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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlehardware systemslegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?