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US state to consider Google Glass driving ban

india Updated: Mar 26, 2013 12:08 IST
Google Glass

Although it's still not fully clear what the Google Glass headset is for or whether it will actually make it to the shops before the end of this year, the publicity surrounding the device -- good and bad -- is growing on a daily basis, as is the potential list of things that early adopters of the gadget will not be allowed to do.

The latest is driving in the US state of West Virginia. Gary Howell, a Republican in the West Virginia legislature, has proposed law HB 3057 which, if passed, will make it illegal to use Google Glass -- or any other "wearable computer with a head-mounted display" -- while driving a car in the state.

Of the decision, Howell said to tech publication Cnet: "I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers.

We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."

As well as creating concern in West Virginia and prompting an outright ban at the 5 Point Cafe -- the owners of the Seattle diner announced on March 11 that it was becoming the world's first cafe to ban people from wearing the headset on its premises -- others have also reacted negatively to the headsets and their wearers. Stop the Cyborgs, a London-based pressure group, was founded directly in response to the Google Glass project and the impact the headset could have on societal norms and a growing sense that Google is moving closer towards a "1984"-style Big Brother.

As well as offering a free-to-download headset ban graphic for people to display in their offices, homes and shops, the group is calling on people to make their property and place of work a surveillance device free zone by asking people to switch off their devices; to engage with their local politicians on the subject; and form local groups focused on the ban and on generating debate and discussion within different communities.

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