Remember the girl who was given a ticket for driving with Google Glass? Ignorant observers have gotten the best of her again, this time in the world of aviation, where she got a less than pleasant greeting when boarding a United Airlines flight. The flight attendant made her remove Google Glass, citing “security concerns” as the reasoning, a misnomer from which we thought humanity had graduated.
She then proceeded to take the same picture she was planning on taking with Google Glass with her smartphone:
I’m taking a pic with my cellphone because I’m not allowed to take it with Google Glass. It had to be United the first plane that they asked me to take Glass off because of security concerns.
It raises the question: what sort of “security” is being compromised by the use of Google Glass? (spoiler: none)
Are they afraid that Mrs. Abadie is using her Glass’s front-facing camera to map out the innards of the airplane for use by some terrorist? Last we checked, airplane schematics were available online for anyone to view.
Another question — if they have a problem with Glass, where’s the uproar about the tons of tablets, smartphones, laptops and cameras that are even more powerful with even more functionality than Google Glass that are already approved for in-flight use? And furthermore, now pre-approved for pre-flight use?
It all sounds like another case of technophobia or ill-informed employees who are trained to exile anything that doesn’t resemble the shape of the aforementioned devices in their handbook. Come on, United, embrace technology… it’s all the rage.
Furthermore, what will they say once Google Glass becomes a necessity for the vision-impaired? Many folks are planning to replace their typical frames with the Glass Titanium collection, and at that point you’d be asking a person to compromise their safety and well being for the sake of making sure they aren’t taking some silly picture to post on Google+.
It doesn’t sound like all airlines are meeting Glass with as much resistance. In fact, a pilot from competitor US Airways was eager to try on Tim Moore of Rochester Optical’s pair just this morning:
And yes, he is holding that ancient corded telephone upside down.
This isn’t the first time Abadie’s name has been in the news for so-called “illegal” use of Google Glass. Her well-documented case against the city of San Diego for a ticket she received for wearing Glass while driving ended with a minor victory in what’s turning out to be a long war.
Abadie’s ticket was thrown out because the judge ruled that Google Glass is legal to drive with as long as the user isn’t actually using it (something which would be hard for any officer to prove or disprove). It might not be the hard legislature we seek to make sure Glass has a rightful place in today’s tech, but every little bit matters.
Some state representatives have already started lending their name to the cause of banning Google Glass for public use, whether that be due to safety concerns, privacy concerns, or all of the above paranoia-induced reasons they spew. A choice quote from Wyoming Senator Floyd Esquibel:
Common sense would tell you that you really don’t need to look at a little computer while driving, that it endangers you, your passengers and other drivers.
Apparently, GPS units and in-dash computers suddenly don’t fit in this category, but Google Glass does. Sensible thinking there, Mr. Senator.
Thankfully not all lawmakers feel this way, with one court ruling that using a monitor in the vehicle for purposes of GPS is not considered distracted driving and thus shouldn’t be considered an offense when citizens do it. Whether Google Glass fits into that category is still up in the air, and it’s something we hope will be worked out with an open mind in the months or years to come.
We also have to wonder what this will mean for smartwatches and other wearables. Most TSA agents and airline assistants probably wouldn’t take a second look at your smartwatch even though they have access to the same general features as your Google Glass, Android Phone, or Android Tablet. Perhaps it’s Google Glass’s “in your face” presence that adds an intimidation factor to the whole ordeal, but ignorance is not a good excuse for restricting what should be considered basic freedoms.
Unfortunately this has been going on since the day people stepped foot into private and public establishments with Google Glass on, and things aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Google Glass is considered emerging tech, and much of the world is still trying to figure it out. A lot of people have welcomed the technology and have been open to learning more, but for every interested soul there’s another who is just as quick to banish it.
That’s why we should be grateful for Glass Explorers like Cecilia Abadie and their willingness to evangelize, because it’s this early resistance that’s going to help Google break down these illogical taboos and continue moving technology forward. Keep fighting the good fight, Cecilia.