Google will not approve facial recognition apps for Google Glass, at least for the moment, until it ensures that strict privacy protections are established. Thus, such facial recognition apps still have hope of getting approved once the Mountain View, California-based technology giant is able to guarantee that they may not be used in privacy abuses.
Google’s announcement, which was posted on its Google Plus page, stems from expressions of concern that it had received regarding the possibility of apps that have a facial recognition function.
Such concerns have already reached Congress, where US Congressman Joe Barton, wrote a letter to Google about the feature’s potential for misuse. Such letter, which was a response to Google’s claim that the product lets users capture and share images and messages, was signed by several other lawmakers.
In the letter, Barton and the others questioned Google on several points. The first one asks for more details about Facial Recognition Technology, particularly about whether people could choose not to be included in the device’s ability to record and share images taken of them by users of Google Glass. Next, it tried to clarify whether Google Glass would record information without consent. Lastly, it wanted more details on the capability of Google Glass to store information on the device, and whether there could be some assurance that the data stored would be protected.
In addition to the statement on Google Plus, Google also updated the device’s developer site. It now states that applications using the camera to identify other subjects, such as those with facial recognition and voice print functions, are currently not approved.
The Next Web notes that the new policy regarding facial recognition apps only covers Glassware apps.
At this point, it is still unclear when Google will release its privacy protection policies that will allow for the approval of facial recognition apps.