Congressman Joe Barton of Texas expressed his disappointment with the response of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) regarding concerns raised by the members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus related to its new product, Google Glass.
According to Cong. Barton, the social network giant failed to provide a complete answer to all the questions asked by the members of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus regarding the privacy implications of Google Glass.
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“I am disappointed in the responses we received from Google. There were questions that were not adequately answered and some not answered at all. Google Glass has the potential to change the way people communicate and interact. When new technology like this is introduced that could change societal norms, I believe that people’s rights be protected and vital that privacy is built into the device,” wrote Cong. Barton in a statement.
Caucus Concerned About Privacy Infringement
The members of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Larry Page, chief executive officer of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) indicating that they are curious about the Google Glass technology, and if it could “infringe the privacy of the average American.” The lawmakers also expressed that they are uncertain about the search engine giant’s plan to add privacy protections on the device.
The lawmakers asked Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to provide information regarding its plans to prevent Google Glass from unintentionally collecting data about a user/non-user without consent. They also asked what proactive steps the company will implement to protect the privacy rights of non-users when Google Glass is in use.
In their letter, the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus noted that the search engine giant had been investigated for collecting information from unencrypted networks worldwide, and agreed to pay $7 million to settle the charges against it.
In response to the lawmakers’ questions, Page wrote that the top priorities of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are to protect users and its objective is to provide the world’s best security and privacy policies as well as easy-to-use tools.
Page emphasized that the company is “carefully reviewing the design of Glass for privacy considerations as part of Google’s comprehensive privacy program.”
Google Glass Has Safety and Privacy Features
“Google does not provide any facial recognition capabilities in Glass, and we will not be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time. We’ve consistently said that Google won’t add face recognition features to our own services unless we have privacy protection in place,” wrote Page in response to the question as to whether or not Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will integrate facial recognition technology in the device.
With regard to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s policy that it may reject requests that might jeopardize the privacy of others, Page explained that the company wants to make sure that requests to access stored personal information are legitimate and handled appropriately.
Page also pointed out that the company encouraged all developers to take user privacy seriously in developing apps for Glass. Furthermore, he also stated that users have the ability to safeguard their stored data in the device. He explained that a user can erase all the data stored in Google Glass remotely using his or her Google account login to MyGlass, in the event the device has been compromised or misplaced.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has already shipped the Glass Explorer Edition in April. The first batch of Google Glass owners paid $1,500 for the device.