Amid Privacy Concerns, Google to Reject Facial Recognition Apps on Glass -- For Now
Amid intensifying privacy concerns regarding Glass, Google's computerized eyewear, the tech giant is looking to calm any fears related to at least one of those issues: facial recognition. Over the weekend, the company posted a statement to Glass's Google+ page saying it will not permit Glass apps that utilize facial recognition technology until privacy issues are adequately addressed.
"We've been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass," Google's statement reads. "As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time."
The post comes about two weeks after members of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page asking that the company address several issues related to Glass and privacy. One of the top concerns addressed in the letter was the possibility that Glass could eventually be paired with facial recognition technology to allow wearers to access personal information about people or other objects they are viewing with the device.
Google has also updated its Google Glass developer policies to state that the device's camera or microphone should not be used to "cross-reference and immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than the user, including use cases such as facial recognition and voice print." Any apps that do will not be approved, it says.
According to the Congressional committee's letter, Google has until June 14 to respond to its questions regarding privacy and Glass.