FTC head voices privacy concerns over Google Glass, similar devices

Aug. 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The head of the Federal Trade Commission in Washington says she's closely monitoring Google Glass and other wearable computers for potential privacy violations.

"With all of these emerging technologies, it's important for companies themselves to be thinking hard about what the privacy and security ramifications are, and, of course, at the agency we're thinking hard about these issues," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in an interview with The Hill.

While declining to address any specific privacy concerns raised by the upcoming wide availability of Google Glass, she said it and other wearable computers "obviously do raise issues" makers of the devices must consider before placing their offerings in the consumer market.

Google Glass, currently only being used by a select group of "explorers" for testing, will allow wearers of the eyeglass-like devices to employ a voice to access the Internet, get navigation directions, take photos, record videos and send messages.

Responding to concerns in a letter send to Google in May by eight members of Congress, Susan Molinari, the head of Google's Washington office, said, "We aim to provide the world's strongest security and privacy policies, as well as easy-to-use tools.

"As we do for all our products, we are carefully reviewing the design of Glass for privacy considerations as part of Google's comprehensive privacy program."

Ramirez said the FTC would consider Google Glass as part of its review of potential privacy problems as more everyday devices are connected to the Internet.

The agency has said it will hold meetings on the trend in November.

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