A chara, – The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau told us that, “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”
Are Meta’s smartglasses bringing us to a new world in which, “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you capture in a photograph”? – Is mise,
Sir, – I am astonished at correspondents writing to object to the prospect of being filmed as they go about their lives, following an advertisement for Meta Ray-Ban glasses (Letters, May 11th and 12th). Ultan Ó Broin believes it's an ethical matter "whatever the legal position is", while Dave Slater says that in such a reality he wouldn't enter a "public house or restaurant . . . let alone a hospital".
I’m at a loss as to what they believe the current situation to be. Being filmed as we move through the world is a constant reality. Such data underpins a great many high-profile court cases, verifying times and locations to prosecute or exonerate people. It is also the mainstay of various Crimewatch-style TV programmes.
While ethics are subjective, the law seems clear. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, in a Know Your Rights document, states: “Anyone can photograph you or record you on video in a public place”.
There are video cameras in most garage forecourts and they are ubiquitous in hospitals, from elevators to corridors and car parks.
Doorbells are now often liked to smartphones and there are numerous brands of spectacles already on the market capable of taking video footage.
Finally, I would add, entering a hospital is often not a matter of choice and there are few other options in an emergency or if unwell.
In practical terms, if you are in any large building or built-up area, you need to accept that there is a high likelihood you’re being recorded, and you should know that this is not illegal. – Yours, etc,