Feedback: Facebook’s smart glasses can invade your privacy in new ways

Facebook’s recently announced Ray-Ban Stories glasses, which have two cameras and three microphones built-in, are in the news again.

Ray-Ban Storage Glasses capture audio and video so wearers can record their experiences and interactions. The goal of the research project is to add augmented reality features to the glasses, potentially face recognition and other artificial intelligence technologies that ask wearers “Where did I put my keys?” It can provide a lot of information, including the ability to answer questions like this.

Several other technology companies, such as Google GOOG,

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Also tested with enhanced or mixed reality glasses version. Augmented reality glasses can display useful information within the lens, providing an electronically advanced view of the world. For example, smart glasses can draw a line on the street to show you the next turn, or you can see a restaurant’s Yelp rating when you see its mark.

However, some of the information that augmented reality glasses give their users may include identifying people in the field of glasses and displaying personal information about them. It wasn’t too long ago that Google launched Google Glass, only to face a public reaction to record people. Compared to recording through a smartphone in public, recording through smart glasses seems like a bigger invasion of privacy to people.

As a researcher who studies computer security and privacy, I believe it is important for technology companies to proceed with caution and consider the security and privacy risks of augmented reality.

Smartphones vs. smart glasses

Although people are now accustomed to taking pictures in public, they also expect that photographers will usually pick up their smartphones and compose pictures. Augmented reality glasses fundamentally disrupt or violate this sense of normalcy. The public setting may be the same, but the scale and recording method have changed.

Such deviations from the norm have long been recognized by researchers as a breach of privacy. My group’s research has shown that people around obsolete cameras want a clearer idea of ​​when their privacy is being compromised because it’s harder for them to know if they’re being recorded.

People need a better way to tell if a camera or microphone is recording people than to take a normal gesture to take a photo. Facebook has already been warned by the European Union that the LED indicates that a pair of Ray-Ban Stories are being recorded too small.

In the long run, however, people may become accustomed to wearing new smart glasses. Our research has shown that while young adults are anxious about others recording their embarrassing moments on a smartphone, they have adjusted to the widespread presence of the camera.

Smart glasses as a memory assistant

Smart glasses are an important application as a memory assistant. If you can record or “lifelog” your entire day from a first-person perspective, you can rewind or scroll the video as you wish. You can check out the video to see where you left your keys, or you can resume a conversion to remember a friend’s movie recommendation.

Our research has studied volunteers who wore lifelong cameras for several days. We’ve uncovered a number of privacy concerns – this time for the camera wearer. Considering who, or what algorithm, can access camera footage, people may be concerned about the detailed portraits they draw.

Who you meet, what you eat, what you see and what your living room actually looks like without guests are all recorded. We found that people were particularly concerned about recorded locations as well as their computer and phone screens, which make up a large part of their lifetime history.

The popular media is already embracing what could be terribly wrong with such memory aids. The episode “The Whole History of You” from the TV series “Black Mirror” shows how even the most casual arguments can dig up lifelogs to prove exactly who said what and when. In such a world, it is difficult to move forward. This is a lesson in the importance of forgetting.

Psychologists point to the importance of forgetting as a natural human coping method to transfer past traumatic experiences. Maybe an AI algorithm could be used to detect digital memory for deletion. For example, our research has developed AI-based algorithms to detect sensitive areas such as bathrooms and computer and phone screens, which were high on the list of concerns in our lifelong research. Once detected, footages can be selectively deleted from a person’s digital memory.

Digital shelf X-ray glasses?

However, smart glasses have the potential to do more than just record video. It is important to prepare for the possibilities of a world where smart glasses use facial recognition, analyze human expressions, search and display personal information, and even record and analyze conversations. These applications raise important questions about privacy and security

We study the use of smart glasses by visually impaired people. We found that these potential users were concerned about the error of artificial intelligence algorithms and their potential to misrepresent other people.

Even if accurate, they felt it was inappropriate to estimate someone’s weight or age. They also questioned whether it was ethical for such an algorithm to infer one’s gender or race. Researchers have also argued that AI should be used to detect emotions, which people of different cultures may express differently.

Increasing the outlook of Facebook in the future

I only scratched the privacy and security consideration surface for augmented reality glasses. As Facebook moves forward with augmented reality, I believe it is important for the company to address these concerns.

I am delighted to see the best list of privacy and security researchers that Facebook’s technology is helping to ensure it is worthy of public trust, especially based on the company’s recent track record.

But I can only hope that Facebook will move cautiously and include the concerns of these and other privacy and security researchers in their view of the future.

Apu Kapadia is a professor of computer science at Bloomington, Indiana University. It was first published by The Conversation – “Can Facebook’s Smart Glasses Be Smart About Security and Privacy?”

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