Report calls for new laws on wearable technology

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Report calls for new laws on wearable technology

New wearable devices such as Google Glass gather too much information, resulting in the high risk of that information being misused, according to Korea’s National Information Society Agency (NIA).

In a report released yesterday, the agency advised the government to prepare legal standards for users’ privacy comparable to those in the United Kingdom, which recently amended its CCTV regulations to include rules on sending videos recorded with wearable devices.

“With technology advancements, new devices are being developed and are scheduled to be released in the near future,” said Chae Eun-sun, a researcher at NIA.

“So, the Korean government should prepare an overarching set of guidelines that cover all wearable devices.”

Chae added that the implementation of the rules is crucial, as wearable devices are often designed to collect and record personal information without letting people know that they are being recorded.

She suggested in the report that the government could require manufacturers to add a flashing light function when a wearable device is recording.

The NIA’s concerns stem from the release of new wearable devices that have fascinating features for the device holders but somewhat creepy for passersby.

Google Glass can record what is seen through the glasses and share the video clip live with other people. It also has a pre-installed application called Name Tag, which takes a photo of a face through the glasses and compares it with millions of photos already posted on various social media sites to identify who the person is.

Chae said in the report that U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to Google earlier this year expressing worry over potential misuses of Google Glass. He suggested that the company restrict the list of retrievable people to those who had previously agreed to be searchable.

In Korea, LG Electronics’ G Watch gives suggestions to the user based on the person’s daily life pattern collected and analyzed through the watch. The device collects information at all times through a GPS system and makes suggestions depending on the time and location.

In Korea, smartphones and other mobile devices are required to emit a beeping sound when a photo or video is being taken in a bid to prevent recordings with the intention of sexual harassment. But according to the report, this law doesn’t cover wearable devices.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]





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