Google Glass May Be Banned In Australia Under New Proposed Privacy Laws

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By Anne Lu | April 1, 2014 3:10 PM EST

Google Glass may become illegal in Australia if the new proposed law is approved. The Australian Law Reform Commission released 47 legislative changes that update existing private laws for the digital age, including making it illegal to wear the Google eyewear and other similar wearable technologies.

The commission released discussion paper on Monday, which included proposal that the government introduce a statutory cause of action for serious invasion of a person’s privacy, including the recording of individuals without their consent.

It also recommends changes to accommodate advancements in technology, which may put Google Glass at risk in the country as it is capable of video and audio recording very discreetly.

The proposal doesn’t exclusively ban the already controversial gadget, and may affect smart phones and other wearable technologies as well.

“A mobile phone could be used as a surveillance device as well to record a private conversation or record a private activity without consent; it could be set up in a way that’s recording, so we already have the concept that wearable items that are in ubiquitous use do have the potential to carry out what would be unauthorised surveillance,” Barbara McDonald, commissioner and a professor of law at the University of Sydney, told The Australian Financial Review.

New South Wales is the only state in the country that currently has a regional privacy law. If the proposed law is passed, recording private conversations or activities without consent will become a national offence.

Investigative journalists and government agents will be exempt from the privacy law, though, so they can uncover criminal activities.

The ALRC did not propose penalties for offenders, though the courts could order damage compensation for the victims.

Google Glass, developed by search engine giant Google, aims to give wearers a sense of augmented reality by allowing them to view information in a smartphone-like format. It also allows wearers to shoot and record video and audio of everything they see surreptitiously.

It has already caused controversy in the U.S., particularly due to privacy concerns. A number of restaurants have already banned their patrons from using the gadget inside their premises. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also accused a man of movie piracy when he wore Google Glass in a movie theatre.

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