Cameras, cameras, everywhere: They’re all jumping aboard the Big Brother bandwagon, This one is the most controversial yet!
Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writers, Associated Press •October 9, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen and camera-equipped gadget intended to make video calls easier and more intuitive.
But it’s unclear if people will open their homes to an internet-connected camera sold by a company with a questionable track record on protecting user privacy.
Facebook is marketing the device, called Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. The device features a camera that uses artificial intelligence to automatically zoom as people move around during calls.
Since Echo’s release nearly four years ago, both Google and Apple have followed Amazon in releasing smart speakers designed for use with their other digital services — some of them, at least. These speakers can serve as hub-like controllers for “smart” homes as people install appliances, lighting and security systems that can be controlled over the internet.
Portal represents Facebook’s entry into that fray. But pointing an artificially intelligent camera into peoples’ homes could well raise other privacy questions.
“The first thing consumers are going to wonder is ‘how much sensitive data is this collecting about me?'” said John Breyault, vice president of public policy of telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group that has received donations from Facebook and other tech companies.
On Monday, Twitter users were quick to point to Facebook’s privacy fallacies and what they saw as the company’s impudence in asking people to trust it with a camera called Portal inside their homes. Some compared it to the always-on, always-watching telescreens in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”…READ MORE