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Oct. 21, 2021, 8:40 a.m. EDT

Facebook’s smart glasses could invade your privacy in new ways

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By Apu Kapadia

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Psychologists have pointed to the  importance of forgetting  as a natural human coping mechanism to move past traumatic experiences. Maybe AI algorithms can be put to good use identifying digital memories to delete. For example, our research has devised AI-based algorithms to detect  sensitive places  like bathrooms and  computer and phone screens , which were high on the worry list in our  lifelogging study . Once detected, footage can be selectively deleted from a person’s digital memories.

X-ray specs of the digital self?

However, smart glasses have the potential to do more than simply record video. It’s important to prepare for the possibility of a world in which smart glasses use facial recognition, analyze people’s expressions, look up and display personal information, and even record and analyze conversations. These applications raise important questions about privacy and security.

We studied the use of smart glasses by people with visual impairments. We found that these potential users were worried about the  inaccuracy of artificial intelligence algorithms  and their potential to misrepresent other people.

Even if accurate, they felt it was improper to infer someone’s weight or age. They also questioned whether it was ethical for such algorithms to guess someone’s gender or race. Researchers have also debated  whether AI should be used to detect emotions , which can be expressed differently by people from difference cultures.

Augmenting Facebook’s view of the future

I have  only scratched   the surface  of the privacy and security considerations for augmented reality glasses. As Facebook charges ahead with augmented reality, I believe it’s critical that the company address these concerns.

I am heartened by the  stellar list of privacy and security researchers  Facebook is collaborating with to make sure its technology is worthy of the public’s trust, especially given the company’s  recent track record .

But I can only hope that Facebook will tread carefully and ensure that their view of the future includes the concerns of these and other privacy and security researchers.

Apu Kapadia is a professor of computer science at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. This was first published by The Conversation — “Can Facebook’s smart glasses be smart about security and privacy?

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