Google Addresses Glass Privacy Concerns In New FAQ

Google Addresses Glass Privacy Concerns In New FAQ

Google Glass has got some people pretty glassed-off to be honest. Privacy issues, surveillance concerns and location tracking grievances have all been aired in public over the new wearable tech. Google is now trying to address those issues with a new FAQ. The punchline? Glass is all about happy, fluffy times.

Google is finishing up rolling out Glass to those accepted into the Explorer program at the moment, and to allay the fears that some people have been having over the privacy surrounding the wearable glasses, the search giant outed this FAQ.

Here’s the section on security and privacy:

Glass security & privacy

Q: Did you think about privacy concerns when you created Glass?
A: Absolutely. We know that new technology always raises new issues, so we’ve been thinking very carefully about how we design Glass from the beginning.

Q: What information does Glass collect about its users?
A: We’re all about keeping your information safe, secure and always available when you want it. People interested in our privacy policy can find it here. And we give you control over the information you share with Google. For example, when you take a photo or video with Glass, it will be added to your private Instant Upload album on Google+ but won’t be shared with anyone until you choose to do so.

Q: Is Glass recording video or taking pictures all the time?
A: No. Glass is really about capturing moments in your life — whether it’s a deer running past you on a hiking trail, a friend blowing out his birthday candles or a child’s first steps. The default video recording on Glass is set to 10 seconds. While you can record for longer, the battery life won’t allow for more than about 45 minutes of straight recording. There are many devices available on the market today for people who wish to record their entire day, but Glass simply is not one of them.

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. First, the device’s screen is illuminated whenever it’s in use, and that applies to taking a picture or recording a video. Second, Glass requires the user to either speak a command — “OK Glass, take a picture” or “OK Glass, record a video” — or to take an explicit action by pressing the button on the top of Glass’s frame. In each case the illuminated screen, voice command or gesture all make it clear to those around the device what the user is doing.

Q: I’ve heard Glass is being banned in some places. What’s going on with that?
A: Whether we’re talking about cell phones, tablets or wearable computers, it’s clear there are some places where using devices simply isn’t appropriate. For example, movie theaters don’t allow you to talk on your phone, and casinos don’t let you take photos with your phone. We fully expect the etiquette around wearable technology like Glass to evolve as well.

Q: Is Glass able to recognize the faces of people walking past?
A: No. Glass doesn’t do facial recognition, and we have no plans to add it. What’s more, our Developer Terms of Service don’t allow Glassware that does facial recognition or voice print.

Q: If I’m wearing Glass, does Google always know what I’m doing or seeing?
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.

Q: What information is shared with third-party application developers?
A: Before you add Glassware, you’ll see the device-level permissions that Glassware obtains when used with Glass. If you don’t feel comfortable with the permissions it requests, you can simply cancel installation.

Q: How does Glass protect users in the event that Glass is lost or stolen?
A: We take security very seriously, and we put simple but strong protections in place for Glass users. If a device is lost or stolen, you can use your Google account to sign into your MyGlass page–either via the web or the MyGlass app on your smartphone–and initiate a remote wipe of all data stored on Glass. You can also remotely turn off different Glassware (services written for Glass) like Gmail, Twitter and Google+ from your MyGlass page. If the device is lost, you can use “remote location” to help you find it. We are currently experimenting with several possible “lock” solutions for Glass to further protect users and will have something in place before a wider consumer launch.

So basically, nothing to see here says Google.

The 10-second video recording limit is comforting, but not everyone is really going to care about that: all they’ll see is a big face-mounted camera pointed at them all the time. [Google]