European agencies question Facebook on smart glasses privacy

Security and privacy regulators in Europe are concerned about the new smart glasses Ray-Ban launched by Facebook. Products can take photos and record videos from a voice command.

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On Friday (

), the Data Protection Commission of Ireland (DPC) has asked for the Facebook presents evidence that the LED present in the frame of the Ray-Ban Stories glasses, which lights up when the device’s camera is in action, is an effective way to show that the device is filming or taking pictures.

For DPC, the difference of Ray-Ban Stories for smartphones that also have cameras is that, in the case of cell phones, people know what to expect, while in glasses, the indicator that shows that the camera is in action is a small L Red ED. Also for the agency, neither Facebook nor Ray-Ban conducted tests to check if this red light is an effective way to report on the device’s activity.

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Other data protection authorities in Europe, such as Guarante in Italy, too expressed concerns about the device, but for Facebook the concerns that may most present possible changes in the devices are that of the DPC of Ireland, as the headquarters of the social networking giant on the European continent is located in Dublin, the Irish capital.

The Ray-Ban Stories. (Image: Disclosure/Facebook)

    The smart glasses, or “smart glasses”, from Facebook in partnership with Ray-Ban was announced last year, with the company considering him the “next step” in his plan to create augmented reality glasses. It was made available in early September, with a design that closely resembles that found in regular sunglasses.

    The Ray-Ban Stories has two 5MP cameras on the front of the device, that allow the user to capture photos and film videos that can be viewed in the new app from the social networking giant, View.

    The device also has speakers in the frame, that serve so that the user can listen to music and talk on the phone. In Europe, they are available in Ireland, Italy, the European Union and the United Kingdom for a price of US$ , about R$ 1.1024 at the current price.

    Facebook responds

    Asked by the Techcrunch website about comments from European data protection authorities, a Facebook spokesperson said, “You know it’s normal for people to have questions about new technologies and how they work. We (Facebook) will work with regulatory bodies, including the Irish Department as our main regulator, to help the population better understand how the new devices work and what their functions are.”

    The company also commented that it was already having conversations with the DPC before the launch of the glasses, information that was partially confirmed with the agency, which claimed that the company only showed the transparency of the use of data from the device, and not the functions of the same.

    Facebook in Europe has a history of delaying the launch of its products due to data security reasons. Features such as the site’s dating service were made available more than 9 months after the worldwide launch, with changes requested by European regulatory bodies.

    WhatsApp, messenger from Zuckerberg’s company, also has more limitations on data sharing with the company in Europe, also thanks to regulatory conditions, but even so investigations into application data security are also recurrent there.

    Source: Techcrunch , Silicon Republic

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