Google FAQ tackles Glass conspiracy theorists, privacy concerns

Just yesterday we told you about the letter Google sent to a special congressional group concerned about the potential privacy breaching implications of Glass. The response to Google's letter was less than enthusiastic, with one congressman stating, "I am disappointed in the responses we received from Google."

Well now it appears that Google may have expected that reaction because the company has now posted a new "Frequently Asked Questions" page that attempts to address many of the concerns expressed by some early critics of Glass. The page covers a good deal of information already publicly available to anyone who has followed the Glass story closely, but then in the middle of the page the text gets far more interesting.

In what reads like a direct response to conspiracy theorists and privacy advocates, the privacy section of the page addresses concerns that Glass might possibly be a stealth tool for "Big Brother." Posing the question, "If I’m wearing Glass, does Google always know what I’m doing or seeing?" the section states:

A: No, not at all. You’re in control. Glass allows you to choose what you experience, whether it’s Google services like Gmail and Maps or other third-party applications you choose to install from the MyGlass application on your mobile device.

Of all the critiques Glass has received, there doesn't appear to be any record of anyone posing the question of whether the device was actually watching what the wearer is doing, but the fact that Google felt the need to pose the question and answer it indicates there is some concern out there. On the other hand, if the phrase "always know what I'm doing" is taken in the context of user data being constantly sent to Google's cloud from the device, it does seem arguable that Google can, in general terms, determine what the user is doing while wearing the device.

Another interesting passage included on the page is this:

Q: What have you done to inform non-Glass users if a picture or video is being taken?

A: We have built explicit signals in Glass to make others aware of what’s happening.

As we mentioned in a previous post, at least two of these signals—speaking a command and tapping the side of the device — have already been defeated by a feature that allows users to wink to take a photo. It's not clear if Google is simply ignoring this development or plans to render it impossible in future software updates, but for now, it's part of a reality that has made the current iteration of the Glass a concern for some. You can read the entire FAQ here.

Via Google

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