Facebook glasses get their first warning. The big problem with Google Glass was that it did not alert other people when the device was recording. To avoid repeating this problem, Ray-Ban Stories, Facebook’s smart glasses, add an LED light in the corner of the frame that lights up when the device is recording.
However, this addition does not seem to fully convince the competent Data Protection authorities, who have already sent the first privacy warnings to Facebook.
Ireland and Italy express their doubts about Facebook Glasses
The ‘Irish DPC’ and the ‘Garante per la Protezione dei dati personal, the Data Protection organizations of Ireland and Italy, two of the European countries where the Ray-Ban Stories have been put on sale, have done so.
In a statement, the agencies explain that they are “concerned about how individuals captured in the videos and photos may receive notice that they are being recorded.”
The agencies claim that smartphones may also capture third parties, however, the phone is generally visible in that case, and the indicator light is quite dim.
The key dispute is that no evidence has been provided to the Data Protection Authority demonstrating that wide tests have been conducted in the field to verify whether or not the indicator light is an effective way of warning. And in this regard, these agencies ask Facebook to show the studies and the demonstration that this LED light is sufficient to alert people and that it is not a method to record others unnoticed.
Other smart glasses, such as the Snap, have previously been launched, but none of them has obtained a privacy statement from authorities. Xiaomi’s most recent smartglasses are still a prototype; nevertheless, neither of them has generated a privacy notice.
Nonetheless, these notifications will apply to any smart glasses with cameras. A new sort of device that technology makers are just starting to demonstrate and that must still establish that they do not represent a further invasion of our privacy.