Facebook advises against using its new connected glasses “in the toilets or in the locker room”

Facebook has just presented a pair of connected glasses that make it easy to take pictures of your surroundings. A daring bet, when we know the reputation of Facebook on the protection of privacy.

Facebook unveiled its very first pair of connected glasses on September 9, 2021. Designed in collaboration with the legendary Ray-Ban brand, the Stories as they are nicknamed are able to take photos, videos, intercept phone calls and even listen to podcasts thanks to the integrated speakers.

Glasses that look … like glasses

But the most striking feature of his glasses is that they look… like glasses. Unlike Google Glass or Snapchat Spectacles which seemed to be engineered, Stories have a more understated look. Their shape is characteristic of Ray-Ban products and from the front only a small LED and two photo modules betray the connected side of the accessory.

Facebook glasses created in collaboration with Ray-Ban // Source: URL

The subject of many rumors in recent years, Facebook glasses are ultimately less ambitious than what we thought. No augmented reality, no screens for notifications, Stories are thought of as ” a new way to take photos and videos […] while remaining present in the world around you.

The inevitable privacy issue

Aware of the privacy controversies that have accompanied the marketing of Google Glass (and its mediocre reputation in the field), Facebook has dedicated an entire page of its site to explaining how its glasses are ” designed for privacy ” and ” under your control “. The company details how “ your photos and videos are encrypted “Within the dedicated app, explains that a physical button turns off the glasses to avoid misunderstandings and adds that the media recorded via the Stories” are not used to improve ad targeting “.

Facebook also thinks of the people around you by advising to ” respect the consent of others Before taking a picture. It is also advisable to turn off your glasses when you ” are at the doctor’s office, changing rooms, toilets or places of worship “. A small manual of good uses that are obvious, but which prove that glasses capable of recording photos and videos still raise a lot of fears and questions.

Defeated by a piece of scotch

To alert those around you that you are taking a photo or video, Facebook has integrated a small LED above the right glass. A feature that Snapchat Shows also have. But the method is not perfect, and Facebook recognizes it, since it is marked on its site ” handling this LED is against our terms of use “. A Buzzfeed reporter who was able to get her hands on the glasses shows how a simple piece of black tape can mask the small light and let you take pictures more discreetly.

On the left, the small LED which indicates that we are recording, on the right the same glasses with a small piece of tape over the indicator light // Source: Buzzfeed

TheStories of Facebook allow nothing more than what our smartphones already offer. Taking a wide-angle photo of what is under our nose is relatively easy with the smartphone that is in the pocket of each and every one of us today. But the very versatile style of the glasses, the ease with which you can take a photo (with a simple support on the branch) and the impossibility for Facebook to prevent a particularly unscrupulous person from putting a piece of tape on his glasses make taking pictures even more discreet.

Obviously, only rare individuals, the most ill-intentioned, will buy and use these glasses to spy on the world around them. But was there any point in giving them a perhaps even more efficient way of doing this?

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