Lawmakers fear privacy risks from Google Glass

Eight members of Congress raised privacy fears about Google's wearable computer, Google Glass, expressing concern the device could allow users to identify people on the street and look up personal information about them.

The lawmakers, members of the congressional Privacy Caucus, said they are concerned users could access individuals' addresses, marital status, work history and hobbies.

“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 lawmakers wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.

The letter was signed by Reps. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonBoth sides of immigration fight unhappy with Senate debate Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future Lawmakers unveil landmark overhaul of sexual harassment policies MORE (R-Texas), John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (D-Ga.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotProtecting the cybersecurity of small businesses and their consumers Overnight Cybersecurity: Ryan urges lawmakers not to overplay intel memo | Spotlight on cyber threats to small businesses | The Hill sits down with DHS cyber chief | CIA expects more election interference Lawmakers to Saudi, UAE ambassadors: Lift Yemen blockade immediately MORE (R-Ohio), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonMilitary equipment for police should require military-style oversight House votes on US involvement in Yemen Lawmaker apologizes for comparing Israeli settlers to termites MORE (D-Ga.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesGOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 US expands air campaign to northern Afghanistan MORE (R-N.C.), Rich NugentRichard (Rich) B. NugentFormer aide will run to replace lawmaker Florida GOP lawmaker who opposed Boehner will retire The dozen rebels targeted by GOP leaders MORE (R-Fla), Bobby RushBobby Lee RushPrivatizing Puerto Rico’s energy utility could be Whitefish 2.0 Fox's Wallace: 'It's a mistake' for Dems to boycott State of the Union Five things to watch for in Trump’s State of the Union MORE (D-Ill.) and Loretta SanchezLoretta L. SanchezFeinstein challenger faces uphill battle Calif. Senate candidate 'dabs' at debate California Republican endorses Democrat's Senate bid MORE (D-Calif.).

Google Glass, which is still under development, uses a voice interface to allow users to take pictures, send messages, look up directions or access the Internet. 

The lawmakers asked what kind of data Glass will collect, whether it will be able to use facial-recognition technology and whether people will be able to opt out of data collection.

They asked Page to explain how Google will decide whether to reject third-party applications based on privacy concerns and whether the company plans to alter its privacy policy.  

“We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues," a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology — and we're excited to hear the feedback.”

The lawmakers noted that Google has run into problems with government regulators before over privacy violations, including for collecting information from home Wi-Fi networks without permission. They asked the company to explain how it will ensure that Glass does not unintentionally collect data without people's permission.