Google Glass raises international privacy concerns
Officials in many countries ask Larry Page if they can test the frames and for details on how Google will use the data the device collects
IDG News Service - The Canadian privacy commissioner and 36 other data protection authorities on Tuesday raised privacy concerns about Google Glass in an open letter to CEO Larry Page.
Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's privacy commissioner, signed the letter. Co-signers include Europe's privacy watchdog the Article 29 Working Party, as well as the privacy commissioners of New Zealand and Australia and their counterparts in Mexico, Israel and Switzerland, among others.
"We are writing to you as data protection authorities to raise questions from a privacy perspective about the development of Google Glass," the authorities wrote.
One of their main concerns with Google Glass is that people can use the frames to film and record others, the letter said.
The details of how Google Glass operates, how it could be used and how Google might use the data the technology collects have so far largely come from media reports that contain a great deal of speculation, the authorities said.
They strongly urged Page to "engage in a real dialogue with data protection authorities about Glass."
To understand more about the device, the officials raised several questions in the letter.
They want to know how Google Glass complies with data protection laws and what information Google collects via Glass. They asked how Google intends to use this information and what part of that information is shared with third parties.
Authorities wonder if Google is aware of the broader social and ethical issues raised by such a product, such as the "surreptitious collection of information about other individuals." They also asked if Google had undertaken a privacy risk assessment and if it would share the outcomes.
Moreover, the authorities would like a demonstration of Glass and asked if Google would allow interested parties to test it.
Privacy officials understand that Google won't include facial recognition in Glass for now, but raised concerns about Google's future facial recognition plans.
"We are aware that these questions relate to issues that fall squarely within our purview as data protection commissioners, as well as to other broader, ethical issues that arise from wearable computing," they said.
"We would be very interested in hearing about the privacy implications of this new product and the steps you are taking to ensure that, as you move forward with Google Glass, individuals' privacy rights are respected around the world," they wrote.
Officials specifically asked Google to answer their privacy questions since the company is the leader with this technology and the first to test it publicly, they said. This makes Google the first company to confront the ethical issues raised by such a product, they wrote, adding that most data protection authorities who supported the letter haven't been approached by Google to discuss their concerns.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enabling devices and device management for your mobility/BYOD program In this white paper, learn how to select the right mobile devices for your organization and manage them with efficiency, flexibility and security...
- Agility & Scalability for Oracle EBS R12 and RAC on VMware vSphere 5 This white paper outlines extensive performance and scalability testing of Oracle EBS applications on a Vblock™ Systems with vSphere 5.
- Oracle and VCE: The Next Step in Integrated Computing Platforms In this ESG Lab review you will learn how a VCE system driven by Oracle, delivers the perfect blend of high performance and...
- Migrate Oracle Apps from RISC/UNIX to Virtualized x86 Ready to move Oracle to a virtualized environment? This brief explains how true converged infrastructure can help you migrate from a RISC/UNIX environment...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Personal Technology White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!