Everyone wants a piece of Google Glass, the hot new augmented reality device. When Google handed out a limited number of these to developers earlier this week, it set a few ground rules. Firstly, developers may not resell, lend, or give the device away to another person, not even to try it out. Secondly, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, if it senses that another person is using it. The developer will then forfeit warranty and refund, not to mention, being blacklisted by Google.
This sparked off a debate among the IT and legal communities. One side finds Google justified, in preventing black-marketing of the device; while the other finds Google controlling what developers do with the device they parted with $1,500 for. A case in point for the first argument comes from a developer who spoke to Wired, who promptly put his Glass Explorer up on online auction, and the bidding rose all the way up to $90,000; before he realized he couldn't resell the device, and had to pull the auction.
Driving home the other argument is EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), which has been a champion advocate against companies controlling devices they sell (such as Sony preventing users from installing Linux on PlayStation 3, and Apple's iron-fist control over the iOS software environment). A spokesperson for EFF stated if this policy by Google is any indication, Google Glass will have an extremely controlled environment, with Google retaining absolute control over what information you view, what apps you install, and who gets to keep your data.