Attorney General George Jepsen joined privacy advocates in questioning Google over its new wearable Glass computing platform last week.
Google Glass is a new computing platform that is worn similar to a pair of eye glasses. A small screen is mounted on the right side of the device that is visible only to the wearer. It also has a camera built into the frame that is capable of recording video and taking still pictures. An on board microphone listens to voice commands to control the unit and is also used for video conferences over Google’s Hangout infrastructure. It connects with the wearer’s Google account to present data based on the user’s location and information stored in Google’s email and other services.
“Despite mounting concern among privacy advocates,” Jepsen wrote to Google in a letter released on June 5, “there is very little available information regarding the types of data that will be collected through this technology from either users or non-users. Nor, to my knowledge, has Google yet publicly revealed whether or how it intends to disclose privacy risks, obtain consent for the collection of data or otherwise minimize or address issues.”
Jepsen acknowledges that the new device does what smartphones already do. He is concerned that some functionality of the Glass platform can conduct those activities more discretely than a hand held device does.