United Airlines could be in for a battle in response to a flight attendant citing security concerns as the reason for making passenger, Cecilia Abadie remove her Google Glass technology aboard a recent flight. Abadie is no stranger to confrontation surrounding the new technology that includes the ability to capture video with the the built-in 720p HD camera. She was cited last October in San Diego by police officers for wearing the glasses while operating a vehicle.
Abadie is one of many so-called “explorers” that have been given to opportunity to test the product prior to a full time release. Her exploration has given the public a snapshot into the future about the acceptance, or lack thereof surrounding the new product. So far, it has been an uphill battle as nobody seems very clear in how Google Glass should be treated. Some have cited privacy concerns, and in this recent run-in with United Airlines, security concerns are another issue that is making its way to the forefront.
The fight is on, and Abidie appears to be the one stepping out into the unknown to test the boundaries of the new smart technology. Her case in San Diego in which she was cited for breaking a law called V C Section 27602 Television was thrown out in traffic court due to the inability to prove without any doubt that the product was in use while the vehicle was in operation. Abadie’s role as a twenty-first century troubadour is sure to inspire legions of other techies who aim to find answers, turning them loose into the world that is constantly evolving.
The question then becomes, how is Google Glass technology more of a security concern than an iPhone or other smart technologies? It is a question that is still mostly unknown. The majority of the public is unfamiliar with the product and does not have the understanding at this time to comprehend its abilities. Public establishments and places will need to move quickly to settle on an understanding of the product, because soon tech savvy people worldwide will be able to get their hands on Glass, and an army of face-wearing, space-age technology people will flood the market.
On the day that United Airlines announced a staggering $609 million loss during the first quarter of 2014, the last thing they can afford at this time is to alienate more customers. They have pointed to severe weather as the main reason for the steep decline, however, they were the only major airline that failed to turn a profit during the first three months of the year.
If United Airlines plans on citing security concerns as the reason for disallowing Google Glass to be worn on their flights, they better understand the firestorm and backlash that could accompany their decision. For now, other airlines appear to be waiting in the wings while a consensus is reached about the new product. Until then, people like Cecilia Abadie will continue to push the limits in attempt to find answers, as opposed to raising more questions.
Commentary by Johnny Caito