitness bands and smart glasses, will be growing up to 10 million units.