The boundaries surrounding wearable technology like Google Glass are blurred, leaving consumers at a crossroads in tech law. An “explorer”, or participant in Google’s testing of its new eyeglass-like computer product, is the first recipient of a citation written for use of the glasses while driving. Cecilia Abadie, a software developer who is one of 30,000 “explorers”, was pulled over in October under suspicion of speeding on the San Diego freeway and written up under the law that restricts drivers from using a TV screen while operating a vehicle. Totally the same thing, right?
Abadie will testify in traffic court against the citation, arguing that the glasses were not activated while she was driving. The judge will be setting a precedent for wearable technology as the use of things like Google Glass makes its way into the mainstream. No pressure, bro.
“It’s a big responsibility for me and also for the judge who is going to interpret a very old law compared with how fast technology is changing,” said Abadie.
Again, no pressure.
Thus far, legislators in at least three states have introduced bills banning driving with Google Glass, because they don’t like fun.
The risk level of using Google Glass on the road is up for debate. Drivers regularly split their attention between the road and GPS navigational systems, but assign stigma to the use of cellphones and even hands-free Bluetooth devices. The use of wearable technology is likely to become the norm in the near future, so where does that leave the law?
Google’s FAQ page cites use of the glasses while driving and even bicycling, encouraging users to read up on the laws in their respective towns.
Will our laws change to accommodate the technology of the future? Or will lawmakers struggle to assign application of old laws onto new technologies? Is there a petition I can sign for anarchy?
The technology may be moving faster than anyone is even prepared for. Google’s self-driving car would throw a wrench into any law-adjusting or law-making process that is implemented in upcoming years, as most driving laws are driver-centric and presume a human operator.
Some car companies are projecting commercialized autonomous cars by 2020. That’s six years from now! I could already put it on my wish list to Santa!
The only rational conclusion here is that laws are going to require attention and lawmakers will have to embrace change. Otherwise, traffic court is going to get very busy.