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Google Banning Facial Recognition Apps on Glass

By - Source: Google | B 27 comments

For now, Google is not accepting apps with facial recognition.

The Google Glass team updated its Google Plus status with an announcement that, for now, facial recognition apps will not be allowed of the company's wearable tech. This is certainly good news for privacy advocates who have already grown weary over the thought that wearers could possibly take anyone's picture with just a blink of an eye.

"We've been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass," the team states. "As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time."

"We’ve learned a lot from you in just a few weeks and we’ll continue to learn more as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead,' Google adds.

The Glass policies now state that app developers can't use the camera or microphone to "cross-reference and immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than the user, including use cases such as facial recognition and voice print." Applications that do this will not be approved "at this time."

App developers are also prevented from turning off the little light above the eye (AKA the display) when the camera is in use. Thus, it must remain active or become active when taking a picture and stay active during a video recording so that non-Glass wearers are more aware that the specs are in use.

"We take security very seriously: we can suspend your application without notice if it appears to have a security or stability issue that could affect Google or its users," the company states.

Google's Glass update in regards to facial recognition arrives after Congress submitted a number of questions to Larry Page over privacy concerns related to Glass and its embedded camera. One of those focused on facial recognition which could possibly unveil personal information about anyone the Glass 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?

"As members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American," the letter states. "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."

For now, it seems that Google has addressed that concern.

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  • 11 Hide
    superblahman123 , June 4, 2013 10:20 AM
    I wonder how well these rules will apply to jailbroken Glass and a small piece of ducktape over the LED...
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    superblahman123 , June 4, 2013 10:20 AM
    I wonder how well these rules will apply to jailbroken Glass and a small piece of ducktape over the LED...
  • -6 Hide
    superblahman123 , June 4, 2013 10:21 AM
    I wonder how well these rules will apply to jailbroken Glass and a small piece of ducktape over the LED...
  • 6 Hide
    aeurix , June 4, 2013 10:22 AM
    I got into a discussion with my hardcore libertarian friend about something like this. It came down to basically anywhere your personal eyes can view, you should be allowed to record.
    So you could prevent trespassers from filming while on your property, by stopping them from entering your property (same with security at banks, top secret govt. agencies, etc.) if you didn't want it on camera.
    I would love to have a Google Glass App that told me I was walking by a celebrity or famous scientist...
  • 8 Hide
    kawininjazx , June 4, 2013 10:23 AM
    Google is worried about our privacy, I lol'd.
  • 5 Hide
    superblahman123 , June 4, 2013 10:23 AM
    Sorry for double post... hitting F5 after a post does not bode well as a preventative.
  • 6 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 4, 2013 10:29 AM
    They are just holding back the tide with this. As soon as Glass goes public in an affordable way apps will come out for this immediately.
    Personally, I agree with aeurix's friend. It should be legal to record/analyze any sounds/images from public property. The only way to mostly prevent this is to completely ban any device that records video.
  • -5 Hide
    Mike Honcho , June 4, 2013 10:35 AM
    My mom told me I couldn't stay out past midnight when I was younger. Guess what? I did anyway. Stay classy Google. Privacy is overrated to you guys.
  • -3 Hide
    Mike Honcho , June 4, 2013 10:35 AM
    My mom told me I couldn't stay out past midnight when I was younger. Guess what? I did anyway. Stay classy Google. Privacy is overrated to you guys.
  • 2 Hide
    neodude007 , June 4, 2013 10:52 AM
    I am having a hard time seeing what is different about Glass vs a smartphone that can already do the same thing in terms of privacy. Are people freaking out about Glass simply because it is harder to tell WTF the person wearing them is making it do???! That seems sillly.
    Anybody can put their phone in video recording mode, hold it to their ear like they are talking and walk around a gym locker room and record faces/wangs. Glass is different how...?
  • 1 Hide
    hoofhearted , June 4, 2013 11:00 AM
    Sideload the Spokeo APK. It will hover a balloon over them with their income, street address, etc. Then a GPS style app the will show a virtual arrow going to their house like in Bioshock Infinite. Muggers should have an easier time picking their marks now.
  • 0 Hide
    hausman , June 4, 2013 11:07 AM
    Why not allow facial/voice recognition for people already in your contacts? Seems to me to be a way to allow for technological advancement while protecting the privacy of strangers.
  • 4 Hide
    zoemayne , June 4, 2013 11:12 AM
    so the jailbroken glasses will have all the porn and face recognition stuff
  • 6 Hide
    Jacek Ringwelski , June 4, 2013 11:12 AM
    I don't see what the issue is. If you are on public property the 1st amendment grants you the right to take pictures and video of ANYTHING you want. What you do with that information is your own business, it does not violate anyone's right to look them up as the information you are looking up is public knowledge. ie. A criminal record and driving record check will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about a person.
    I can see this as being a GREAT tool for use by police officers. Forget dash mounted camera's in their cars, here comes google glass with face recognition. Big RED target sign over anyone with an outstanding warrant, instant driving record when you approach a vehicle. Just think of the possibilities! Heck google glass can even examine your eyes while the police officer talks to you to detect intoxication or the probability you are lying the to police officer.
  • 3 Hide
    bak0n , June 4, 2013 12:04 PM
    Now how am I going to verify targets I was sent to kill...
  • 0 Hide
    unksol , June 4, 2013 2:51 PM
    Quote:
    I got into a discussion with my hardcore libertarian friend about something like this. It came down to basically anywhere your personal eyes can view, you should be allowed to record.
    So you could prevent trespassers from filming while on your property, by stopping them from entering your property (same with security at banks, top secret govt. agencies, etc.) if you didn't want it on camera.
    I would love to have a Google Glass App that told me I was walking by a celebrity or famous scientist...


    Than only applies to PUBLIC locations. The vast majority of places you go are not public and all have rules, many with "no photography/recording". Is it ILLEGAL? No. But you dont have any rights on private property, including the mall/grocery store. You don't follow the rules you get thrown out.
  • 2 Hide
    dalethepcman , June 4, 2013 2:57 PM
    Quote:
    I don't see what the issue is. If you are on public property the 1st amendment grants you the right to take pictures and video of ANYTHING you want.....I can see this as being a GREAT tool for use by police officers.....


    Boiled down the 1st amendment prevents the making of laws that would impede Freedom of speech, press, assembly and the right to petition. Where did you read "and the right to record video and audio of anyone on public property"?

    In many states it is illegal to record audio or video of any person without their prior knowledge or consent. This directly relates to the 5th amendment self-incrimination, the 4th amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and the 1st amendment freedom of speech and the right to assemble. Sure, you might not be available for trial in a federal court, but you could still rot in a state prison easy enough.

    As a tool for police, rural police are primarily elected to their positions and have to play by the rules to keep their jobs. City police on the other hand are generally immune to the effects of abusing the rights of or breaking laws placed on normal citizens.

    The potential for abuse of facial recognition software in the hands of police is far greater than any benefit that could be had from using it. "Who watches the watchmen?" As for military, counter intelligence, or anti-terrorist uses this could be a great tool, but for police it would be far overstepping their authority.
  • 0 Hide
    unksol , June 4, 2013 3:38 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I don't see what the issue is. If you are on public property the 1st amendment grants you the right to take pictures and video of ANYTHING you want.....I can see this as being a GREAT tool for use by police officers.....


    Boiled down the 1st amendment prevents the making of laws that would impede Freedom of speech, press, assembly and the right to petition. Where did you read "and the right to record video and audio of anyone on public property"?

    In many states it is illegal to record audio or video of any person without their prior knowledge or consent. This directly relates to the 5th amendment self-incrimination, the 4th amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and the 1st amendment freedom of speech and the right to assemble. Sure, you might not be available for trial in a federal court, but you could still rot in a state prison easy enough.

    As a tool for police, rural police are primarily elected to their positions and have to play by the rules to keep their jobs. City police on the other hand are generally immune to the effects of abusing the rights of or breaking laws placed on normal citizens.

    The potential for abuse of facial recognition software in the hands of police is far greater than any benefit that could be had from using it. "Who watches the watchmen?" As for military, counter intelligence, or anti-terrorist uses this could be a great tool, but for police it would be far overstepping their authority.


    So to be clear, your position is that police instantly knowing if they are looking at a suspect, or wanted criminal (who is a danger to you) and arresting them is much MUCH worse than them having to stop, question, and possibly detain innocent people trying.to find the suspect? Let me hold your tinfoil hat.

    That's like arguing license plate scanners are abused. The system. And the cops. Don't give a farm who you are and it doesn't even register unless the COURT is looking for you.

    most of us don't live in horrible giant cities and have no issues with police. Most who do live in horrible cities don't have problems. the police divisions that get out of hand are operating in criminal areas where they can get away with it, and hiring corrupt people. And for the most part the corrupt cops in major scandals are just criminals "abusing" other criminals.
  • 1 Hide
    blurr91 , June 4, 2013 3:53 PM
    Quote:
    I don't see what the issue is. If you are on public property the 1st amendment grants you the right to take pictures and video of ANYTHING you want. What you do with that information is your own business, it does not violate anyone's right to look them up as the information you are looking up is public knowledge. ie. A criminal record and driving record check will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about a person.
    I can see this as being a GREAT tool for use by police officers. Forget dash mounted camera's in their cars, here comes google glass with face recognition. Big RED target sign over anyone with an outstanding warrant, instant driving record when you approach a vehicle. Just think of the possibilities! Heck google glass can even examine your eyes while the police officer talks to you to detect intoxication or the probability you are lying the to police officer.


    How about if I take the publicly available information on cops, and load them to a data base. Anyone with an app will instantly know if there's an off duty or undercover cop roaming about?

    We still have the police roster as public information, do we not? Or have we advanced to using secret police to do government biddings?
  • 0 Hide
    echozero , June 4, 2013 5:55 PM
    People have problem with this? It is not just for privacy but also safety for everyone.
    Other than what blurr91 have said it will be nightmare for law reinforcement.
    Have you ever consider what it will happen if it fall into wrong hand? Stalker / sex predator don't even need to stalk to know their victims. They can just scan and they will know everything of his potential targets instantly while drink at coffee shop or wait for public transportation.
  • 0 Hide
    David Zientara , June 4, 2013 6:11 PM
    Sounds like a good way for Google to shield itself from legal liability while jailbroken versions of Google Glass would be able to run the facial recognition apps.
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