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

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

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in