The ability of Google Glasses to inconspicuously take photos or videos of subjects without their knowledge has a group of lawmakers concerned about the privacy of individuals. Members of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus of Congress headed by Rep. Joe Barton, Texas and seven others sent out a letter to Google’s Larry Page requesting answers on several issues of privacy concerns regarding the device.
The letter states that “As members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of average Americans. Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google’s plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of answered questions that we share.”
Some of the questions being raised are
- Will Glass collect users’ data without their consent?
- What steps are being taken to protect non-users’ privacy?
- Will Glass offer facial recognition to identify non-users and display information about them?
- What restrictions is Google placing on Glass and Glass apps?
- Will Glass store data on the device, and will it offer user authentication?
The concern of the committee is the possible use of facial recognition technology that will “unveil personal information about whomever … the user is viewing.” When Google Glasses will become available commercially it will only be a matter of time before someone will develop a program where you will only have to look at a person’s face to get their personal information such as their address, work history, marital status and measurements.
Google’s initial response stated that “We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues. Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.”
The search giant has until June 14 to reply to the letter sent by the lawmakers.