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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Facebook Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing the new glases in a vide released last week.
# throwing shade
Ireland's data watchdog raises concerns over new Facebook/Ray-Ban smart glasses
Wearers can take a picture or record video by voice command or by pressing a button.

IRELAND’S DATA PROTECTION Commission (DPC) and its Italian counterpart have voiced concerns about Facebook’s new smart glasses that can take photographs by voice command. 

The product is made by iconic eyewear brand Ray-Ban with users using the Facebook View app to share content directly to their social media accounts. 

The new shades are called Ray-Ban Stories and have been rolled out first in Ireland, Italy, the UK, Canada, Australia and the US. 

In a statement this evening, the DPC and Italy’s regulator Garante have called on Facebook to demonstrate that the smart glasses clearly show when a wearer is using them to record images and video.

Users can take a picture or a video clip of up to 30 seconds by pressing a button at the temple or using a voice command. 

A white light in the front of the frame turns on when the cameras are being used but the regulators have questioned whether this it sufficient. 

“While it is accepted that many devices including smartphones 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 has said in a statement.

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. Accordingly, the DPC and Garante are now calling on Facebook Ireland 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. 

This is not the first occasion that the development of smart glasses have prompted security concerns. 

In 2013 Google Glass sparked a privacy backlash over built-in cameras and prompted the tech titan to pivot its focus for the device away from the general public. 

Snapchat has also released its camera-equipped Spectacles but they are expensive and have struggled to catch on broadly with tech lovers.

Facebook is now wading into this tricky market with Ray-Ban as a high profile partner. 

In Ireland, the product sells for €329 and also allows users listen to stream audio content through small speakers in the frames. 

Users can decide using the app whether they want to share pictures or video they have just captured, such as posting to Facebook or attaching them to an email

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