Rep. Barton ‘disappointed’ by Google’s answers on Glass privacy

“When new technology like this is introduced that could change societal norms, I believe it is important that people’s rights be protected and vital that privacy is built into the device. I look forward to continuing a working relationship with Google as Google Glass develops,” he said. 

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. 

Barton expressed his concerns about the product to Google CEO Larry Page in a letter in May that was also signed by Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rich Nugent (R-Fla), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).

Among other concerns, the lawmakers asked whether users would be able to access facial-recognition technology to scan and identify people.

Susan Molinari, the head of Google’s Washington office, responded to the lawmakers on June 7. She said the device does not have any facial recognition capability, and the company will not be approving any third-party facial recognition apps “at this time.”

Whenever users take pictures or record videos, they active the Glass display, which people around them can notice, Molinari said. App developers are barred from disabling or turning off the display.  

Molinari explained that Glass users will be able to access a “MyGlass” site that will allow them to view and control their settings. The site will allow users to disable items and delete data.

“We aim to provide the world’s strongest security and privacy policies, as well as easy-to-use tools,” Molinari wrote. “”As we do for all our products, we are carefully reviewing the design of Glass for privacy considerations as part of Google’s comprehensive privacy program. This includes designing Glass with privacy in mind and ensuring Google has obtained appropriate consent from Glass users.”  

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