Private AR and ethics, continued

In our discussion about what would constitute “reasonable” privacy in future augmented reality, my colleagues and I settled on some core principles. To review, the question on the table was the following: Suppose you allow yourself to see a synthetic overlay through your augmented reality glasses which is socially unacceptable to others. Under what circumstances is that ok?

The conclusion we reached was that it all comes down to whether you’ve taken reasonable steps to lock down your private info. An example of not taking such steps would be if you just left your AR overlay content lying around on the table, just waiting for somebody to slip on your AR glasses.

The key here is the word “reasonable”. For example, if you lock the door to your apartment, and somebody still breaks in, the law generally acknowledges that you were not negligent. The “bad actor” who broke into your apartment was violating well established norms — both cultural and legal.

The same principle will apply to the question of “What can I see privately in my AR glasses?” If you’ve taken reasonable steps to protect your privacy, then it is not your fault if somebody else violates the law.

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