Facebook mulls face biometrics for forthcoming smart glasses
Facebook’s upcoming smart glasses are due to launch this year, and the company is assessing whether face biometrics could be an added feature to the devices, reports Buzzfeed.
The glasses will be built in partnership with Ray-Ban and Luxottica Group and will be able to connect to a mobile device. Details on the functions of the glasses have not yet been released, though digital overlay and augmented reality have been mentioned.
Whether marking faces as ‘unsearchable’ will be possible, is yet unclear. “Face recognition … might be the thorniest issue, where the benefits are so clear, and the risks are so clear, and we don’t know where to balance those things,” says Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality. Concerns about stalkers were raised during a company meeting about the biometric technology.
Facebook currently uses the in-house DeepFace biometric system to power some of the site’s features, such as photo-tag suggestions by identifying people. Facebook does not market this data to outside companies.
However, facial recognition continues to be a topic of debate, particularly over regulation of the technology. Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act requires organizations collecting biometric data to notify people about the practice before gathering data, as well as provide an exact timeline for deleting the data. Facebook agreed to pay out $650 million to Illinois residents to settle allegations it used biometrics for photo tags without consent. Lawsuits have also been filed against Amazon, TikTok, and numerous other companies for allegedly violating terms of the act.
Possible use-cases of the smart glasses could include helping put names to faces in a social setting, or for people who experience face blindness. Voice commands have also been speculated, with the command “Hey Facebook” as a wake word.
The decision is expected to be announced soon.