Facebook glasses that record video could ‘let criminals steal your data’

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Facebook smartglasses could allow criminals to download your entire online profile by just looking at you, a legal expert has warned.

The social media giant's chief Mark Zuckerberg is teaming up with Ray-Bans to launch the augmented reality specs next year.

The eyewear will reportedly pair with smartphones to produce holograms of friends and could have recording capacity or a voice-activated assistant.

But concerns have been raised as 100 of the firm's staff began field-testing more advanced 'Project Aria' prototypes which can record everything they see and hear.

Privacy law expert Jorden Bailey at Legal ICT said: "For sure it will be able to make pictures or make a video and you don't have to be an expert to see it might end up with the wrong people using it for the wrong purposes.

"At first it might only link their Facebook profile but if you are not too careful you end up with getting a whole background of a person also, his online presence – that's the biggest issue surrounding those technologies.

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"Innocent bystanders might not know they are being traced through those glasses and in the European data legislation you have to have a legal basis to process those data.

"With glasses like that it's very difficult to ensure. The legal basis is always there and I will be very interested to see how Facebook tackles that problem.

"I do foresee privacy issues, I think Google has tried to use glasses like that and it didn't end up such a success because people are also a bit skeptical about the technology themselves.

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"In the end it will definitely catch on but I'm interested to see how fast it will happen."

He added: "I'm always a bit apprehensive about technologies like that.

"Probably they have all sorts of privacy measures implemented so that privacy would not be too big of an issue for Facebook.

"It's natural that those technologies will record and collect facial templates and facial templates could derive biometric data which is a sensitive form of data on GDPR and therefore strict measures have to be in place to process biometric data.

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"Normally these glasses also have the opportunity to record faces to see who the person you are looking at, to collect what their name is, to link their Facebook profile and if it's possible to do it I'm always a bit apprehensive about the function capture in the technology."

Nathan White, Privacy Policy Manger, Facebook Reality Labs, says on the firm's website: "We believe this is the next step in the evolution of computing, but in order to build this device, we have to do our homework first. We have to not only develop the technology needed to make these glasses possible, but also determine best practices that respect people’s privacy as well as the privacy of people in the glasses’ line of sight.

"While Project Aria is an exciting step toward our vision for AR glasses, it also raises important questions around privacy. We built this research device with privacy in mind and we put provisions in place around where and how we’ll collect data, as well as how it will be processed, used and stored. Ultimately, Project Aria is going to help us develop the safeguards, policies and even social norms necessary to govern the use of AR glasses and other future wearable devices."

Facebook has been contacted for comment.

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