The Irish DPC has asked Facebook to run an information campaign to alert the public to how its new smart glasses can record images.

The Irish data watchdog has asked Facebook to show that an LED light on its new smart glasses is effective in notifying people when the glasses are recording images.

The request follows privacy concerns that the glasses can film and take photos in a much more subtle way than if someone had to lift a phone to do the same.

The tech giant launched Ray-Ban Stories earlier this month with the aim of achieving success in smart glasses where others have failed.

As part of the launch, the company was eager to note that a highly visible LED lights up on the outside of the glasses whenever they capture a photo or video, so people cannot be recorded at their knowledge.

However, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) and the Italian data watchdog, Garante, are not convinced that this sufficiently informs people that they are registered.

In a statement, the DPC said that while it is accepted that many devices such as smartphones can register third parties, the camera or phone is usually visible, making registered persons aware of the situation.

“With the glasses, there is a very small light that lights up when recording is in progress. It has not been shown to DPC and Garante that full field tests have been performed by Facebook or Ray-Ban to ensure that the LED light is an effective means of giving notice, ”said DPC in a press release.

“As a result, the DPC and Garante are now asking Facebook Ireland to confirm and demonstrate that the LED light is effective for its purpose and to conduct an information campaign to alert the public to how this new consumer product can deliver. instead, less obvious problems recording their images.

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny by the DPC over the past few years and many investigations are still ongoing.

At the end of 2020, the DPC had 27 cross-border requests, more than half of which concerned Facebook or Instagram and Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

More recently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp Ireland received the biggest fine ever from the DPC for violating the GDPR.


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