SAN DIEGO – A California woman believed to be the first cited for wearing Google’s computer-in-an-eyeglass while driving says she was within her rights and violated no law.
The case to be tried Thursday in a San Diego traffic court could help shape future laws on wearable technology as it goes mainstream.
Software developer, Cecilia Abadie, is among some 30,000 people called “explorers” who have been selected to try out the device, known as Google Glass, before the technology becomes widely available to the public later this year. The device on a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
Abadie was pulled over in October on suspicion of going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on a San Diego freeway. The California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle.
Abadie has pleaded not guilty to both charges in San Diego traffic court. She said she will feel like her rights have been taken away if the judge Thursday rules in favour of the officer. Tech-lovers, including the 30,000 explorers, will be watching closely.
“It’s a big responsibility for me and also for the judge who is going to interpret a very old law compared with how fast technology is changing,” said Abadie, who wears Google Glass up to 12 hours a day.
Her attorney William Concidine said the device was not activated when she was driving.
“The officer can’t prove they were operating,” he said.
The CHP declined comment. At the time of Abadie’s citation, the agency said anything which takes a driver’s attention from the road is dangerous.
The lightweight frames are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display that responds to voice commands. The technology can be used to do things such as check email, learn background about something the wearer is looking at, or to get driving directions.
Legislators in at least three states — Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia — have introduced bills that would ban driving with Google Glass.
Google’s website contains an advisory for users: “Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.”