The idea of Google Glass is certainly interesting, pumping information into the user's field of view via a tiny little screen that only he/she can see. Heck, taking a picture by merely winking is an eye is awesome in itself. However the possible privacy invasion baggage that's currently strapped to Google's upcoming flagship device is undoubtedly rather alarming, enough so that not only is the American government asking questions, but six other countries as well.
"We understand that other companies are developing similar products, but you are a leader in this area, the first to test your product “in the wild” so to speak, and the first to confront the ethical issues that such a product entails," the letter states. "To date, however, most of the data protection authorities listed below have not been approached by your company to discuss any of these issues in detail."
The letter provides eight questions which ask how Google Glass will comply with data protection laws, what privacy safeguards Google and Glass developers are putting into place, what information Google collects with Glass, what information is shared with third parties, and what Google plans to do with the information. They also want to know how Google plans to address facial recognition in the future, its plans for broader social and ethical issues, and so on.
"We are aware that these questions relate to issues that fall squarely within our purview as data protection commissioners, as well as to other broader, ethical issues that arise from wearable computing," the letter states. "Nevertheless, we feel it is important for us to raise all of these concerns."
"We would be very interested in hearing about the privacy implications of this new product and the steps you are taking to ensure that, as you move forward with Google Glass, individuals’ privacy rights are respected around the world," the letter adds.
Like the American government, information gained regarding Glass has only stemmed from what's been written in the news. That said, it seems that Google hasn't gone out of its way to let any government official know that Glass does not invade privacy laws, especially now that around 1,000 units are now out in the wild.
Too bad we didn't have Google Glass for E3. Google Glass? No sir, these are just my reading specs (click).