How many sets of eyes are in your sunglasses?


Olivia Mowad

Those who live in sunny places usually choose to invest in a pair of sunglasses for driving and pool days. However, new technology could turn these seemingly innocent sunglasses into an even bigger invasion of privacy than your phone.

Olivia Mowad, Multimedia Editor

Some parents would describe their children as having little to no privacy on their phones, but what if recording devices similar to their phones were now on their faces? On Sept. 9, 2021, Facebook released their first generation of smart glasses called “Ray-Ban Stories.” These smart glasses have the ability to film and even play music. If this wasn’t smart enough for the average consumer, these sunglasses even come with a built-in virtual assistant. By saying “Hey Facebook,” you can direct your glasses to take a photo or video, play music and even send a message hands-free. 

Apple was one of the first companies to fully capitalize on the wearable technology market. Consumers loved the idea of having small earbuds without wires, as they made it extremely easy to play music and talk on the phone. However, we have normalized seeing people talk to themselves by assuming that they are wearing small pieces of technology. 

Now, with the opportunity to film the world around us almost inconspicuously, privacy issues are likely to arise. These new glasses will allow the user to take up to 30-second videos and immediately import them to the new Facebook View app, becoming readily available to post on social media. 

In response to those worried about privacy, Facebook has released the following statement: “We won’t access your photos and videos captured with the Glasses and stored in the App unless you choose to upload them to certain services provided by Meta (i.e., Facebook or Instagram).” With this promise of privacy, you also have the option of turning the glasses off by using the power switch to disable all features. 

Ray-Ban has also included a safety feature to alert those around the wearer of the glasses that there is filming in progress. When a white light appears on the glasses, that will signify that the video or photo is being taken.

Choosing to share your data with Facebook is always an option as well. Their company policy states, “Meta collects essential data needed to keep your Glasses and the App running, and allows you to opt in to provide additional data to improve your experience. Choosing to share additional data does not give Meta access to the photos and videos created with your Glasses.” Although this may calm the average person, it is important to take into account how these social media sites work. 

Media platforms often have an uncanny ability to sink their teeth into users and make millions of dollars from the time viewers spend on their apps. Although many believe that this is an invasion of privacy, your social media account may know you even better than your friends. As you create a profile and begin to scroll through your “For You” page, the website collects behavioral and demographical information. 

This raises the question of how much data we can choose to share with these companies, and if legislative measures such as the Federal Trade Commission Act will protect the average human from becoming a victim of deceptive large technology companies. Will having technology rivaling that of phones attached to our faces be beneficial for those anxious for more wearable technology? Or will these new technologies cause our lives to become broadcasted to the very same tech companies that promise to uphold our safety and security? 

What do you think?