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Google accused of hypocrisy over Glass ban at shareholder shindig

Strange things afoot in Google's bathrooms

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Updated Google's directors were accused of hypocrisy over a regulation banning attendees at its annual shareholder's meeting in California from wearing Google Glass hardware at the event.

"Cameras, recording devices, and other electronic devices, such as smart phones, will not be permitted at the meeting. Photography is prohibited at the meeting," attendees were told, something that rankled with Consumer Watchdog's privacy policy director and Google shareholder John Simpson.

"Google Glass is a voyeur's dream come true," Simpson said, citing the need to protect children. "It seems to me to be a little bit hypocritical to actively abet and aid possible privacy violations by so many others outside but so jealously protect your own privacy."

In response, Larry Page took a quick headcount and pointed out that most attendees had a camera-equipped smartphone, and said we would have to get used to a world with lots of cameras, even if they aren't head-mounted.

Simpson also asked, in a rather rambling manner, if there would be any way to delete videos taken with Glass from Google's servers. Page responded that the company was committed to allowing users to control their own content as one of its core values.

Page explained that this wasn't the first time people have been concerned about Google beta products – citing the privacy concerns expressed at the launch of Gmail – and once they use the product, concerns fade. It's something Google expects, he said.

"When you go to the bathroom you don't collapse in terror that someone might be wearing Glass into the bathroom," he said, "just like you don't collapse in terror that somebody might be holding up their cellphone when they go into the bathroom. It's not that big a deal."

If someone walked into Vulture Annex's bathroom shooting video from a smartphone they'd be shown the door pretty smartish. It might be more polite to stow one's Glass before making a trip to the toilet. ®

Update

Google has contacted El Reg and points out that there were members of the audience wearing Glass headsets at Thursday's meeting, despite Simpson's assertion.

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