Google privacy storm may stall face recognition plans
Google executives are considering scrapping plans to develop new facial recognition technology as it weathers a storm over its data-gathering policies.
CEO Eric Schmidt told FT.com its recent public battles over the privacy implications of its services had colored every decision its management team makes regarding new technologies.
Management is conducting a thorough review of its procedures, with facial recognition technology a key area of internal discussion, he said.
But he did not rule out any future roll-outs.
Google already uses facial recognition technology in its Picasa photo uploading service, but did not include the technology in its Google Goggles augmented reality app after privacy campaigners raised fears it could become the ideal stalking tool and aid in identity fraud.
Google enraged European privacy officials this week, after revealing it had accidentally been collecting packet data sent over public Wi-Fi networks.
Privacy officials from Germany called for an EC investigation into the data-collection practices, and want to review the data before forcing Google to delete it.
But Schmidt on Tuesday called “no harm no foul” on the data collection, stating that it's highly unlikely that any of the collected information was useful, the BBC said.
Yet he said Google would not delete the information unless ordered to do so.
He also downplayed the earlier company explanation that engineers were to blame for the inclusion of code that led to data mining, stating that he will not hide behind “engineers as an excuse.”