WSJ reported on November 22, 2013, Google’s push to move Google Glass, a computerized device with an “optical head-mounted display,” into the mainstream by tapping the prescription eyewear market through VSP Global—a nationwide vision benefits provider and maker of frames and lenses. If the speed and immersion of technology over the past few years had shown us anything, it is that it will not be too long before employees are donning Google Glass on the job, putting yet another twist on technology’s impact on the workplace.

Employers continue to adjust to the influx of personal smartphones in the workplace, many adopting “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) strategies and policies. These technologies have no doubt been beneficial to businesses and workplace around the globe. The introduction of Google Glass into the workplace may have similar benefits, but the technology also could amplify many of the same challenges as other personal devices, and create new ones.

For example, employers may experience productivity losses as employees focus on their Glass eye piece and not their managers, co-workers, customers. Likewise, some businesses will need to consider whether Google Glass may contribute to a lack of attention to tasks that can create significant safety risks for workers and customers, such as for employees who drive or use machinery as a regular part of their jobs.

A popular feature of Google Glass is the ability to record audio and video. Smartphones and other devices do this already, but recording with Glass seems so much easier and become potentially less obvious overtime as we get used to seeing folks with the Glass. Of course, recording of activities and conversations in the workplace raise a number of issues. In healthcare, for instance, employees might capture protected health information with their devices, but potentially without the proper protections under HIPAA. Conversations recorded without the consent of the appropriate parties can violate the law in a number of states. Employees with regular access to sensitive financial information could easily capture a wealth of personal data, raising yet another data privacy and security risk.

The capturing of data on the Glass, even if not collected, used or safeguarded improperly, will add to the challenges businesses have to avoid spoliation of data stored in these additional repositories of potentially relevant evidence.

Only time and experience will tell what the impact of Google Glass will be in the workplace. However, as companies continue to adapt to present technologies, they should be keeping an eye on the inevitable presence of such new technologies, and avoid being caught without a strategy for reducing risks and avoidable litigation.

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Photo of Joseph J. Lazzarotti Joseph J. Lazzarotti

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)…

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Trained as an employee benefits lawyer, focused on compliance, Joe also is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits practice group.

In short, his practice focuses on the matrix of laws governing the privacy, security, and management of data, as well as the impact and regulation of social media. He also counsels companies on compliance, fiduciary, taxation, and administrative matters with respect to employee benefit plans.

Privacy and cybersecurity experience – Joe counsels multinational, national and regional companies in all industries on the broad array of laws, regulations, best practices, and preventive safeguards. The following are examples of areas of focus in his practice:

  • Advising health care providers, business associates, and group health plan sponsors concerning HIPAA/HITECH compliance, including risk assessments, policies and procedures, incident response plan development, vendor assessment and management programs, and training.
  • Coached hundreds of companies through the investigation, remediation, notification, and overall response to data breaches of all kinds – PHI, PII, payment card, etc.
  • Helping organizations address questions about the application, implementation, and overall compliance with European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, in particular, its implications in the U.S., together with preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Working with organizations to develop and implement video, audio, and data-driven monitoring and surveillance programs. For instance, in the transportation and related industries, Joe has worked with numerous clients on fleet management programs involving the use of telematics, dash-cams, event data recorders (EDR), and related technologies. He also has advised many clients in the use of biometrics including with regard to consent, data security, and retention issues under BIPA and other laws.
  • Assisting clients with growing state data security mandates to safeguard personal information, including steering clients through detailed risk assessments and converting those assessments into practical “best practice” risk management solutions, including written information security programs (WISPs). Related work includes compliance advice concerning FTC Act, Regulation S-P, GLBA, and New York Reg. 500.
  • Advising clients about best practices for electronic communications, including in social media, as well as when communicating under a “bring your own device” (BYOD) or “company owned personally enabled device” (COPE) environment.
  • Conducting various levels of privacy and data security training for executives and employees
  • Supports organizations through mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations with regard to the handling of employee and customer data, and the safeguarding of that data during the transaction.
  • Representing organizations in matters involving inquiries into privacy and data security compliance before federal and state agencies including the HHS Office of Civil Rights, Federal Trade Commission, and various state Attorneys General.

Benefits counseling experience – Joe’s work in the benefits counseling area covers many areas of employee benefits law. Below are some examples of that work:

  • As part of the Firm’s Health Care Reform Team, he advises employers and plan sponsors regarding the establishment, administration and operation of fully insured and self-funded health and welfare plans to comply with ERISA, IRC, ACA/PPACA, HIPAA, COBRA, ADA, GINA, and other related laws.
  • Guiding clients through the selection of plan service providers, along with negotiating service agreements with vendors to address plan compliance and operations, while leveraging data security experience to ensure plan data is safeguarded.
  • Counsels plan sponsors on day-to-day compliance and administrative issues affecting plans.
  • Assists in the design and drafting of benefit plan documents, including severance and fringe benefit plans.
  • Advises plan sponsors concerning employee benefit plan operation, administration and correcting errors in operation.

Joe speaks and writes regularly on current employee benefits and data privacy and cybersecurity topics and his work has been published in leading business and legal journals and media outlets, such as The Washington Post, Inside Counsel, Bloomberg, The National Law Journal, Financial Times, Business Insurance, HR Magazine and NPR, as well as the ABA Journal, The American Lawyer, Law360, Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin, the Australian Privacy Law Bulletin and the Privacy, and Data Security Law Journal.

Joe served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith on the Missouri Court of Appeals.