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Facebook’s smart glasses may be illegal here

Ray-Ban Stories

Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories – sunglasses with dual cameras, recording capabilities and more – make it way too easy to break Australia’s complex State and Federal laws.

While there is no overarching Australian Privacy legislation, just using these can breach many State and Federal laws and precedents. Most of which land you a fine or can see you in jail.

The following is a summary of various laws – GadgetGuy publishes it for general information only.

Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses may be illegal here. Why?

You may be committing an offence if you photograph (video/still with/without audio) someone or publish (social media, internet, print, TV, radio, etc.) without their permission in the following circumstances:

  • Publication of naked or sexually explicit photographs if it harasses, intimidates, or humiliates a person (Voyeurism Prevention Act).
  • It can also be stalking, bullying, or offensive use of the internet. It is an Australia-wide offences under illegal use of a carriage service
  • Publication of intimate images without consent (commonly known as ‘revenge porn’) is an Australia-wide offence
  • Publishing an image of a person accessing or leaving ‘safe access zones,’ e.g., an abortion clinic or other personal services. This is an offence in most States
  • Publishing or distributing a sexual or naked image of a minor (as innocent as a nappy change at a beach). This is an Australia-wide child pornography offence
  • Taking photographs or videos in areas where photography is prohibited, such as inside a court, hospital, police station, government office, public performance or where signed. This is an Australia-wide offence.
  • Recording movies at a cinema and live performances at any venue is both a criminal offence and a breach of copyright.
  • Taking photographs or videos in areas where a person can reasonably expect privacy. For example in their own home, business premises and particularly in a changing room, baby feeding area or public toilet.
  • If the publication is defamatory, misleading, deceptive or could lead to a loss of that person’s reputation, income or infer endorsement of a product or activity

Remedies

  • Any person can request you leave their property and you must immediately comply.
  • Any person so photographed can demand immediate deletion of the photography or posting on the internet. No questions – failure to remove or subsequent use is a criminal offence.
  • If you photograph a person who becomes irritated or is at risk of provoking a conflict that might escalate into a public disturbance you are committing offensive conduct. It is an Australia-wide criminal offence.

Personal or commercial use – there is a fine line you don’t want to cross

There is discrimination between personal and commercial use. As a general rule, no law prohibits making a video recording in a public place for a non-commercial purpose.

Publishing said material on a blog or site that earns advertising or click income takes away your rights and becomes a commercial matter with even stronger laws. Remember, the various levels of government own public spaces and can be pretty strict on commercial use requiring licenses, waivers, public liability insurance and fees.

Surveillance – don’t do it

Many State surveillance laws relating to hidden/concealed cameras and audio recording devices further complicate the various laws above. Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories is a concealed recording device even if there is a LED to show activity.

The overarching principle is that you cannot use it for surveillance, especially in people’s homes or on their properties (Trespass) or if the subject is not a party (aware) of the activity (reasonable expectation of privacy). If sued, the onus is on you to prove that the activity could be easily seen/heard by an ordinary citizen passing by. That is extremely hard to do.

Summary

To be clear, there is no overarching law giving a general right to privacy. But more cases are being won by defining unauthorised photography as unauthorised use of ‘personal information, and its publication breaches the Privacy Act.

Back to Facebook’s Ray-Ban stories

  • 2 x 5MP 2592×1944 pixel cameras – 5,000,000 pixels each – pretty high resolution considering most webcams are < 1million. So don’t let Facebook call them tiny or play down their resolution – they are not. It can store 500 images onboard.
  • Captures 30-second 1841×[email protected] frames per second. This is unusual because it is a 1:1 ratio, meaning that it will capture 180° Field of View (FOV) – head to toe. Most smartphones have <70° FOV. It can store 35 video clips onboard.
  • Three far-field mics to capture omnidirectional sound up to several metres away
  • An external micro-LED signifies camera use
  • Has left and right open ear speakers
  • Must be paired to a smartphone and requires a persistent login to Facebook
  • Requires the use of Facebook Assistant and View app that uploads video/audio to its cloud or straight to publish on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp.

GadgetGuy’s take

There are two words you never use in the same sentence – Facebook and Privacy.

Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories help complete its 24×365 surveillance of you. While your Facebook smartphone app tracks your location, Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories tracks what you do at those locations. Add that to the new Facebook Portal video calling device (smart speaker with Alexa), and your life is 100% exposed to Facebook. Remember Facebook analyses any images you take looking for new data – particularly connections to others.

Know that 98% of Facebook’s revenue comes from laser-focused advertising served to you. Facebook’s Ray-Ban stories make you that little more reliant on Facebook.

Facebook is not responsible for how you use it or what you post. It is horrifyingly similar to the gun lobby slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

#Delete Facebook – it is nothing more than a personal data harvesting app making massive money from your data.