google glass

While not yet widely available, Google Glass has just started to disseminate into the public. And now that these devices are out in the open, some interesting issues have come about. Innovative apps are changing the way Glass is used, while cracks and hacks show some very worrying privacy issues.

Unsurprisingly for such a prominent device, it took just about no time before hackers were diving into Google Glass, and trying to find their way around security restrictions. Most notably, a prominent Android hacker Jay Freeman (aka Saurik) figured out a way into the device based on a known exploit for the Android OS. The hack requires physical access to the device to use, but once installed it gives the person unprecedented access to Google Glass. On smartphones it can be stymied by a simple screenlock, but there’s no such security on Google Glass.

On one hand, a Glass user could intentionally hack their own device so as to record video footage without a telltale recording LED turning on, or to use custom phrases to start recording without suspicion.

Even more worrisome is that an outside user could gain control of an individual’s device using the same technique. In an interview, Freeman said:

Thankfully, we’re also seeing some less nefarious custom uses of Google Glass. The first generation of apps has just started to arrive, and they’re being used in innovate and new ways. We’re already seeing versions tools that can be used to help identify someone based on their clothing, or take a photograph with a wink.

Hopefully these privacy concerns are birthing pangs with such a strange and new device, and by the time Google readies Glass for the mass market, the security side will be heavily patched.