Four reasons why smart watches are creepier than Google Glass

Technology is pushing the boundaries of privacy too far

As creepy as Google Glass can be, a smart watch is far more insidious. Here are four reasons why.

The initial lust for Google Glass has given way to scepticism, even rage, and some people are so uncomfortable with this new technology that they’ve created devices to jam the device’s WiFi when it’s nearby.

But while wearing Google Glass is still unnatural and easily identifiable, wearing a watch isn’t. And smart watches are coming. At this point, hipsters and Valley bros have likely lined up some counterarguments to privacy advocates’ concerns when it comes to smart watches.

So let’s take them on one-by-one:


1. Anything you can do with a smart watch you can already do with a phone. This is true, and also not a justification to plough forward unthinkingly. The conversation about moral and legal boundaries of device usage should also apply to phones (which are also becoming 'invisible' to us) as much as any other device that allows for nonconsensual data gathering.

2. People will get used to it and adapt, just like they did with smartphones. Probably true, but why can't adaptation include conversations about appropriate and legal use to ensure privacy, especially as technologies like smart watches push the boundaries of invasiveness combined with anonymity or invisibleness?

3. You can't stop technological progress. The progress crutch is as facile as it gets. The fact that we can introduce a new or improved technology doesn't provide de facto license to do with it whatever we want. To understand why, just apply that logic to drones, cloning, or guns.

4. You have no privacy. Get over it. Along with its companion proposition, "If you have nothing to hide, why do you care?" this is one of the most common, and most vapid, anti-privacy arguments, because it's based on a mistaken notion of what privacy is. Privacy is not a tallying of what information is kept hidden versus what's out there. Privacy is an individual's right to selectively decide what is revealed. A company can have ensured my privacy and also have a map of my genetic material, if they've given me the choice to divulge that to them first.

In asscociation with Harvard Business Review