Lawmakers press Google on Glass privacy

CEO Larry Page was asked eight questions by a congressional privacy group and given until June 14 to answer

Members of a U.S. congressional group on privacy wrote Thursday to Google CEO Larry Page requesting information on how the futuristic device handles privacy issues.

The letter, signed by eight members of the Congressional Bi-partisan Privacy Caucus, poses eight questions to Page and asks for his response by June 14.

Google Glass is already in the hands of several thousand people who paid US$1,500 and applied to be among the first to test the head-mounted display. A small, plastic block in front of the user's right eye displays information being fed from the Internet, but most of the controversy is around the ability of a user to take photos and video using a camera mounted in the frame of the glasses.

"We are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American," the letter says. "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 unanswered questions that we share."

The questions mirror those being asked by others in the technology, retail and legal professions, by the media and by some members of the general public.

"When using Google Glass, is it true that this product would be able to use facial recognition technology to unveil personal information about whomever and even some inanimate objects that the user is viewing? Would a user be able to request such information? Can a non-user or human subject opt out of this collection of personal data? If so, how? If not, why not?" the letter asked.

Among other questions, the lawmakers ask what steps Google is taking to protect the privacy of non-users when a Glass wearer is nearby and whether the company is considering revising its privacy policy to recognise the sensory functions present in Glass.

And, touching upon several instances in the past where Google has confessed to collecting data without the permission of users, the letter also asks how Google plans to prevent such unintentional collection of data without consent.

The letter comes a day after Page told an audience in San Francisco that today's laws and regulations are slowing down what's possible with technology.

"There are many things, exciting things that you could do that you just can't do because they are illegal or they are not allowed by regulation," Page told the Google I/O conference. He accepted the slow pace of legal change was a good thing for society, because "we don't want our world to change too fast," but wanted more room for experimentation.

"I think as technologists, we should have places where we can try out new things and figure out what is the effect on society, what is the effect on people, without having to deploy it into the real world," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Data has been an increasingly critical factor in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and business operations.

James Bennett

Chief experience officer, Kalido

Our sharing future is both terrifying and exciting

Discussing the future in a realistic fashion is often a disappointing prospect. For all the talk of hoverboards, jetpacks and lightsabers changing the way we do things, the reality tends to end up being something as mundane as a slightly cheaper way to get around the city.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Queue experiences that are distinctive, memorable and shareable

Customer service that’s quick, easy and convenient has been shown to boost customer satisfaction. So it’s an odd juxtaposition that customer queues have become a sharable customer experience.

Hi James, shouldn't marketers also be focusing on collecting and utilizing up to date first-party profiling data on customers so that mes...

Tom

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Read more

Wouldn't reconnecting with younger consumers be in direct contravention of the code on alcohol advertising?

Tim Palmer

Vodka Cruiser reconnects with younger consumers via category-first Facebook Live campaign

Read more

Thanks for the article Jennifer, you raise some interesting points. The supermarket and shopping centre examples particularly struck a c...

Jill Brennan

Why marketers should take note of social robots

Read more

Winning the retail game is really tricky at this point in time. Many retailers have declared themselves as bankrupt. But yes harnessing t...

Vanessa.M.Magers

​Bricks and clicks: Balancing digital and physical to win the retail game

Read more

Excellent article, Thank you.

Steve Beards

How Aprimo hopes to help marketers tackle distribution of content, funds and data

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in