Google Glass Privacy Response Upsets US Congressman


US Congressman Joe Barton doesn’t get the answers he was after

A US congressman has expressed his disappointment in Google, after he sought to get privacy assurances from the tech titan over the wearable Google Glass technology.

Congressman Joe Barton wrote to the firm earlier this year asking how it would stop Google Glass collecting people’s private data without first getting their consent and how it would protect non-users’ personal information.

He also asked if Google would update its privacy policy to include Glass-related points.

GoogleglassMany fear, given Google’s previous mishaps, such as the pilfering of personal data over Wi-Fi by its Street View cars, Glass will infringe on people’s privacy. The most-voiced concern is that it will democratise surveillance, allowing for easy and secretive filming of others.

Google Glass privacy response

Whilst Google said it was working on ensuring privacy with Glass, it said decent safeguards were already in place, such as the necessity to say out loud what action you wanted Glass to take.

That might stop people secretly filming others but, as seen in a recent TechWeek interview with Rackspace’s Robert Scoble, the microphone can pick up whispered commands.

Google said no changes would be made to its already controversial privacy policy, which has been slammed for allowing the company to share user data between its different services even where customers aren’t using one of its products.

Yesterday evening, Barton said he was disappointed in Google’s response. “There were questions that were not adequately answered and some not answered at all. Google Glass has the potential to change the way people communicate and interact,” he added.

“When new technology like this is introduced that could change societal norms, I believe it is important that people’s rights be protected and vital that privacy is built into the device. I look forward to continuing a working relationship with Google as Google Glass develops.”

Google is getting quizzed across the globe about Glass. Last month, a host of privacy watchdogs, including a group of European regulators, wrote to the technology giant asking similar questions to Barton. Needless to say, it will have a lot of explaining to do over the coming months as the general release of Google Glass draws close.

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