Google Glass hasn’t even been released to the general public yet and already there are people jumping in line to tell you when you can and can’t use the wearable computer. Citing the privacy concerns of his customers, a Seattle watering hole owner named Dave Meinert was the first to place an all out ban on the product, saying patrons of his establishment the “5 Points” are not allowed to enter while wearing the futuristic spectacles.
While Mr. Meinert’s ban is most likely nothing more than a publicity stunt, which by the way was very successful, it’s the latest story regarding restrictions on the product that are quite a bit more serious. In a note to Cnet, a West Virginia politician named Gary Howell explains why he has actually proposed legislation that will make it illegal to use Google Glass while driving. The bill HB 3057 makes it against the law to use: “Wearable computer with a head mounted display” means a computing device which is worn on the head and projects visual information into the field of vision of the wearer.”
Gary Howell went on to tell Cnet:
“I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension. I am a libertarian, and government has no business protecting us from ourselves, but it does have a duty to make sure I don’t injure or kill someone else.”
Now considering that nobody really knows how Google Glass will actually work and if it is even something that people would want to wear while driving, you could argue that this pre-emptive strike on the product is overkill and possible political grandstanding, but Mr. Howell’s reasoning seems genuine. Also having something on the books like this before the device hits the masses can be a good thing and it’s also a law that can be amended if need be.
In a statement a spokesman from Google responded:
“We are putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues. We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.”
This bill is still in it’s early stages and it’s unclear whether it has enough support to be made into law as it is written, but odds are this is only the beginning. We should expect to hear from more lawmakers in the near future as the sets of Google Glass start hitting the streets.