One in five people think Google Glass should be banned

Credit: tedeytan via Flickr

It’s not even publicly available and one in five people surveyed say Google Glass should be banned.

Rackspace commissioned a survey, conducted by the University of London, into wearable computing devices and found the full range of extremes when it comes to privacy concerns. The survey polled 4,000 people in the U.S. and U.K. about wearable technologies, including purpose built fitness trackers or similar applications used on smartphones.

Privacy is the main reason 20 percent of respondents said Google Glass should be banned. Almost two-thirds said Glass and other kinds of wearable devices should be regulated in some way.

It’s easy to imagine privacy and even legal issues around Glass. Some people might object to Glass wearers taking video or photos of them without their knowledge. The study also mentioned using Glass to record a movie in a theater in violation of copyright laws. If Google wants to avoid onerous regulations, it’ll need to make sure that it’s clear when a wearer is taking a photo or video.

So that’s one end of the spectrum. On the other are the decent number of people who will gladly give up data collected about them by wearable devices. A surprisingly large number -- 19 percent of people surveyed in the U.K. and 22 percent in the U.S. -- said they’d be willing to use a wearable device that monitors location for central government activity.

That's a lot of people who trust the government enough to want to let it track their moves. With the wide use of smartphone location technologies, and the tracking already being done in some form by phone and app makers, some people apparently aren't worried about sharing this kind of information.

Even more are ok giving up data to healthcare institutions. One-third of people surveyed in both countries say they’d be willing to use a wearable health and fitness monitor that shares personal data with a healthcare provider. The growing use of electronic health records probably has helped open the door to sharing this data with medical institutions.

The types of wearable devices is set to grow, with the development of Glass, rumors of smart watches on the way from several vendors, and the popularity of fitness devices like the Fitbit. But apparently there’s room for improvement in what’s on the market now. The survey found a lot of complaints about the quality and accuracy of the data, with some users giving up on devices like the Jawbone UP due to inaccuracies in the data and a lack of good data analysis features. “Wearable technology is only as good as the data it delivers,” the report reads.

It sounds like wearable devices aren’t being very widely used in the enterprise, yet. The study found that 6 percent of respondent businesses in the U.S. and U.K. are providing wearable technology devices for employees. It only gave one example of how though – Appirio, a cloud services provider, has an opt-in program where employees can track health information using the Jawbone UP. Surely there will be additional applications that could be useful to businesses as new devices hit the market.

The survey otherwise showed that people are pretty happy with wearable technologies. Additional findings (don't miss the last one):

  • 58 per cent of UK and 67 per cent of American respondents state that wearable tech has improved their health and fitness
  • One in three respondents in the UK and USA believe that wearable tech has helped their career development
  • 35 per cent of UK respondents and 51 per cent of US respondents believe that wearable tech has made them feel more intelligent
  • Wearable tech has helped  to aid self-confidence for 41 per cent of respondents in the UK and 51 per cent in the US
  • 49 per cent of respondents from the UK and 59 per cent of those from the US believe that wearable tech helps them feel more in control of their lives
  • 24 per cent of UK respondents and 33 per cent of US respondents use wearable tech to boost their love lives
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