Feeds

Google seeks to calm facial recognition furor with app block for Glass

Nothing to see here, yet

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has sought to allay privacy fears by saying it won't be allowing any facial recognition applications to run on its Glass computer spectacles for the moment.

"We've been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass," said the team in a Google+ posting.

"As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time."

That's unlikely to stop developers, many of whom have already started writing code to use Glass as the perfect aide-mémoire. Lambda Labs and developers at ReKognition have building apps for just this purpose and aren’t likely to stop now.

Both systems seek to solve a human problem that has bedeviled us from the dawn of time: how to recognize people. But some developers want to take things further, such as the InSight app that claims to be able to recognize people by their fashion sense, or lack thereof.

All this is making people nervous. Pretty much since Glass was announced, people have been complaining about its privacy aspects and, with the first headsets now in the hands of developers, the rumblings are getting louder.

Politicians are also getting concerned, with both the US Congress and the Australian parliament asking for clarification from The Chocolate Factory about the capabilities of the new system. No doubt they will be slightly placated by Google's announcement, but concerns aren't just going to disappear.

But facial-recognition apps might not be allowed on the platform by Mountain View. The terms and conditions of Glass say Google can block or remove any third-party application, although in the past Google has favored a more open model in comparison to the locked-down approach Apple is so keen on.

Google declined to comment further on its statement to El Reg, or on other applications that stretch the bounds of decency, such as the recently-announced and very NSFW Glass app TitsandGlass. Google has left the hardware unlockable for the moment, but that can soon change. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.