Google Glass privacy storm: US politicians demand answers

A group of US politicians has raised privacy concerns with Google over its controversial wearable tech product, Google Glass.

'Project Glass' was unveiled a year ago by the search giant and has generated as much criticism as it has excitement, due to its ability to take photographs, record video and deliver information to the user without any obvious signs they are operating the specs.

Many observers are worried about how the product may invade people’s privacy when it is launched next year, and campaigns like ‘Stop the Cyborgs’ have emerged in retaliation.

Now the same issues are being raised by a congressional caucus in the US, who have signed a letter to Larry Page asking the CEO to explain how Google will address privacy issues around Glass.

“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 letter reads. “Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google’s plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of unanswered questions that we share.”

The letter goes on to outline eight key points of contention, asking whether Glass collects data without user consent, if Google is taking proactive steps to address the privacy of non-users, whether its facial recognition feature will be able to unveil personal information of those around you, if refinements will be made to Google’s overall privacy policy given Glass’s unprecedented capabilities, if privacy will be made a priority for app developers, and how data will be protected on the device itself.

Signed by eight members of Congress, the letter requests a response to each of the questions by 14 June 2014.

ITProPortal commentary has already been debating whether Google Glass will make privacy a thing of the past, and if there is indeed a dark side to the technology.

Away from Glass, Google’s other areas of innovation, including new software features revealed at the company's I/O conference last week, have also had their privacy implications put under the spotlight.