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Envisioning the Future Now (XV)

Level 13

Let's return an earlier topic of how face recognition and wearable computing technology may converge.

Google Glass is in a phase of development they are calling the Explorer Program; participants are would-be early adopters who complete an application to buy Google Glass and provide feedback as the product iterates and its distribution expands. Meanwhile, among the many companies already developing apps for Glass, offers a demo version of NameTag, which allows a user of Glass to get information about people in the wearer's field of vision.

A press release on NameTag evokes a dating and professional networking best-of-both-worlds. Glass wearers, preparing to break the ice, can check each other out in a bar, for example, by running images of each other through NameTag's face recognition database and reviewing information that includes dating site, LinkedIn, and FaceBook profiles, and public records (home appraisals, drunk-driving and other convictions perhaps).

NameTag has the attention of Senator Al Franken's Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. In response to the subcommittee's inquiries, the company declares its intention to "authenticate every user and every device on our system to ensure data security". And using NameTag requires that a Glass wearer create an NT profile, supply a number of photos from specified angles, login on the service with "at least one legitimate profile" from another social media site, and agree to exchange information.

Glass-less people in a wearer's view are obviously at an information disadvantage. Our only option would be to visit the NameTag website and "opt-out" of having our data accessible in NameTag searches. Otherwise, by default, we remain oblivious that a begoggled NameTag user has us in view, gazing at us through the filter of our social media information, visual and textual, before making any move in our direction.

Yet NameTag would seem to be unambiguously excluded from the Google Glass platform: "Developers can develop these types of apps but they will not get distributed on the Glass platform period," says a representative from the team.

As with any consumer technology, however, first means more-to-come, and usually sooner not later; it's just a matter of time before another brand of glass arrives with fewer restrictions to better-suit all types of voyeur.

Edge Devices

What happens when a Google Glass unit enters your network space? Are you going to let it obtain an IP address? If the wearer is an employee, does your single-sign-on system admit the glass device as an authenticated endpoint through which its user can do all of his or her usual kinds of company business?

Monitoring the inevitable wave of glass will be a high priority as the security holes in each new innovation reveal themselves during real-world use.

Level 18

Allowing the device to have an IP on any corporate network would be a huge security risk especially if the corporate environment is in the financial realm due to the personal information that could be available as well as important information as to how a company operates and how the network and systems are set up.

Level 15

Interesting article.

About the Author
If I were a HAL 9000 series computing machine I might be in an operational state on a space vessel somewhere in our little solar system, closer to Jupiter than Earth, with some probability of lethal malfunction; and to understate the obvious, I would not be helping anyone here on But I do or try to help people on watch their bits better. Therefore, I am probably not a HAL 9000 series computing machine. I alternate between feeling ambiguously clear (state='0' if you like) and clearly ambiguous (state='1' as it were). I enjoy verbing nouns.