End User security

Privacy on London Underground Metropolitan Line #googleglass

hfobd_trust_thumbThe Metropolitan Line on London Underground has nice newish interconnected carriages and you can walk from one end of the train to the other. As we wound our way to Kings Cross for me to catch the train back north I noticed that the carriages were making interesting snake like movements. Very artistic I thought. I’ll video it.

I whipped out my S3 and propping against an upright for some semblance of stability I started recording (action – roll). I do this sort of thing. The first thing that happened was that a girl in the carriage noticed what I was doing and lifted her newspaper up to cover her face. That made me think.

There are obvious privacy issues in doing this although we were in a public place. However if I was wearing Google Glass I would be able to do it without anyone noticing. What is the implication of this? It really means the total end to privacy and anonymity in public places. That girl would not have noticed that I was recording.

I’m not sure there is anything that can be done about it. Maybe some sort of device that blocks other electronic devices from being able to video the space around you. There would have to be a standard for it. Maybe Bluetooth based. Not an easy thing to implement and it would only catch accidental video recording. If someone was hell bent on recording you they would obviously just disable that blocking function. I can imagine videos where lots of people had blurred out faces based on the fact that they have been transmitting blocking signals.

Makes you think dunnit?

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

5 replies on “Privacy on London Underground Metropolitan Line #googleglass”

That’s a great idea Stephen. There could be a fortune to be made in pixelated face masks. The simple ideas are often the best. This would be far cheaper than a sophisticated electronic solution although of course I’d be doing a global engineering community out of trips to conferences and workshops on the subject in exotic far flung places.

What a dilemma. It’s the old popularity versus making lots of money situation. Of course if I made the money I could afford to go to the far flung exotic places myself.

FYI – Google’s Glass has a conceptual precursor. Visit the IMDB links below for info on the television pilot and series.
Pilot – Probe (1972)
Series – Search (1972-3)

P.S. That’s right – forty (40 !) years ago someone was blazing a trail that the Glass could follow. But instead of a control room with humans 24 / 7 via satcom we have Google’s services via Wi-Fi.

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