Facebook’s New Smart Glasses with Ray-Ban Already Running Into Regulatory Issues


It looks like another Facebook product is coming under increased regulatory scrutiny and this one is barely fresh off the presses.

Photo by Stories from Ray-Ban.

We told you a little while ago about Zuckerberg and company joining forces with glasses manufacturer Ray-Ban to produce a pair of smart glasses that, like rival Snap’s effort, seamlessly connects with Facebook’s ecosystem of products and services.

Well, two countries in the European Union aren’t so sure about the glasses’ current design; namely, the LED lights that let others know a user is taking pictures or filming them.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission and Italian consumer privacy watchdog group Garante both have questioned the design and whether it sufficiently lets others know that the glasses aren’t your standard pair of Wayfarers, TechCrunch reports.

“While it is accepted that many devices including smart phones 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. 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,” TechCrunch quotes Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) on the design of the Facebook/Ray-Ban smart glasses.

Facebook, for its part, has pledged to work with regulators to come up with acceptable solutions to any concerns they might have, TechCrunch reports.

Apparently, none of these concerns were large enough to prevent the glasses from going on sale as they are currently available in Ireland and other EU countries.

That said, Facebook has a range of issues it has to deal with in Europe and elsewhere. As we reported, the Instagram division is having a heck of a time of its own with privacy concerns – so much so that they finally put the kibosh (albeit temporarily) on a planned “for Kids” version of the app.

What do you think of Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses? How should such a product let others know the user is recording? Let us know your thoughts on that in the comments below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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