Daily Beast: Meta’s Smart Glasses Ignore Why Google Glass Failed 

October 27, 2023

Ignoring that early reviews suggest the light is not always noticeable—and that Meta caught warnings from the EU’s privacy regulators for making its indicator light too small on the Ray-Ban Stories—this method of informing others of recording is still insufficient, according to Calli Schroeder, senior counsel and global privacy counsel at consumer privacy watchdog Electronic Privacy Information Center. 

“Indicator lights, beeps, or similar indicators are generally so small and undetectable that it would be shocking for a bystander to even notice it, much less know what the signal is indicating,” she told The Daily Beast. “We hear pings and see little lights on people’s devices all the time when we move about the world. It would never occur to me that those things are meant to be meaningful disclosure that I am being recorded.” 

According to Schroeder, the best practice to alert others that you’re wearing a camera or microphone that could be turned on at any time is to wear “a large sign or T-shirt that says ‘I’m recording you’ every time they use it”—and she added she was only kind of joking. 

… It’s also made much more complicated when factoring in the data captured by cameras and microphones. “Facial recognition systems may be able to identify bystanders, functionally providing a real-time map of where they are, depending on how many wearable devices are around them,” Schroeder warned. “Systems tracking gait or audio may be able to identify the individual even if their face is covered.” 

Beyond that, there’s simply no feasible way for people to opt in to having their likeness recorded and potentially used for training AI. “A company benefiting from personal data that a person did not consent to give and took no action to allow to be collected seems unethical,” Schroeder said. “Existing in the world should not make us targets of data collection.” 

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