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American lawmakers worried about Google Glass ‘privacy’

There doesn’t seem a day without Google Glass being in the news and now eight members of Congress are demanding that Google address a range of privacy concerns over their Google Glass product.

The letter was sent to Larry Page, Google’s CEO and they asked eight questions, demanding a response by June 14th.

The letter said “We are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American. 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.”

The glasses may be high profile news already, but they are not yet on sale to members of the public. They connect to the internet and let people record videos and take photographs, send text messages and post directly to social networking websites. This isn’t the first time the video functionality has raised concerns in regards to people’s privacy.
Google's Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass at New York fashion week.

The NYTIMES add “The request, from the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, came as Google held its annual I/O developers conference in San Francisco, where it showed off Glass, gave software developers information about how to build apps for the device and introduced seven new apps, including ones from Facebook, Twitter and CNN.

The group, for which Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, is a co-chairman, asked questions including how Google would collect and store data from the devices, how it would ensure that it did not unintentionally collect private data, how Google would protect the privacy of people not using Glass when they are with people using it and whether the device would have facial recognition technology.”

Steve Lee, who is the director of product management for Google Glass has addressed the facial recognition question in a statement. He said “We’ve consistently said that we won’t add new face recognition features to our services unless we have strong privacy protections in place.”

This isn’t the first time Google have been in the media spotlight over privacy concerns. They have been punished over a social networking tool and more for Street View mapping.

Mr Lee has said that Google follow all the privacy and data collection policies with the Glass product and have incorporated social cues into the device to help prevent certain privacy violations. Users have to press a button or speak to Glass to take a photograph or record video and then look directly at whatever they are recording.

Kitguru says: It will be interesting to see how congress respond to Google’s answers in the coming month.

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