The company was responding to a May inquiry letter from the Congressional Privacy Caucus. Its response was released today by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who chairs the caucus.
Barton indicated that the letter did not sufficiently address the questions he and his fellow members raised.
“I am disappointed in the responses we received from Google. There were questions that were not adequately answered and some not answered at all … When new technology like this is introduced that could change societal norms, I believe it is important that people’s rights be protected and vital that privacy is built into the device,” Barton said in a statement.
The company said that it had built privacy into the product by making it clear to those interacting with a Glass user what s/he is doing, particularly by requiring that taking pictures of video footage trigger a display light that faces out from the eyeglass-like interface.
It assured the lawmakers that it would not approve facial recognition apps “at this time.”
“We won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time. We’ve consistently said that Google won’t add face recognition features to our own services unless we have appropriate privacy protections in place,” wrote Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy and government relations.
Molinari also indicated that Google is exploring a “lock” protection system for Glass akin to the iPhone password.
“We are experimenting with ‘lock’ solutions to determine what would work best for this type of device. In the event a device is misplaced or somehow compromised, users can use their Google account to login to MyGlass and initiate a remote wipe of all data stored on Glass,” Molinari said.
MyGlass will also allow users to set privacy settings for the device, she said.