Congressman John Barrow

Representing the 12th District of GEORGIA

Barrow, Bipartisan Caucus Express Privacy Concerns with Google Glass

May 20, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman John Barrow (GA-12), along with seven other members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, sent a letter to Larry Page, Chief Executive Officer of Google, expressing their concerns with Google Glass.  Recent news reports have highlighted the growing concern with the technology in Google Glass, with some private companies banning the use of the device.

“As members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American,” the letter stated.  “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 unanswered questions that we share.”

In the letter, the Caucus requested answers to the following questions:

  • When using Google Glass, is it true that this product would be able to use Facial Recognition Technology to unveil personal information about whomever and even some inanimate objects that the user is viewing? Would a user be able to request such information? Can a non-user or human subject opt out of this collection of personal data? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • In Google’s privacy policy, it states that the company “may collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number).” Would Google Glass collect any data about the user without the user’s knowledge and consent? If so, why? If not, please explain.
  • Will Google Glass have the capacity to store any data on the device itself? If so, will Google Glass implement some sort of user authentication system to safeguard stored data? If not, why not? If so, please explain.

Congressman Barrow joined on the letter with, Congressmen Joe Barton (R-TX), co-founder of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Steve Chabot (R-OH), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr. (D-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Richard Nugent (R-FL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

In the past, Congressman Barrow has raised concerns with Google’s privacy violations, most recently with Google's interception of consumer communications over Wi-Fi networks.

To view a copy of the letter, please click here.