For every Android developer and fan, the bygone week was nothing short of a treat. With Google conducting major sessions for developers on improved environment for Android apps development to unveiling advanced features for some of its services namely Google+, Google Maps, Google Now etc, the show was a hit in every sense of the word. However, amidst the good there was certain speculations and concern that has put some members of U.S. congress at unrest. This concern was pertaining to the much hyped gadget of Google, the ‘Google Glass’.
Politician and member of Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) along with seven other of his colleagues has written a letter to Mr. Larry Page, Co-founder and CEO of Google, seeking explanations with respect to’ infringement of privacy’ that the gadget may entail. As many as eight questions have been raised of the following nature:
- Will Google ‘plan to prevent Google Glass from unintentionally collecting data about the user/non-users without consent?
- What proactive steps shall Google take to protect the privacy of non-users when Google Glass Is in use? Additionally, if Google Glass users decide to dispose to re-sale the device, is there a product capability within the devices that allows users to protect their private data?
- Is it true that the Facial Recognition Technology will allow Glass users to procure personal information about individuals they are viewing through the Glass?
- What will be the parameters of rejecting a Request that are “unreasonable, repetitive, risk of privacy of others and requires disproportionate technical effort”.
- What nature of information will Google collect from its users? And whether the information collected will be in the knowledge of the user?
- Will Google make Privacy a priority for future apps developer?
- Will Google Glass have the capacity to store any data onto the device? And will Google ensure some sort of user authentication system so as to safeguard data?
The concerns raised in these questions are serious as well as relevant. From the feel of it, Google Glass seems to be a great device and nothing short of a technological miracle. However, from a very logical stand, there are questions that need to be responsibly addressed. Apart from the how the users will use this device; there are concerns over the kind of application that the new gadget will support. For example, Michael DiGiovani, creator of the Glass application ‘Winky’, that allows any picture to be taken with just a blink of the eye has evoked major concern over privacy restrictions of Google Glass app developers.
The Google Glass team has assured that privacy will be a top priority. Mr. Steve Lee the product director of Google Glass said that “You’ll know when someone with Glass is paying attention to you. If you’re looking at Glass, you’re looking up.” This implies that Google Glass is not a mysterious, hidden device and when someone is using it, others will come to know about it.
To sum it up, the technological superiority of Google Glass is unprecedented, however public sale and purchase of such a product does raised pertinent questions related to privacy and security. At the I/O developer conference 2013, several developers were given training on how to develop applications for this new device. At the same time few social media veterans have severely criticized on the public usage of Google Glass. We will have to wait and watch the future of this device and how it is will impact individuals and varied aspects of day to day life.