Congress Overreacts to Google Glass – Privacy Concerns Seem Unwarranted

Google Glass caused a bit of a stir amongst several members of Congress. Eight representatives of Congress sent a letter to Google CEO, Larry Page, on Thursday requesting that Google provide details in response to their concerns for privacy for the public.

In part the letter stated, “We are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American … because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google’s plans to”.

Credit: Google glass logoIt appears their biggest concern is that private citizens would be recorded by people wearing Google Glass without their knowledge and/or consent. The members of congress also seemed to vent concerns about how private data could potentially be stored or used. But, are the members of Congress overreacting? Critics will be quick to point out that anyone with a smartphone—which is most people these days—could essentially do the same things. Most smartphones are equipped with video and audio recording capabilities, connectivity to the internet, and access to a myriad of apps that could be used for all sorts of things.

At Google’s I/O 2013 conference this week, the Google Glass team informally addressed some of the concerns raised in the letter. Steve Lee, the Product Director for Google Glass, stated, “You’ll know when someone with Glass is paying attention to you, if you’re looking at Glass, you’re looking up.”

In many ways a sneaky person with a smartphone in hand could actually be more conspicuous than a Google Glass user. With all the buzz about Google Glass, the people wearing the glasses won’t necessarily be able to blend in.