Skip to main content

International group of privacy chiefs confront Google Glass security

Privacy officials from around the globe have penned a letter to Google, asking the search giant to answer questions about the security of Google Glass.

"Google Glass raises significant privacy issues and it is disappointing that Google has not engaged more meaningfully with data protection authorities about this technology. We are urging Google to take part in a real dialogue with us about Google Glass," Canada's privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, said in a statement.

At this point, Google Glass is still a work in progress and has only been made available to a handful of Glass "Explorers" who forked over $1,500 (£970) to try out a beta version of the futuristic specs. Google has said that it is still ironing out privacy-related issues, though it has banned porn apps and facial recognition, for now.

Still, Commissioner Stoddart - as well as officials from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland, Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia - wrote to Google chief Larry Page with a list of specific questions about how Glass operates.

They want to know whether Glass complies with data protection laws and requested details about privacy safeguards being put in place by Google and Glass app developers. The commissioners also want to know how Google will use any data it might collect, and asked if it has considered the social and ethical issues surrounding Glass as a whole.

The group also asked Google for a demo of the tech at Stoddart's office.

"We understand that other companies are developing similar products, but you are a leader in this area, the first to test your product 'in the wild' so to speak, and the first to confront the ethical issues that such a product entails," they wrote. "To date, however, most of the data protection authorities listed below have not been approached by your company to discuss any of these issues in detail."

In the US, members of Congress have also asked Google similar questions about Glass.