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Google Glass probed by six more countries amid mounting privacy fears

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland seem concerned
Wed Jun 19 2013, 13:35
Google Glass is now available in the UK for 1000

PRIVACY OFFICALS from six countries have demanded that Google tell them more about its augmented reality eyewear Glass due to mounting security concerns.

Data protection authorities from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland and Israel have collectively drafted and sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page about the development of Google Glass and the way the firm plans to collect data.

"As you have undoubtedly noticed, Google Glass has been the subject of many articles that have raised concerns about the obvious, and perhaps less obvious, privacy implications of a device that can be worn by an individual and used to film and record audio of other people," the letter reads.

"Fears of ubiquitous surveillance of individuals by other individuals, whether through such recordings or through other applications currently being developed, have been raised."

The privacy officials also "strongly urge" Google to engage in a real dialogue with data protection authorities about its augmented reality eyewear in the letter and detail a list of eight questions they would like to raise. These include: How does Google Glass comply with data protection laws; How does Google intend to use this information, and; Has Google undertaken any privacy risk assessment the outcomes of which it would be willing to share?

"We would be very interested in hearing about the privacy implications of this new product and the steps you are taking to ensure that, as you move forward with Google Glass, individuals' privacy rights are respected around the world," the letter concludes.

We've contacted Google to request comment regarding the letter.

Last month the US Congress also sent a letter to Google outlining privacy concerns about it spectacles. Signed by eight members of Congress, the letter requested answers from the Silicon Valley based company, such as how it will prevent Glass from collecting sensitive private data without user consent. Congress gave Google until 14 June to respond.

In the UK it's been revealed that one in five British people would like to see Google's augmented reality Glass eyewear banned.

The device has already been banned in some places ahead of its release as its surveillance capabilities have lead to concerns too. It was reported in April that Las Vegas casinos and strip clubs won't allow the device to be worn on their premises because of its photographic capabilities.

However, fears about the privacy of Google Glass months before the device is launched are only good publicity for Google and are sure to gain the firm plenty of free advertising to help raise consumer awareness regarding Glass. µ 


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