Privacy Ref Blog

Wearable technology is coming, but will anyone notice?

When I look through corporate handbooks I often find prohibitions on the use of cameras or recording devices while on a company’s premises. It’s not something that gets brought up in new hire orientation nor something that gets brought up very often at all. Let’s face it, there is a certain amount of convenience to taking out your smartphone and snapping a picture of the notes on the whiteboard or recording a meeting to create the minutes later.

While you can get technology that can perform these functions surreptitiously, main stream commercial technology would require you to be fairly overt when taking a picture or making a recording. Since people will know you are capturing something they can object (or report you to corporate security if they want to be nasty). Wearable technology will change this.

Chris Barrett, the founder of PRserve, has been wearing Google Glass in public places and posting videos he has captured with them on his YouTube channel. On July 4th he posted a video showing an arrest on a New Jersey boardwalk that gained a lot of attention.

What interested me about this video was that no one seemed to notice that he was making a video recording, You can make a case that Chris may not have stood out in that festive environment, but a second video posted by Chris took him to an environment that is very conscious of technology being used by their customers, a casino. In fact, according to an article in, Chris went to three casinos and no one asked him about what he was wearing until the roulette dealer at the end of the video below brought it up.

So what does this mean for a privacy professional? We all recognize that the introduction of new technology outpaces the introduction of related new statutes and policies. Here is an opportunity for privacy professionals to get ahead of technological evolution by working within our organizations to define policies and practices related to wearable technology as well as raise awareness.

There are some organizations that have already begun this process. I suggest there are a few things that must be kept in mind when you do:

So what are some steps you may want to take? Ultimately you will want to define a corporate stance on the use of wearable technology that meets business needs and fits into your privacy framework. In support of this you may want to

Privacy Ref provides consulting and assessment services to build and improve organizational privacy programs. For more information call Privacy Ref at (888) 470-1528 or email us at

Posted on August 21, 2013 by Bob Siegel
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