Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Jun. 4th
Google signed the death warrant for its new Glass platform this week when it banned porn apps from the devices.
The ban is stated in black and white in the updated Glass Platform Developer Policies, Section D, Article 1:
Sexually Explicit Material: We don't allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child pornography. If we become aware of content with child pornography, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google Accounts of those involved with the distribution.
There has been a great deal of hubbub–rightly so–about the privacy concerns raised by having cameras strapped to our persons at all times. Heck, there's even a backlash against Microsoft for insisting that the new XBox be wired into a Kinect camera in order to function.
Many of the new Glassware guidelines address these kinds of concerns, even if it all comes off as a little Pollyannaish. The gap between what's allowed on the platform and what clever, creepy geeks will be able to pull off seems to get bigger every day.
The rules change came on the very same day that the first porn app for Glass was launched. So mark your calendars, because yesterday is the day Glass died.
Here's the stupid, ugly truth: sex drives way more innovation in the technology sector than anyone is willing to openly admit. It's a lowest common denominator thing, but everything from video codecs to social media harness this most fundamental of drives.
While Instagram might be able to get away with food porn as the only kind of porn on their service, that's the cultural exception, not the rule. Vine, for instance, has become a haven for pornstars looking to exhibit themselves.
By denying porn on Glass, Google has sketched a Victorian approach to the future. One that is in alignment with many of their missteps over the past few years: Google+ NymWars anyone?
There are real concerns about privacy and consent that come up with these new technologies. From my perspective it is becoming increasingly clear that there are no satisfactory technological solutions to these issues. It takes active human agency and judgment to protect people's privacy online.
For a breakdown of the other "anti-creeper" rules, check out Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic Wire.
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