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Google's response on Glass privacy disappointing to lawmakers

Hayley Tsukayama (via WP Bloomberg/ AFR) | July 2, 2013
Regulators worldwide want more information about how the company will handle Glass privacy concerns but their assurance was not enough to satisfy their lingering concerns.

In her letter to the caucus, Molinari noted that many functions of Glass, including video recording, require "social cues" that signal the device is active such as a vocal or physical prompt. Also, the headsets screen glows while in use, and developers have been prohibited from disabling that function.

"These signals help people understand what users are doing and give Glass users means for employing etiquette in any given situation," said Molinari, a former congresswoman from New York.

Barton has also questioned whether Google Glass could be used to build a database of people's faces. But Molinari said Google has no current plans to allow facial recognition technology on Google Glass.

Barton, who had the opportunity to use Glass during a Google visit to Capital Hill, said he'd like to see industry players such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo work with lawmakers and regulators to come up with laws that protect privacy while allowing companies to make innovative products such as wearable devices.

"I'm not anti-Google and not anti-technology, but I do think both political parties need to come together and update privacy protection laws for the 21st century," Barton said. "We're at a point where the technology is outstripping the common sense ability to protect people's basic privacy rights."


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