Report: NYPD Tests Google Glass

Glass could help police patrols, but facial recognition apps are banned.

An attendee tries Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013, in San Francisco, California.

NYPD is beta testing Google Glass, raising civil liberties concerns.

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The New York City Police Department has bought pairs of Google Glass to test whether the smart visors would be useful for its officers, according to tech blog VentureBeat.

[READ: Can Wearing Google Glass Get You Kicked Out of a Movie? SCOTUS May Help Decide]

If this were true the smart visors could make police work more efficient – but not with the use of facial recognition applications, which Google banned on Glass in 2013 after customer feedback voiced concerns about privacy.

The smart visors are available for $1,500 each through the Glass Explorer program, which currently includes more than 10,000 users. The Explorer program is open to any applicant who is a U.S. resident older than the age of 18. 

According to the Glass Developer Policies facial recognition apps cannot be found on the company’s MyGlass app store, making it difficult to find any “jailbroken” facial recognition programs designed for Glass by hackers. 

Some of the applications included on Glass so far include Google Maps navigation, photography and voice search for questions, which could come in handy for patrol officers to access information about their city while keeping their hands free. It could help officers record and dictate video reports to bypass paperwork, or even help match suspects’ names to information in police and federal law databases.

[ALSO: Google Glass Gets Political With New Apps]

If the NYPD starts using Glass it could expand a mainstream discussion about the rights and limits of people to wear them in public. An Ohio man was removed from a movie theater in January while wearing Glass on the accusation that he was recording a film. A California woman also was given a traffic ticket in January for wearing Glass while driving, on the accusation that it counted as distracted driving with a mobile device.