Spying just got easier.
Meta-formerly-Facebook just unveiled its new model of Ray-Ban smart glasses, and as you might expect, they're a privacy nightmare waiting to happen.
Awkwardly announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Meta Connect event on Wednesday, these new pieces of facewear, formally called an unwieldy "Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses," are a follow-up to the dismal flop Ray-Ban Stories. With a 12 megapixel camera, the specs can snap photos and record video at a solid 30 frames per second at 1080p.
In addition, the shades, which'll officially be released next month, can now livestream up to 30 minutes at a time to either Instagram or Facebook, allowing anyone willing to shell out for its $299 asking price to play the part of being a tech-hip influencer.
Lights, Camera, Action
Of course, for anyone that isn't keen on shamelessly broadcasting away their lives and feeding it to Meta's algorithms, the idea that anyone wearing these could be recording you might be disturbing, especially since Meta's glasses look almost exactly like regular Ray-Bans, and aren't the painfully unstylish giveaways that were Google's Glass or Snapchat's Spectacles.
But don't worry, the minds at Meta have a solution: the glasses are supposed to light up when they're recording, and unlike when this feature was used in its dud predecessor, it now flashes on and off to make the effect more noticeable.
"Yes, the pattern was more noticeable in person," Victoria Song wrote at The Verge in her hands-on test of the glasses, "...but I was also indoors, and direct sunlight has the tendency to wash out any kind of LED or screen."
"It's hard to say whether this slight tweak is actually enough to address privacy fears when the device itself is so discreet," she added.
Needless to say, it doesn't sound like a foolproof solution. The indicator light, in fact, has already been hilariously foiled by whoa-dude podcaster Joe Rogan, who in an interview with Zuckerberg last year smartly asked, umm, "couldn't you just put a piece of tape over the light?"
"I guess in theory," was all Zuckerberg could stammer in defense.
Who's to say someone dedicated enough couldn't just remove the light, either?
Adding to privacy fears, a software update to the glasses is coming down the pipe that will equip them with Meta AI, which the company claims will be able to get information on what you're looking at, like looking up and identifying landmarks, hands-free. God help us all if this tech starts parsing human faces.
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