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Google Glass attacked by privacy campaigners

Privacy campaigners have gathered together to attack Google Glass and other augmented reality technology, arguing that the gadget will make private lives impossible.

London-based privacy campaign “Stop The Cyborgs” is fighting to impose restrictions upon when and where the Google Glass headset can be used in public. The campaigners are also suggesting Google and other augmented reality device manufacturers should make a promise not to feature facial recognition,

The Stop The Cyborgs campaign started at the end of February, but the group is working hard to raise awareness of privacy issues before Google Glass launches early next year.

“We are not calling for a total ban,” said a campaign worker to the BBC, identified only as Jack. “Rather we want people to actively set social and physical bounds around the use of technologies and not just fatalistically accept the direction technology is heading in.”

The campaign has produced several posters warning people not to use Google Glass, which, according to Stop the Cyborgs, have already been downloaded thousands of times.

“It’s important for society and democracy that people can chat and live without fear that they might end up being published or prosecuted,” reads the Stop The Cyborg campaign manifesto.

“‘If the government installed CCTV cameras and microphones everywhere, all feeding information to a central control room you would probably characterise it as a privacy risk. Is it any better if it’s run by a corporation and the devices are attached to people’s heads? Or if it uses human spy drones, which are socially incentivised to share information rather than automatic drones?’”

Google recently launched its Glass Explorer campaign, asking North American citizens to tweet what they would do if they had a pair of Google Glass. The augmented reality technology works by suspending a small glass HUD panel in the top right hand corner of the wearer’s field of vision and allows users to take photos, record videos and other features via voice control.

“We are putting a lot of thought into how we design Glass because new technology always raises important new issues for society,” said Google in a statement.

“Our Glass Explorer program will give all of us the chance to be active participants in shaping the future of this technology, including its features and social norms.”

Google Glass is due to become available for general sale by 2014. The augmented reality headset is already available to developers and the chosen Google Explorers willing to pay the $1,500 asking price.

Do you think Google Glass and other augmented reality technology will infringe on our privacy? How do you think Google should combat privacy issues raised in their final Google Glass product? Give us your thoughts on the matter via the TrustedReviews Twitter and Facebook pages or the comments below.

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