Facebook glasses warned by Data Protection agencies

Small LED indicator is indeed 'small'

Data protection agencies around the world have started sending out warnings to Facebook over their smart glasses – Ray-Ban Stories – with objection that the LED indicator provided by the social networking giant isn’t adequate enough in warning its users about recording of their data.

The big problem with Google Glass was that they did not notify other people when this device was recording. To avoid repeating this problem, the Ray-Ban Stories, Facebook’s smart glasses, add an LED light in the corner of the frame that turns on when the device is recording.

However, this addition does not seem to completely convince the competent authorities in Data Protection, which have already sent the first warnings to Facebook regarding privacy.

Ireland and Italy express their doubts about Facebook glasses

In Spain the new Facebook glasses are not available and due to this, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has not ruled on the matter. Yes, the ‘Irish DPC’ and the ‘Garante per la protezione dei dati personali’ have done so, the Data Protection organizations of Ireland and Italy, two of the European countries where Ray-Ban Stories have been put on sale.

In a statement, the agencies explain that they are “concerned about the means by which the people captured in the videos and photos can receive a warning that they are being recorded.”

The agencies argue that smartphones can also record third parties, but it is the case that the phone is visible in that case, while the indicator light is very small.

The main argument is that it has not been shown to Data Protection that extensive tests have been carried out in the field to guarantee that the indicator light is an effective means of warning. And in this regard, from these agencies they ask Facebook to show the studies and the demonstration that this LED light is enough to alert people and that it is not a method to record others in an unnoticed way.

Although other smart glasses such as Snap have been presented in the past, they did not generate a privacy notice from the authorities. Neither have the recent Xiaomi glasses, although these are currently a prototype.

Despite everything, these notices will apply not only to Facebook glasses, but to all smart glasses with cameras. A new type of device that technology manufacturers are beginning to show and that has yet to prove that they are not another step in the invasion of our privacy.

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