Congress pressures Google on Glass privacy concerns

By on May 17, 2013, 4:00 PM
google, larry page, congress, privacy, glass, google glass

As I’ve said before, Google is garnering a ton of press from Glass – a product that isn’t slated for release until sometime in 2014. While the majority of attention has been positive, some have called into question what could be described as pressing privacy issues.

The topic has since gone from casual discussion to a demand for answers as a Congressional privacy group recently requested that Google CEO Larry Page address several lingering privacy concerns regarding the technology. The bi-partisan group sent Page a letter containing eight questions with a deadline of June 14 to respond.

In it, the group asks how Google plans to prevent unintentional collection of data from users and non-users without consent. The second question is a multi-part question that deals with protecting the privacy of those not wearing Glass. Next up is a question designed to clarify facial recognition features and determine limits that Google will place on it to avoid invading privacy.

The next five questions simply dig deeper into Google’s plans for privacy. I’ll spare you for the sake of brevity but if you’re interested in reading through the entire letter, it can be viewed simply by clicking here.

In an interview with The New York Times on the matter, Google’s director of product management for Glass Steve Lee said they have consistently said they won’t add new face recognition features unless there are strong privacy protections in place. What’s more, he said they are thinking very carefully about how they design Glass because new technology always raises new issues.




User Comments: 22

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is just a dumb idea all the way around. No one has asked for anything like this or even implied it would be a good thing. Most folks seem perfectly content with their smartphones and tablets. Between tweaking the hardware/software to work as designed (especially on such a small frame) and dodging privacy lawsuits, I wouldn't be surprised if this goes the way of "New Coke" in a year or two.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

When's congress gonna do something productive

Guest said:

To bad to all those that care, suck it up, its life... if I can see you with my eyes, then you have no privacy anyways... roll with it or adapt to hermit life.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

HA. After the search and seizure of AP's phone records and the IRS abusing its power I would imagine that this "Congressional Privacy group" really just wants to see how they can use google glass to dig more info...Although I may just be feeling a bit conspiratorial atm with all the crazy things going on.

Nima304 said:

I'd actually love facial recognition in Glass, it reminds me so much of Iron Man's heads up display, where the names and some information about people could be pulled up automatically. I also have a hard time remembering names, this would solve that issue perfectly.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Has humanity learned anything? You would think that after the horrors of the slave trade and the Nazi treatment of the Jews that we would stop walking blindly into further control and slavery!! But No! Google and all the other corporations, the politicians and the bankers love all those little sheep who willingly sign their humanity and freedom away to them!

If humanity needs anything at this moment in time, it needs to remember that which supports its' life, namely the Earth beneath our feet. These "all for profit at any expense" companies will continue to take from the Earth and never give back. They will blind us with stories of great benevolence and charitable acts (no names mentioned) but if they do not make profit they are nothing.

These technological "illusions" are designed to make us forget our roots and to forget the great strengths that we possess as humans. We are highly sentient and telepathic beings, who by our education system are taught to deny, dismiss and fear our innate abilities. We do not need these objects. When we forget we become lost and the lost look for leaders and the leaders become corrupt and the corrupt will enslave in the name of power and greed!

If these corporations, politicians and bankers spent half their time, effort and (tax payers) money researching and developing free energy for humanity then we would be making progress but alas, I cannot see that day in my lifetime.

So go with the flow all you slaves out there who say, "it's new, its amazing." Chant the mantra of the corporations - "if you've not got it you're no one, a loser, a fool!!"

Hans Christian Anderson was a great teller of stories and moral of "The Emperors New Clothes" still rings true, more so today than ever!!

highlander84 said:

This is just a dumb idea all the way around. No one has asked for anything like this or even implied it would be a good thing. Most folks seem perfectly content with their smartphones and tablets. Between tweaking the hardware/software to work as designed (especially on such a small frame) and dodging privacy lawsuits, I wouldn't be surprised if this goes the way of "New Coke" in a year or two.

It would seem to me that any new technology has not been asked for. The benefits were usually seen after whatever it was was developed. Cell phones are a great example. I'm sure when they came out lots of people thought it was a stupid idea and were against it. So based off your comment we should not try to develop any new technology because what we have is good enough or the new things simply aren't needed. Cells phones are not NEEDED. People have them because they want them. Humans existed perfectly fine without them for more years than we have with them. It's perfectly possible Glass will flop...it is also possible its the new cell phone. I guess your picture fits well in this case...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess your picture fits well in this case...
That was uncalled for. You stated your opinion, there was no need in the insult. Letting you know, you have been reported.

highlander84 said:

That was uncalled for. You stated your opinion, there was no need in the insult. Letting you know, you have been reported.

It was not an insult. If he picked the picture I think it was for a reason was it not? I just pointed out what was already there. I guess when you point out something someone else has it becomes an insult? Why is he not reported for having that as his own picture to start with? Seems like your playing his side of the fence. So report him as well or revoke the report on me.

highlander84 said:

"creating things that don't exist" instead of being dragged down by negativity" ~ Larry Page

So why post something like this when your own people are doing EXACTLY this? This is pretty much exactly what I meant, just worded much much better than I could have. So report away and soon enough you will become FOX news?

kebab2000 kebab2000 said:

The device will probably end up being banned left right and centre in any case.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hopefully it will not be allowed in any public place, offices etc. Since it flaunts at the concept of privacy. At best, I see it nothing more than a fad.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Can you imagine everyone wearing these? The possibility of everyone having video evidence from an eye witness stand point.

highlander84 said:

Anything you do in public had a very high probability of being recorded anyways. Why do Americans care so much about their privacy in public? This is an oxymoron. Now, if someone comes in my house with a pair that is completely different. I think some people need to visit www.youtube.com if they are concerned about public privacy. People do not like what they do not understand. I can walk down town Boston, New York or any other large city with a video camera and record EVERYTHING and no one would bat an eye...but wear a pair of glasses that does the same and people flip out.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The difference is possibilities of unknown uses such media will create, since, all that data/info will be in control of one single person. On the contrary, mostly other cameras at public places are usually controlled by owners of some facility or police, and generally, they do not know you, hence, there is lot less chance of any direct privacy invasion (unless you do something unusual or unlawful).

1 person liked this | highlander84 said:

The difference is possibilities of unknown uses such media will create, since, all that data/info will be in control of one single person. On the contrary, mostly other cameras at public places are usually controlled by owners of some facility or police, and generally, they do not know you, hence, there is lot less chance of any direct privacy invasion (unless you do something unusual or unlawful).

You missed my point entirely. I said If anyone walks around with a camera they are free to do whatever they like with the video. This is no different from Glass. I did not mean camera's placed in public to monitor. I meant a person like myself with a camera, especially a small concealed camera. No problem there...but Glass...Huge problem... I can walk around all day with a hidden camera no one gives a crap. Even with a normal sized one, still no one cares.

1 person liked this | ballons said:

I guess highlander have a big point there and im sure that there is no problem with the glass being made. You never win against technology because that brought you here anyway. Laptop, fking wireless, internet, por* site, etc and when it become to glass its a big deal. haha. ppl this day.. =.="

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess highlander have a big point there
Highlander missed the possibility of glass running facial recognition software and notifying the world as to anyones whereabouts. I'm sure the camera's he was so vigorously comparing doesn't do that.

Edit:

I don't know about you, but I don't want the world knowing where our kids are 24/7.

1 person liked this | highlander84 said:

Highlander missed the possibility of glass running facial recognition software and notifying the world as to anyones whereabouts. I'm sure the camera's he was so vigorously comparing doesn't do that.

Edit:

I don't know about you, but I don't want the world knowing where our kids are 24/7.

Whats to stop me from running that same software on all the video I have captured? Better yet, lets take the live feeds that I can access over the internet...run said software. Exact same thing. It's stupid to think this is not already going on. You just do not have any visual indication of it happening. Like someone walking around with Glass. So again my point remains valid. At least with Glass you see what they are !possibly! doing. My method is completely anonymous. Yet you care about Glass, but not me doing it. So tell me now... which would you rather have now? I'd rather know they spit in my burger.

ballons said:

Btw, I dont think this topic will be an issue. As we look through the years, cars has been made around the world. Accident always occur and many people died because of it. Why bother to look a Glass that make your life easier and make such annoying statement that dont kill you.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Can you imagine everyone wearing these? The possibility of everyone having video evidence from an eye witness stand point.
Yeah, we could put an end to crime in its entirety. They'll be no more spitting or farting in public, once everybody has a pair of the new, revolutionary, Google Glass.

Of course the courts will have a huge backlog of "felony gum wrapper throwing cases".

Wait, we can have the spitters build more prisons for the farters, and vice-versa....

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I can see where they are coming from about the privacy concerns. Sure, you could use a regular camera to record everything you see anyways, but there are limitations to it that would not apply to Glass.

For example,

- Imagine being in a restaurant and wondering if the guy that just walked by with Glass recorded your credit card you had out?

- Imagine if somebody with Glass "accidentally" walked in on a girl changing.

- Imagine if a stalker started using it to gather up close material to feed his obsession.

- Imagine being a researcher or artist that spent years on his work, only to have his work stolen when the wrong person with Glass walked in.

- Imagine if somebody hacked your glass and saw everything you do in the privacy of your home.

Sure, they could technically do all of these with a camera, but they are two entirely different devices. It is a lot more difficult, if not impossible for people to get away with this stuff with a regular camera.

In the off chance they do get caught, it would be a lot harder to prove they did it. Plus all of it would probably be safely stored in the cloud by then anyways. Good luck going through the process of getting access to their account and deleting it before they can move it or make copies.

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