Facebook Draws Harsh Criticism For Home Video Camera, also known as “the Spy in Your Living Room”

Yes, this is another article about Facebook’s many security and privacy problems. I guess I should be thankful for Facebook’s existence. Without Facebook, there wouldn’t be much to write about in this Privacy Blog.

Facebook released its answer to the Amazon Echo this week — the Portal home device. And, predictably, the company’s announcement was met with almost universal outrage. Running through most of the responses was a common thread: why would anyone want to give Facebook access to their home when the platform is currently plagued by privacy scandals? Indeed, the company’s privacy scandals have made us wary of all of its connected devices.

According to Jake Kastrenakes, editor of Circuit Breaker at https://www.theverge.co:

“The [Facebook] Portal is designed to simplify video chatting by having a wide-angle camera capable of identifying your body, then tracking you as you move around the room. It makes for more comfortable chatting than holding a phone up to your face for extended periods of time. Facebook says the Portal is designed to create the sense that you’re sharing one big room with the people you’re talking to, and considers the chats you have on the device an augmented reality experience.

“With the Portal, you don’t have to hold, aim, or direct anything. Once a chat starts up, the device’s camera will automatically find people in the room and keep them in frame. If multiple people are in a room, the camera will use a wide angle to fit them all. If there’s only one person, the camera will zoom in to focus on their face. Facebook says this feature makes video chatting more natural, since you can just talk without worrying about camera angles.”

You can read a lot more about the privacy issues in Facebook’s new Portal hardware in an article by Casey Newton in The Verge at: http://bit.ly/2PuADVw.

No, I don’t plan on buying a Portal.

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