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Google Glass rules tighten: no porn or facial recognition

Google Glass has tightened their rules far more stringently than their Android developer rules, and lawmakers are taking a look at where Glass should and should not be allowed and what penalties will be for using them in restricted areas.

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Google Glass culture unfolding as rules tighten

Google Glass will hit the market soon, but before the project becomes a mainstream reality, Google is taking a careful approach at what they allow and what they do not allow to be featured in their app store, and they’re surprising many by tightening the rules. Why is it a surprise? Apple positioned themselves as the wholesome, family friendly app store, mocking Google Android for having porn apps (which they still do), so many assumed Glass would be an unrestricted environment, much like Android is.

Not so. You’ve heard of no Glass by the pool (and no running, no diving, and so on), but have you heard of no Glass at the casinos? No porn on Glass? No gambling on Glass? No facial recognition on glass? No voice printing on Glass? The Glass Platform Developer Policies are strict because the technology has a strong likelihood of being invasive.

No facial recognition, no voice printing on Google Glass

The Google Glass team posted on G+, “We’ve been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.”

It is a quandary, however, as there is no mention of people being able to opt in (as in the case of the Glass app developed for doctors to pull up patient files based on facial recognition).

It’s not just facial recognition, however, as the policies restrict developers from using “the camera or microphone to cross-reference and immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than the user, including use cases such as facial recognition and voice print.”

What is more curious is that the policy continues, “Applications that do this will not be approved at this time.” Note that Google doesn’t close the door permanently, as it does say “at this time.”

No porn on Google Glass

Sorry grown ups, no grown up stuff for you on Google Glass, you’ll have to stick to your Android for that, as Google has very publicly banned pornographic materials.

“We don’t allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts or sexually explicit material,” the company outlines, and asserts that there are very serious penalties for any app featuring child pornography.

The issue of porn came up with a company released an app which had over 10,000 visitors and over a dozen Glass test users already signing up, and while they say they followed developer policies during creation of the app, they intend on pivoting to follow the rules so they can remain in the Glass app store.

No Glass in casinos

It’s not just Google Glass that has rules for its own use, lawmakers are taking a look at where Glass should and should not be allowed, and New Jersey along with Pennsylvania are both planning to prohibit the devices to prevent card counting or other cheating methods not yet evident. We suspect Google Glass could eventually read and record other players’ moves and habits and heck, even read heartbeats to look for a true tell. Casinos don’t like that. It’s not just about that single player having an unfair advantage, the theory is that making cheating easy would discourage players from visiting anymore and hurt local economies.

Further, several large casinos in Las Vegas have already banned the wearing of Google Glass devices inside the casinos. The goal for the industry is to make it illegal and an arrestable offense to wear Google Glass inside their venues.

Casinos aren’t alone

Casinos won’t be the last scenario that forbids Google Glass – we suspect that next up are all levels of educational institutions, government buildings, and maybe even retail dressing rooms, who knows? While many augmented reality options available on Glass are already offered on smartphones, it is nearly impossible for people to detect improprieties while using Glass as opposed to a user having to hold their phone up for all to see what they’re doing.

As a final thought, if the NSA is tracking all keystrokes, it wouldn’t be a tremendous leap to consider that all visual and audio data being processed on a Google Glass device could be stored and tracked as well, so in the currently heated environment surrounding privacy, Google Glass could play a larger role in the long term as people grapple with what they think is okay and what is not okay for Google, the government, or the public to know about their device use.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault

(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.

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Woman looking at Apple iPhone representing new iOS 15 beta that will blur nude photos.

In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.

The option to blur nude photos is opt-in, reports The Verge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after being implemented.

This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”

With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.

Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.

 

Child on electronic device- iOS 15 beta that will allow blur nude photos should protect children.

Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.

While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.

There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.

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Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts

(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!

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Amazon Music Transcripts

Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.

According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.

Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.

Amazon Music Homescreen

To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.

Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.

So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.

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UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy

(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.

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Two UX design people standing in front of a whiteboard with a UX map.

A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.

But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.

So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.

According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.

The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.

Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.

The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.

The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.

The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.

If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.

However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.

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