Augmented reality products stoke privacy concerns


Google has been masterful when it comes to the pre-marketing involving Google Glass, the augmented reality product that has taken the world by storm. The notion of a computer built into your glasses has intrigued many, and the potential applications are limitless.

At this point, the hype has perhaps gotten ahead of the reality, but it's certainly not too early to start thinking about the privacy implications. Government officials in charge of privacy for the EU and other countries have written Google a letter, raising the "privacy implications of a device that can be worn by an individual and used to film and record audio of other people."

The commissioners wrote that "fears of ubiquitous surveillance of individuals by other individuals, whether through such recordings or through other applications currently being developed, have been raised.  Questions about Google's collection of such data and what it means in terms of Google's revamped privacy policy have also started to appear."

It gives Google credit for some interesting first steps in this area. "Our understanding is that during the beta testing of the product, Google has put in place extensive guidelines for software developers to follow in building applications for Glass2.  These limits appear to be largely related to advertising within Glass.  If this is indeed the case, we think this is a positive first step in identifying privacy issues, but it is only a first step and the only one we are aware of."

Some U.S. Congressman have voiced similar privacy concerns. Vendors will increasingly be forced to pay attention to this issue well before the product goes on sale. 

For more:
- here's the letter