Google Glass privacy concerns raised by international data protection authorities

Officials asked Larry Page if they can test the frames and for details on how Google will use the data the device collects

The Australian privacy commissioner and 36 other data protection authorities on Tuesday raised privacy concerns about Google Glass in an open letter to CEO Larry Page.

Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's privacy commissioner, signed the letter. Co-signers include Europe's privacy watchdog the Article 29 Working Party and as well as the privacy commissioners of New Zealand and Canada and their counterparts in Mexico, Israel, and Switzerland, among others.

"We are writing to you as data protection authorities to raise questions from a privacy perspective about the development of Google Glass," the authorities wrote.

One of their main concerns with Google Glass is that people can use the frames to film and record others, the letter said.

"Fears of ubiquitous surveillance of individuals by other individuals, whether through such recordings or through other applications currently being developed, have been raised. Questions about Google's collection of such data and what it means in terms of Google's revamped privacy policy have also started to appear," they wrote.

The details of how Google Glass operates, how it could be used and how Google might use the data the technology collects have so far largely come from media reports that contain a great deal of speculation, the authorities said.

They strongly urged Page to "engage in a real dialogue with data protection authorities about Glass."

To understand more about the device, the officials raised several questions in the letter.

They want to know how Google Glass complies with data protection laws and what information Google collects via Glass. They asked how Google intends to use this information and what part of that information is shared with third parties.

Authorities wonder if Google is aware of the broader social and ethical issues raised by such a product, such as the "surreptitious collection of information about other individuals." They also asked if Google had undertaken a privacy risk assessment and if it would share the outcomes.

Moreover, the authorities would like a demonstrate of Glass and asked if Google would allow interested parties to test it.

Privacy officials understand that Google won't include facial recognition in Glass for now, but raised concerns about Google's future facial recognition plans.

"We are aware that these questions relate to issues that fall squarely within our purview as data protection commissioners, as well as to other broader, ethical issues that arise from wearable computing," they said.

"We would be very interested in hearing about the privacy implications of this new product and the steps you are taking to ensure that, as you move forward with Google Glass, individuals' privacy rights are respected around the world," they wrote.

Officials specifically asked Google to answer their privacy questions since the company is the leader with this technology and the first to test it publicly, they said. This makes Google the first company to confront the ethical issues raised by such a product, they wrote, adding that most data protection authorities who supported the letter haven't been approached by Google to discuss their concerns.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

JP 54, D2, and D6 EN590,JET A1 AVAILABLE ON FOB DIP AND TEST IN SELLER TANKWe Can supply Aviation Kerosene,Jet fuel (JP 54-A1,5), Diesel ...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

This article gave me a better understanding about content creation. I learned a lot like this website https://a2designlab.com/ also offer...

Ryota Miyagi

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

JP 54, D2, and D6 EN590,JET A1 AVAILABLE ON FOB DIP AND TEST IN SELLER TANKWe Can supply Aviation Kerosene,Jet fuel (JP 54-A1,5), Diesel ...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandateWe currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 with good and w...

Collins Johnson

3-pronged marketing approach for property disruptor Brickx

Read more

With a response rate of 80-90%, a well optimized chatbot is a must-have for every business. Check out this link to explore how you can en...

Drishti Khurana

How NRMA’s Arlo the Koala chatbot won over customers

Read more

Blog Posts

Life beyond the cookie: 5 steps to mapping the future of marketing measurement

​There’s no denying there’s been a whirlwind of response to the imminent demise of the third-party cookie from all parts of the industry. But as we’ve collectively come to better understand the implications, it’s clear this change is giving the digital advertising industry the opportunity to re-think digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy.

Natalie Stanbury

Director of research, IAB Australia

Ensuring post-crisis success

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed brands’ CX shortcomings and a lack of customer understanding. Given ongoing disruption, customer needs, wants and expectations are continually changing, also causing customers to behave in different ways. Just look at hoarding toilet paper, staple and canned food, medicinal and cleaning products.

Riccardo Pasto

senior analyst, Forrester

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Sign in