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 BartonGOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority Privacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Texas New Members 2019 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 ChabotHouse Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address MORE (R-Ohio), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonWhitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union MORE (D-Ga.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesHouse pays tribute to Walter Jones GOP leader presses Trump to agree to border deal House passes resolution honoring Walter Jones 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 RushDem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union Dem leaders avert censure vote against Steve King 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.