Congress demands answers on Google Glass privacy concerns

A letter from eight lawmakers poses a series of questions about Google Glass, the forthcoming Google spectacles. 

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    Google founder Sergey Brin poses for a portrait wearing Google Glass before the Diane von Furstenberg Spring/Summer 2013 collection show during New York Fashion Week in this September 9, 2012 file photo.
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Tester units of Google Glass are here. And so are concerns about privacy – not particularly surprising, considering that the Google goggles could allow folks to surreptitiously snap photos that people would prefer they didn't snap at all. (See also: "Blinky," the wink-powered Glass app.)

As ABC News reports today, the latest line of questioning comes from the members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, who are seeking details on Google's new hardware. 

"As members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of average Americans," reads a new letter sent by the group. "Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google's plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of answered questions that we share."

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The lawmakers go on to outline a series of questions, including the following: "What proactive steps is Google taking to protect the privacy of non-users when Google Glass is in use?" In other words, how exactly will Google stop Glass owners from taking creepshots

Google, as it happens, has already started to address these queries. At a panel at the big I/O developers conference out in San Francisco, Google reps stressed that Glass was designed to make it obvious that the device is in use – for instance, when its turned on, the small display on the glasses lights up. 

"If I'm recording you, I have to stare at you — as a human being. And when someone is staring at you, you have to notice," Google engineer Charles Mendis said this week at I/O, according to The Verge. "If you walk into a restroom and someone's just looking at you — I don't know about you but I'm getting the hell out of there."

Tried out Google Glass? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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