In move that probably surprises no one, Google has once again faced scrutiny for Project Glass, the company’s attempt at making wearable technology a ‘thing’. This time, the search-giant received a letter sent by ten government privacy and data protection officials residing in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
The officials did not outwardly attack the California-based company, but rather asked to learn more about the actual device, requesting an exclusive demo of the yet-to-be released product. According to the New York Times, the letter asked, “Would Google be willing to demonstrate the device to our offices and allow any interested data protection authorities to test it?” The other major concern was what Google would do with information collected by the devices, and how the company would handle “the broader social and ethical issues” that the technology would present.
Despite the concerns, Larry Page, Google’s CEO, is adamant that Glass does not pose a threat to public privacy. He compared his product to any smartphone on the market, explaining how any handheld device can take concealed pictures and videos just as easily. He added, “People worry about a lot of things that, when we use the products, don’t turn out to be an actual concern.”
Page also pointed out that several of his employees use the wearable tech on a daily basis, and it hasn’t led to any fear in the workplace.
Although Google has made its stance on the issue clear, at least they have addressed some of the privacy concerns that have been raised. Last month, the company announced that facial recognition software would be prohibited, and that a complete data wipe could be executed if the device was ever lost or stolen.
Do you think the issues raised by the government officials are a legitimate concern, or is Page right in dismissing these fears as baseless?