Here’s What Really Scares Eric Schmidt (Video)

Published on May 31, 2011
by Peter Kafka

Google built but never launched a facial recognition service. The company was worried about its potential for abuse, says Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

But here’s one of the tricky parts of being Google: The company won’t prevent developers from creating their own facial recognition apps on its Android platform, Schmidt told Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D9.

There’s plenty of stuff Schmidt doesn’t like. But if it’s not illegal it will be available for the company’s mobile users–Google is committed to not filtering what’s available in its store, as opposed to the (relatively) strict rules at Apple’s iTunes.

The exchange came at the end of a longer dialogue on privacy, and what Google can do to protect it–and what it can’t. Schmidt says he’s particularly freaked out about the potential damage that a combination of facial recognition and mobile tracking can do, and says his company won’t ever make that possible on its platform. But lots of other potentially troubling things will be.

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