Google is turning street cops into robots. Well, not really but the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is experimenting with Google Glass.
Google Glass is a wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display that was birthed out of the Project Glass research and development efforts. The NYPD is tapping into the Google Glass Explore program. The glasses cost $1,500 a pair.
According to the New York Post, NYPD bosses bought several pairs of the wearable technology to beta test. The department hopes to use them in the field.
“It’s in the early stages,” a source told the Post. “A handful of people are testing it out. “If it works, it could be very beneficial for a cop on patrol who walks into a building with these glasses on. It would be like the Terminator. You walk past somebody and you get his pedigree info -- if he’s wanted for a warrant -- right on your eye screen. You can identify the bad guys immediately within seconds.”
No Privacy Issues
We caught up with Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner, to get his take on the police test driving Google Glass.
Although he has privacy concerns with citizens wearing the technology in a bar, he told us there’s no privacy issue for police departments that elect to use Google Glass for surveillance, information gathering, to transmit situation reports live back to a command post, or just recording events walking down the street.
“I don’t have a problem with police using Google Glass in a way that enhances my safety and enhances theirs in the process,” Disabato said. “However -- and this is a big however -- we need pass a law that allows police to use Google Glass but prohibits the police from removing the glasses when things get dicey. They can’t have this both ways.”
Tampering With Evidence
In other words, Disabato explained, if police are going to use Google Glass they cannot take off the glasses when their behavior becomes questionable. That would essentially be tampering with evidence.
“Taking off the Google Glass during dicey situations is like tampering with a dash cam that catches a cop doing something wrong. If they want that ability to record me, I want the ability to call them out on misusing their authority,” Disabato said.
“I am not saying that all police behave wrongly. I am saying there are occasions where emotions take over and control is lost. There needs to be protection for the citizens and for the police. This is one way, quite frankly, that you could find people who abuse the system and they need to be removed as a protection to the citizenry.”