Google on Glass: You'll Just Know When Someone's Spying on YouS

Yesterday saw Google face a lot of questions over Google Glass privacy: not only was it grilled by developers at I/O, but Congress also sent it a list of eight questions it wants answered. It's response? Don't sweat it; you'll know if someone is spying on you, silly.

Speaking at an I/O session, Steve Lee, Glass' product director, explained that "privacy was top of mind as we designed the product." He argued that early prototypes covered the user's eye, which they soon realised was a bad idea; the final version leaves the eye exposed, allowing others to see where they are looking. Which, according to Lee, makes privacy worries a trivial concern:

"You'll know when someone with Glass is paying attention to you. If you're looking at Glass, you're looking up... If I'm recording you, I have to stare at you — as a human being. And when someone is staring at you, you have to notice. If you walk into a restroom and someone's just looking at you — I don't know about you but I'm getting the hell out of there."

While what they say is notionally true—you do, of course, have to have your head facing in the direction of someone to record them—it's a pretty shaky privacy argument. You can look to one side and record, say, or even close your eyes. Or root it and just blink to take a picture.

So while Google might be confident that privacy isn't too much of a concern, such arguments are unlikely to convince the wider public—or Congress!—that they have covered all the bases. One thing is certain: the privacy issues surrounding Glass look set to run. And run. And run. [Verge and Ars Technica]