Chris Barrett was walking down the Wildwood, N.J., boardwalk on July 4 when he stumbled upon a brawl, the participants in which were arrested a few minutes later. There was nothing noteworthy about the event, except that Barrett had recorded the entire episode unbeknownst to the crowd around him.
Barret, a documentary maker, was wearing Google Glass, the wearable face-mounted computer worn like eyeglasses, and the camera was rolling the entire time. Having recording what he believes to be the first fight — and subsequent arrest — on the device, he said, “this video is proof that Google Glass will change citizen journalism forever.”
Why? The device’s covertness and its hand-free nature. Barrett said he believes he would have run into trouble with either the brawlers or the police if he had simply stood there holding up a smartphone to record the entire altercation. But doing so via Glass, he felt less vulnerable, which he believes will free up reporters in the future to protect themselves.
“What is interesting with Glass is that in tense situations, like, say, war reporting, your hands are free while you’re shooting,” he told VentureBeat. “You can use your hands to protect yourself. If I wanted to back away, I could do it without dropping my camera or stopping the recording.”
Google Glass has been raising privacy concerns since its introduction, and some lawmakers have acted by putting restrictions on the device, while certain establishments, such as bars and casinos, have banned it.
The device won’t be available to normal consumers until late 2013 (if not later), and Google said it is still “thinking carefully” about the machine’s various capacities the privacy concerns they raise as it tinkers with the finished product.