Google Glass privacy skirmish kicks off

Google Glass privacy skirmish kicks off

The Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) has urged Australian privacy regulators against stifling innovation by imposing regulations prematurely.

The call has come after state and federal privacy commissioners came out en masse this week to warn about privacy and security issues relating to Google’s yet to be released Glass product.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Federal privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said he was concerned about the implications for personal privacy once Glass was combined with other readily available technology, while Victorian privacy commissioner David Watts weighed in by labeling Glass "a security nightmare”.

NSW Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Coombs described concerns that Glass would give users the capacity to record, store and broadcast footage and other information about people without their consent as “serious”, rejecting the argument that was no different to recording on a smartphone.

However, ADMA CEO Jodie Sangster told B&T that the privacy commissioners’ scaremongering is jumping the gun, given the product is still at the final stages of development.

“I think it's a little early in the piece to raising concerns to this level, but I guess this is what often happens with new technology,” said Sangster, who was in New York recently to test drive Google’s new Glass innovation.

“We really need to see what the final product looks like before raising concerns about privacy. Google will be very aware of the privacy issues and in making sure whatever product they end up launching is compliant,” she added. 

Sangster believes the most important point around this privacy debate centres on regulators stifling innovation before a product even gets to market.  

“Let’s not regulate before we know what we’re regulating, and lets trust Google that they’ll be legally compliant.  It’s not right to stifle before we know what it will be like.”

Sangster added that, like any new game-changing innovation, it’s a controversial issue for privacy experts to talk about.

"I’m not sure any of the privacy commissioners have actually seen the new product and been able to really get an idea of its capabilities."

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