Italy data authority seeks clarifications on privacy from Facebook over its new smart glasses

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Italy’s data protection authority said on Friday it has asked Facebook to provide clarifications over the social media giant’s newly-launched smart glasses to assess whether the product is compliant with privacy laws.

Facebook smart glasses, which were created in partnership with Ray Ban maker EssilorLuxottica, allow wearers to listen to music, take calls, or capture photos and short videos and share them across Facebook’s services using a companion app.

The Italian watchdog, Garante, said it has called on the Irish data protection commissioner, which leads oversight of Facebook because the social-media company’s European headquarters are based in Ireland, to ask Facebook for clarifications.

The Italian authority said it wanted to be informed on measures Facebook has put in place to protect people occasionally filmed, in particular children, as well as on systems adopted to make data collected anonymous and features of the voice assistant connected to the glasses.

“We know people have questions about new technologies, so before the launch of Ray Ban Stories we engaged with the Irish DPC to share how we’ve built privacy into the product design and functionality of the glasses to give both device owners and people around them peace of mind,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

“We’ll answer questions from Garante through the Irish DPC and we look forward to our continued collaboration with regulators in Europe,” the spokesperson added.

On Friday, Amnesty International raised similar concerns over privacy. Amnesty Tech, the NGO’s tech wing, tweeted: “Facebook is a surveillance advertising company whose business relies on exploiting our data and invading our privacy on a vast scale.

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“Now it has teamed up with Ray-Ban to sell camera glasses. @ray_ban have you thought this through?”

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