Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth told employees that the company is evaluating the legal and privacy issues around facial recognition for its upcoming wearable gadget.
Facebook is discussing building facial recognition into its upcoming smart glasses product and has been weighing the legal implications of the controversial technology, executives said at an internal meeting Thursday.
During a scheduled companywide meeting, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality, told employees that the company is currently assessing whether or not it has the legal capacity to offer facial recognition on devices that are reportedly set to launch later this year. Nothing had been decided, he said, and he noted that current state laws may make it impossible for Facebook to offer people the ability to search for others based on pictures of their face.
“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,” Bosworth said in response to an employee question about whether people would be able to “mark their faces as unsearchable” when smart glasses become a prevalent technology. The unnamed worker specifically highlighted fears about the potential for “real-world harm,” including “stalkers.”
Following publication of this story, Bosworth wrote on Twitter that “we’ve been open about our efforts to build [augmented reality] glasses and are still in the early stages.”
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