20 September 2013 by

Google Glass Preparing for a brave new augmented world

As rumours surface that Google’s latest world changing piece of technology will be released by the end of 2013, there have been many legal and moral questions raised regarding the practical implications of allowing the opportunity to monitor and record every image and sound we take in during our daily lives. Google Glass will take our seemingly insatiable technology addiction to a new level and provide those that want it with access to an augmented world layered with useful and useless information alike.

There is justifiable scepticism as to how a device with such invasive potential will be safely integrated into society, especially in light of recent scandals regarding the extent of the interaction between the big technology companies and national governments, but what are the most immediate concerns?

Some of the most compelling obstacles that Google Glass will have to deal with are:

  • Privacy – the prospect of having a photograph taken of you or your property without knowing or being asked is a concern for most people. Supporters of Google Glass will no doubt query whether there is any difference between Google Glass and high quality cameras on Smartphones. It is a valid question, but the prospect of anybody wearing Google Glass taking pictures or video without any warning or sign that they are about to do so increases the device’s invasive potential and will almost certainly breach Data Protection Laws. That Google Glass may in the future have facial recognition capability, will only add to the concerns.
  • Intellectual Property – The risk of having confidential information, trade secrets and other protected intellectual property stolen will increase as Google Glass or equivalent devices become more accepted. Employers will need to take care with their approach to such devices and the level of integration they will allow in the workplace. The film and entertainment industry will also be wary of having the copyright in their productions stolen by those using the technology to record in the cinema.
  • Driving – There are safety concerns regarding the use of the device while driving, as on one hand satellite navigation will be integrated and will be in many ways no less safe than looking at a normal satnav, but it is also likely to prompt other distracting use of the device while driving.
  • Crime – The potential for Google Glass to assist and prevent crime is certainly foreseeable. There are risks for casinos that the technology will assist dishonest gamblers beat the house, although, on the other hand, the police and emergency services will potentially find it extremely useful to have so much data integrated into their field of vision.

I for one will be eager to see how this invention is developed and enhanced while at the same time ensuring that the invasion to privacy and possibility for misuse is minimised, and the law will certainly have a part to play in striking this balance. If you have a contentious intellectual property or technology issue, please contact Marc Thurlow on 020 7288 4768.

29 August 2013 by

Barclays’ call for cash echoes Swap mis-selling victims’ calls for redress

In January 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the results of its Pilot Redress Scheme. They concluded that there were “serious failings” in the banks’ sales practices, and that mis-selling occurred in over 90% of cases where Interest Rate Swaps were sold to small and medium sized businesses.

12 September 2013 by

Commercial Property: Update

I am not sure how many of you are aware, but the VAT exemption for premises used for the purposes of storage has been withdrawn. HMRC recently published further information explaining the ramifications of the changes.

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