Facebook Says It Violates The Terms Of Service Of Their New Snoopervision Glasses If You Cover The 'I'm Recording You' LED

from the like-that'll-work dept

You’ve likely heard by now that Facebook has launched their own version of sunglasses with a built-in camera, in partnership with Ray Ban, called “Ray Ban Stories” (because, seriously, which brand is cooler right now? Facebook? Or Ray Ban?). Lots of people are comparing it to the failed disaster that was Google Glass (which gave rise to the term “Glassholes”) or SnapChat’s similar product, and lots of people are calling out the potential privacy issues associated with these snoopervision glasses. To be honest, personally I feel like at least some of those concerns are typical moral panics, akin to people freaking out when the camera itself was invented, such as this story about early Kodak cameras:

The appearance of Eastman’s cameras was so sudden and so pervasive that the reaction in some quarters was fear. A figure called the “camera fiend” began to appear at beach resorts, prowling the premises until he could catch female bathers unawares. One resort felt the trend so heavily that it posted a notice: “PEOPLE ARE FORBIDDEN TO USE THEIR KODAKS ON THE BEACH.” Other locations were no safer. For a time, Kodak cameras were banned from the Washington Monument. The “Hartford Courant” sounded the alarm as well, declaring that “the sedate citizen can’t indulge in any hilariousness without the risk of being caught in the act and having his photograph passed around among his Sunday School children.”

And, frankly, if someone wants to record people surreptitiously, there are tons of ways to do so today already that are a lot easier (and often a lot cheaper) than an ugly pair of sun glasses. I think the bigger issue in the long run is going to be coming up with a new set of social norms and social cues for what is and what is not appropriate here. But that’s a debate for another day.

What amazes me about the rollout of Facebook’s glasses is that they seem to think that they can stop people from covering the LED light that goes on when you’re recording… by claiming that it’s a terms of service violation. That’s what a Facebook VP told Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos, whose article on the whole Facebook glasses thing is absolutely worth reading. But this bit is just pure silliness and makes Facebook look ridiculous:

Although you can?t turn off the light on the glasses or through the app, I was able to do this the old fashion way: I put a tiny piece of masking tape over the LED light and colored the tape black with a Sharpie. It covered it up perfectly.

Sometimes to stop the creeps, you have to become…a creep.

Alex Himel, VP of AR at Facebook Reality Labs, informed me over a Zoom chat that taping over the LED light was a violation of the terms of service of the glasses, which prohibit tampering with the device. Be warned.

Yeah, that’s not how any of this works. Claiming that putting a piece of tape over a light is “tampering” that violates the terms is highly questionable. Second, thinking that that even matters is just exceptionally silly. If people want to cover the light, they’ll cover the light. At least confront that head on rather than with a “ooooh, you’ll break your warranty” kind of nonsense. But this is Facebook and Facebook is going to do Facebook type things and believe that the terms of service rules all.

Beyond the ridiculousness of this response, it drifts into right to repair territory and questions of ownership. Facebook has taken over enough of people’s lives as is. They shouldn’t be out there telling you what you can do with physical products you purchased, even if they’re associated with the product.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , ,
Companies: facebook, ray ban

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Facebook Says It Violates The Terms Of Service Of Their New Snoopervision Glasses If You Cover The 'I'm Recording You' LED”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
22 Comments
Kobysays:

CYA

There’s a handful of two party consent states when it comes to recording. I bet the LED feature is there primarily to appease the lawyers. If someone files a lawsuit, FB can at least sort of claim that they took steps to notify everyone in the area that their glasses were actively recording. Because of their policy, they might be successful in court at shifting liability onto the users, and could maybe get regulators off their back.

Kobysays:

CYA

There’s a handful of two party consent states when it comes to recording. I bet the LED feature is there primarily to appease the lawyers. If someone files a lawsuit, FB can at least sort of claim that they took steps to notify everyone in the area that their glasses were actively recording. Because of their policy, they might be successful in court at shifting liability onto the users, and could maybe get regulators off their back.

Anonymoussays:

First of all, spy cams are cheap and easy to acquire so anyone who wants to surreptitiously record others can do so less obviously than with stupid looking Facebook glasses.

People hold up their phones while using them all the time and it’s already not clear when they’re filming.

Even when Google Glass was being tested, I didn’t understand the attacks on so-called glassholes. It wasn’t being recorded that was the problem. It was the knowledge that they were being recorded that drove people irrationally crazy in public places where they didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Anonymoussays:

First of all, spy cams are cheap and easy to acquire so anyone who wants to surreptitiously record others can do so less obviously than with stupid looking Facebook glasses.

People hold up their phones while using them all the time and it’s already not clear when they’re filming.

Even when Google Glass was being tested, I didn’t understand the attacks on so-called glassholes. It wasn’t being recorded that was the problem. It was the knowledge that they were being recorded that drove people irrationally crazy in public places where they didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

stares in wtf

Anyone want to tell them about all of the people violating FaceBooks TOS in thousands of ways everyday on their platform, who rarely face ‘punishment’?

Our spyglasses are better than the ones available at 1/3 the price… we have an led.

Something something French people assaulting the guy who had his GoogleGlasses bonded to his face b/c they KNEW he was recording them.

I was in Target in the dressing room and I know I saw a light on this creepy guys glasses I know he was filming me to see what price he could get from the sex traffickers for me!

I was walking in the parking lot and saw the light on the glasses on a guy walking towards me, before he could kidnap me I maced him and then shot him!

Yep… no possible way this could go wrong… nope nope nope… we have a TOS.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

stares in wtf

Anyone want to tell them about all of the people violating FaceBooks TOS in thousands of ways everyday on their platform, who rarely face ‘punishment’?

Our spyglasses are better than the ones available at 1/3 the price… we have an led.

Something something French people assaulting the guy who had his GoogleGlasses bonded to his face b/c they KNEW he was recording them.

I was in Target in the dressing room and I know I saw a light on this creepy guys glasses I know he was filming me to see what price he could get from the sex traffickers for me!

I was walking in the parking lot and saw the light on the glasses on a guy walking towards me, before he could kidnap me I maced him and then shot him!

Yep… no possible way this could go wrong… nope nope nope… we have a TOS.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it