The bosses of the Edinburgh Airport have been accused of spying on passengers after the airport authority revealed that it is planning to conduct a trial by making its staff wear Google Glasses. If the airport moves forward and implement its plan, it would be the first in the United Kingdom to test the controversial Google technology with the aim of improving passenger experience.
For those who are not aware of the unique features of Google Glass, here are some facts: people wearing this wearable device are allowed to browse the internet using simple voice commands and capture photographs by winking. To put it otherwise, the American search engine giant has created this device to make operations much simpler for users.
So, what would the staff at the airport do with the Glass? Reports suggest that during this trial, the airport’s customer service team will use the device for providing passengers with answers to their queries, translations and flight information. Edinburg airport’s customer service team is called the Blackjack, which is basically a division of Omniserv. The trial will go on until the end of 2014.
Gordon Dewar, the chief executive of the airport, revealed that he is happy to make technological additions to the airports services; however, he also said that such additions should always be made only after carrying out proper tests on the technology in question.
However, it seems that this decision of the Edinburgh Airport is something the privacy campaigners are not happy with. They feel that by making the customer service workers wear Google Glasses the airport authority is intruding the privacy of passengers. Privacy campaigners are questioning the airport’s right of using a device to record people’s activities and conversations without their consent.
According to Emma Carr, the director of the British civil liberties and privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch, it is very important for the airport to think carefully whether using the technology in the airport is a good decision. She added that the biggest danger associated with this Google creation is that its camera is capable of seeing everything the wearer is seeing. That’s not all; Carr further said that the microphone of the Glass comes with the ability to eavesdrop nearby conversations.
Additionally, according to Carr, no one can guarantee that these devices are hack-proof, and that makes Edinburgh Airport’s decision of testing the technology in the airport quite surprising.