Google Now Answers to Six Other Countries Over Glass

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.

Google bossman Larry Page has received yet another enquiry about the AR specs, this time from privacy commissioners located in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland, and Israel. Like the American government, they want to know how Google plans to use the information gathered by Glass, and how this data collection relates to Google's revised privacy policy.

"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).

  • Soda-88
    I can't see any legit use for an average Joe in Glass apart from having both of your hands free while recording your kittens/puppies for the internet.
    The whole concept of Glass reeks of spying/stalking (cheating in school comes to mind as well) and is surely going to make people around you very uncomfortable. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for anyone to know the name and whatever other information it might provide of every passer-by on the street.
    What makes all of this even worse is that you could essentially be tracked down hour per hour by different Glass users without neither you nor them knowing, providing Google with nice log files on your locations for sale to the highest bidder.
    This product just plain out stinks of dung to me. I hope it gets banned by the Court of Human Rights.
  • Claudio Tamai
    The problem is that like every electronic product it can be reprogrammed. So even if google respects every privacy law in the world, it's a breeze to trasform it into a spy machine. Just think about what spyware are able to do into our pc, and imagine to install one into the glasses....
  • velocityg4
    I'm less concerned about what Google plans to do with the data. Than say the NSA tapping into video feeds around the world for an unparalleled ability to spy or the UK. All in the name of public safety or stopping terrorism. While in reality it is used so the government can control it's populace or at least have the infrastructure in place to do so if it takes a bad turn, which can happen very quickly.
  • cats_Paw
    Like i said about 6 articles about glass before: i would not be surprised if this product dies before it retails. Not that i think it WILL happen, but its certainly a posibility.
  • SuckRaven
    Ironic how the U.S. gub'mint has concerns about the potential use of this for "spying".
  • cbfelterbush
    I think that a product like this is in our future weather you like it or not. I love it. You all think you have so many secrets, that seeing your face and having who you are pop up on the Glass users interface is some big erosion of your privacy. Wear a paper bag, probably couldn't hurt anyhow.

  • bigdragon
    Translation -- Only the government is allowed to do the spying. Spying on your government is not allowed!