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US firm touts Google Glass as emergency device for police, firefighters

A Connecticut-based company will show off Google Glass for law enforcement and emergency personnel at an upcoming public safety conference.

Mutualink, Inc. will be at APCO 2013 to demonstrate how Google's futuristic specs might be used for everything from allowing an EMT to review health records to helping firefighters access building blueprints.

"The capabilities that are made possible by combining Google Glass and Mutualink can save lives in many crisis response situations," Joe Mazzarella, senior vice president of Mutualink, said in a statement. "Though Google Glass is still in beta, we are quite enthusiastic to be at the cutting edge of technology, and taking a leading role with Google Glass and its novel implications from a societal benefit perspective."

The glasses would tap into the FirstNet 4G LTE network, the congressionally mandated first responder network that it still in the works. Mutualink, however, says that its technology would allow for departments with incompatible radio systems or communications devices to communicate with one another during an emergency.

"Mutualink also enables multimedia file sharing, and when this is combined with Google Glass, first responders could receive and view documents, images and schematics in real time," the company said.

Information is not shared via Mutualink unless the agency controlling the media resource accepts a request to share their information, the company said.

"All users manually control the sharing or un-sharing of their own media resources," it said. "Once disconnected, the session stops and there is no way for an outside party to access the media resources of others."

Data is not stored in a centralised database, but is distributed for security reasons, according to the company.

Mazzarella said he is not concerned about privacy issues surrounding Glass. "We believe there is a balance to be had, and we are strong advocates of purposeful, situational need driven information sharing within a secure and distributed owner-controlled environment," he said. "We don't believe that a centralized data sharing model is sound or ultimately privacy friendly. Cognitively aware information sharing is the state of the art and best solution to balancing legitimate interests of information sharing needs and privacy.

"In our world, thousands of discrete sharing decisions are made on an incident by incident basis, defined by need and relevance. This is a much better approach."

Glass, meanwhile, is still in its infancy and only open to the select few developers who forked over $1,500 (£960) at the 2012 Google I/O conference. Google will take their feedback into consideration before making the technology more widely available.