Several members of Congress have submitted a letter to Google CEO Larry Page (pdf) asking about privacy concerns related to Google Glass and its embedded camera.
Created on May 16, the letter quotes articles published by The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, the first of which talks about the facial recognition technology pulling up a stranger's information such as his/her address, measurements, hobbies and so on. The Forbes article in question reports about that bar in Seattle that has banned users from entering with Glass on their face.
"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."
The letter then dives into the 2010 controversy surrounding Google collecting information from unencrypted networks across the globe without permission. The company just recently coughed up $7 million to settle charges with 38 local states for the collection of data, and even admitted that it did not adequately protect the privacy of consumers. What does Google plan to do to prevent Google Glass from unintentionally doing something similar?
That's just one question; there are eight in all. Others ask about the extent of privacy considered when approving the app for the New York Times. Another wants to know what device-specific data Google plans to collect, and will this data be collected without the user's knowledge or consent. Others question about the facial recognition aspect while another asks Google what it plans to do to proactively protect the privacy of non-users when Glass is in use.
"Please provide examples of when Google would reject requests on Google Glass that would risk the privacy of others," the letter states. "Would Google place limits on the technology and what type of information it can reveal about another person? If so, please explain. If not, why not?"
The letter, signed by eight members of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus including co-chairman Joe Barton, requests that Larry Page respond to the questions no later than Friday, June 14, 2013.