This was originally published on Pessimists Archive.

Facebook announced a pair of connected Raybans and people have opinions, ones that mimic those directed at Google Glass in 2013, the first camera phones in the early 2000s and Kodaks in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The first cheap portable cameras spawned the term ‘Kodak Fiends’, camera wielding men invading public places and capturing unwitting members of public on film. Concerns lead to laws against use in public spaces.

Amazingly around the time of concerns about ‘Kodak Men’, augmented reality glasses caused concern too. In the example below X-Ray glasses – announced by an inventor.

The Daily Herald Delphos, Ohio 30 Jul 1897, Fri • Page 8

The Kodak fiend may be an abomination to the over-nervous and sensitive, but he will not be a circumstance to the X-ray prowler.

Google Glass – the first widely known AR smart glasses were heavily criticised for not indicating when they were capturing video – a norm set by Apple with its camera lid webcam green light.

Glass critiques were convincing and catchy and a recording light would have helped quell accusations of ‘creepiness’ – although judging by reactions to Facebook glasses – people may have called them creepy anyways.

Apple seem to deftly avoid these cirques in many areas (biometrics/AI) However it is worth noting Apple has never added a recording light indicator to the back of smartphones – devices we find ourselves in a direct line of sight of on a regular basis. This is a forgotten concern from the early 2000s.

Those raising concerns about Google Glass in 2013 and today about Facebook Glasses seem strangely unconcerned about the billion+ smartphones in the world. Perhaps because cellphones videos often expose police brutality. Yes cameras are everywhere, but unlike in Orwell’s 1984 the police are watched wherever they go, by us.