Facebook’s Smart Ray-Bans Under Investigation
Facebook’s ‘smart’ Ray-Bans are currently under scrutiny from the leading privacy regulator in Europe.
The Data Protection Commission has instructed Facebook to demonstrate how the small LED light on the front of the glasses is an effective signal that the user is recording with the glasses. Given Facebook’s European base is in Ireland, the Irish-based DPC has a huge impact on how the company is able to operate within the region.
The problem lies with what the DPC call a “very small” light on an otherwise regular-seeming pair of Ray-Bans, which is not an adequate indication that the user is filming.
“While it is accepted that many devices including smart phones can record third party individuals, it is generally the case that the camera or the phone is visible as the device by which recording is happening, thereby putting those captured in the recordings on notice,” the DPC wrote.
“With the glasses, there is a very small indicator light that comes on when recording is occurring. It has not been demonstrated to the DPC and Garante that comprehensive testing in the field was done by Facebook or Ray-Ban to ensure the indicator LED light is an effective means of giving notice.”
It now requires Facebook to “confirm and demonstrate that the LED indicator light is effective for its purpose and to run an information campaign to alert the public as to how this new consumer product may give rise to less obvious recording of their images”.