One of the biggest issues surrounding Google Glass has been privacy. People and businesses are worried about Glass users recording people without their consent, as there is no way to tell when someone is recording using the device. Some businesses have even gone as far as to ban the device from being used in their facility. Another big problem people have identified with the privacy on Glass is facial recognition. What if there was an app that, as you were walking down the street, could identify everyone else and tell you all sorts of information about them? Some people have even said that they want something like this. Google, however, has just come out and said that facial recognition apps will not be allowed on Google Glass, at least for now.
In a post on Google+ Friday night, Google said that it will not approve any apps for Glass that has facial recognition features, though the company didn’t necessarily say it wouldn’t in the future at some point. Google said “many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. … We won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place.” This not really a new policy, though, but rather just the first statement posted to the official Google account. Steve Lee, director of product management for Glass says Google will not change this policy until it has “strong privacy protections in place.”
In addition to the official post on Google+, the company has also updated its developer policy for Glass.
Don’t use the camera or microphone to cross-reference and immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than the user, including use cases such as facial recognition and voice print. Applications that do this will not be approved at this time.
While Google has strongly been encouraging hacking on Glass, it has recently started to address the privacy issues many people have, as well. For example, the company has also recently said that it will not allow apps to turn off the display while taking a picture. This is so the people around someone using Glass will have a better idea as to when a picture may be being taken.
Do you think Google should allow facial recognition apps on Glass? Let us know down in the comments!