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.

ADVERTISEMENT

The letter was signed by Reps. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonLongtime GOP aide to launch lobbying shop Katie Hill resignation reignites push for federal 'revenge porn' law Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement MORE (R-Texas), John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowRepublican wins Georgia secretary of state runoff to replace Kemp The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of Our democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget MORE (D-Ga.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotSECURE it — for small businesses and their workers Bottom Line Consequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears MORE (R-Ohio), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonBlack lawmakers condemn Trump's 'lynching' remarks Maloney to serve as acting Oversight chairwoman after Cummings's death The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (D-Ga.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesRepublican Greg Murphy wins special election in NC's 3rd District Early voting extended in NC counties impacted by Dorian ahead of key House race The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina special election poses test for GOP ahead of 2020 MORE (R-N.C.), Rich NugentRichard (Rich) B. NugentRepublicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt Former aide will run to replace lawmaker MORE (R-Fla), Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension 50 Cent meets with Pelosi, lawmakers on Capitol Hill MORE (D-Ill.) and Loretta SanchezLoretta L. SanchezDisputed North Carolina race raises prospect of congressional probe Feinstein advances to general election, opponent undetermined Feinstein challenger faces uphill battle 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.