Facebook smart glasses - innovation or invasion of privacy?

Facebook smart glasses – innovation or invasion of privacy?

There’s a new way to look like flying out in your sun this summer. Meta, the company behind Instagram and Facebook, has collaborated with Ray-Ban to produce glasses that record photos and video.

These glasses are legal and currently available to Irish consumers.

But are smart glasses the future of how we interact with our world? Or are they a serious invasion of privacy?

At a time when more of our activity is being recorded, Metas CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the sunglasses, known as Ray-Ban Stories, as a way to take photos and videos, listen to music or podcasts or make phone calls “all while you are in the present” and without even picking up the phone. “

Although the glasses have an LED that is activated when the glasses are in recording mode – to notify others nearby – they have caught the attention of the Irish Data Protection Authority.

In a statement following their introduction in Ireland, the Data Protection Commission said it was “concerned about how those caught in the videos and images may be notified that they are being recorded”.

“The data protection officer is not convinced that the small flashing light is enough to inform people that they are being recorded,” Valerie Flynn, a Sunday Times journalist, told Prime Time.

“Facebook says that when you hold up the phone to record something, there is no little light – so is not this better? The data protection officer says that the lamp is” very small “- those are their words. So how do you really feel? Know?”

The Data Protection Commission called on Meta “to confirm and demonstrate that the LED indicator light is effective for its purpose and to launch an information campaign to warn the public about how this new consumer product may give rise to less obvious recordings of their images”.

In recent months, Meta and EssilorLuxottica, the Italian parent company of Ray-Ban, have done just that, by placing advertisements in newspapers and on radio broadcasts. Meta Ireland said it would work with the Data Protection Commission to help people understand the product.

Meta announces the launch of Ray-Ban Stories, its new smart glasses

The campaign explains to the public how Ray-Ban Stories work, how to best use them and how to identify when someone is recording with them.

As part of a report for the Sunday Times, Flynn wore his glasses out and about for the day – on the street, in a cafĂ©, in a shopping mall, on a playground and in a courtroom.

She did not record on the playground or in the courtroom, for obvious reasons.

Regardless, only one person – a lady on Grafton Street – seemed to make sure she was wearing them, Flynn said.

“Other than that, people didn’t seem to be aware of it.”

Aside from privacy issues, Zuckerberg believes these glasses are here to stay.

He envisions later releases that will do much more than record movies or play audio. Instead, they will also reinforce the reality you see through the frames with images and information, what is called AR, or augmented reality.

“AR will definitely come to these glasses. It just depends on how they want to distribute it, what they are allowed to do and whether people will be interested in embracing it or not,” Dr. Sally Applin, an anthropologist, told Prime Time.

Other companies such as Snap, Apple and Google are rumored to have similar glasses on.

“This conversation is not necessarily just about glasses. Glasses are a mechanism for collecting a certain type of data in the world – and it is data that will evolve into something,” said Dr Applin.

“We feed a larger machine, and the larger machine may come back later with information about us that we did not want it to have.”


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