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First Arrest Caught on Google Glass

Google won't be changing anything in response to the video, but they do say they're talking to lawmakers about the implications of recording everything

Google Glass, the always-on computer on your face, has sparked all sorts of debates about the limits of privacy. Can you wear them in the bathroom? What about the locker room?

On July 4th, filmmaker and Google Glasser Chris Barrett wound up next to an arrest on the Wildwood, NJ, boardwalk. He recorded the arrest using his glasses, naturally, and claims that this is the first arrest captured on the device.

Barrett posted the video on YouTube, and writes:

Tonight, I was testing out the extended video recording option with Google Glass on the Boardwalk of Wildwood, New Jersey. I walked right into the tail end of a fight happening on Jersey Shore boardwalk and filmed the first arrest through the lens of my Google Glass.

This video is proof that Google Glass will change citizen journalism forever.

NPR’s All Tech Considered spoke with Barrett, who said:

“What is interesting with Glass is that in tense situations, like, say, war reporting, your hands are free while you’re shooting. 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. That’s a big step in wearable computing,”

He told Ars Technica that he doesn’t plan on recording every arrest he sees, but that the novelty of the technology was what prompted him to do it:

“I’m sure in certain situations I wouldn’t have recorded this, and maybe the next time I see someone get arrested, I will keep walking,” he added. “What is interesting from this video—and what made me want to upload it—was that I was filming before this event even happened. It would have been a little different if I saw the fight, hit record, and ran right up to the fight. We’re living a life where exciting and crazy and happy and sad things happen every minute. When you hit record, you don’t know what you’re going to catch in the next 24 frames or five minutes. When Google Glass has a hard drive and battery life that is capable of recording 24 hours a day and has the capability of being always-on, that will be a very strange world. Anyone can capture any moment. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, it’s interesting to me.”

Not everybody is as excited as Barrett though. A Reuters blog worries that the people in that video were being filmed without their knowledge. The Atlantic calls Google Glass the little brother of NSA’s big brother surveillance.

Google won’t be changing anything in response to the video, but they do say they’re talking to lawmakers about the implications of recording everything.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Seattle Dive Bar Bans Google Glasses
Google Glasses Might Go Hipster With Warby Parker

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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