A few years ago, your average person would have been horrified at the thought of microphones and cameras being placed in their home.
After all, unless you are a Kardashian, your home is usually a private place where you can relax in your scruffiest pyjama pants and feel far away from the prying eyes of the world.
But nowadays, intrusive security doesn’t seem quite as shocking as it once did, what with cameras and microphones attached to our phones and computers, and with Facebook now apparently planning to install their very own cameras and microphones into the sacred places where you eat, sleep and slob out on the sofa.
— Dr Matt Prescott (@mattprescott) January 9, 2018
Website Cheddar has claimed the social media giant intends to release a slightly ominous sounding device known as Portal, which will set you back a cool $499 (£368).
Facebook’s very first piece of consumer hardware will include a 15-inch screen, a wide-angle camera complete with facial recognition and microphones capable of voice control.
Furthermore, facial recognition will allow people to log into their accounts without even having to type their passwords which I guess is cool unless you have an identical twin with an annoying sense of humour.
Then you can be watched behind closed doors.
— Casto's Pizza, J&M (@JMCastosPizza) January 10, 2018
However, theres just something a little creepy about this nifty gadget that some consumers may find unsettling. It was designed by the highly mysterious Building 8 lab – a Facebook department with a focus on figuring out mind-reading technology.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not 100 per cent sold on the idea of a massive organisation being able to access my every waking thought. However, there is no suggestion Portal will be able to peer into your brain (yet at least).
The perfect way to get a smart agent into the home….
— FRED MCCLIMANS (@fredmcclimans) January 9, 2018
According to Cheddar:
Rather than position the device as a smart assistant akin to Amazon’s Echo speakers, Facebook intends to pitch Portal as a way for families and friends to stay connected through video chatting and other social features,
Facebook plans a formal product introduction in early May at its annual developer conference and hopes to ship the device in the second half of 2018.
Facebook has yet to officially comment on Portal. However, vice president of augmented and virtual reality Andrew Bosworth has dropped major hints with the following tweet:
Can’t comment on speculation but can confirm it’s going to be an exciting year for AR/VR.
— dethkannon (@dethkannon) January 9, 2018
According to reports, Facebook will officially announce the birth of Portal at annual developer conference F8 during May, with the device apparently being shipped later on the year.
However, when it comes to iPhones, let’s be honest. Most of us have used ours in situations during which we’d rather not be observed.
Show me someone who claims they have never used their iPhone on the toilet to peruse the latest memes or watch the latest viral panda video, and I’ll show you a liar.
So, it should come as a shock to most Apple devotees that your private moments of meme reflection may not be as private as you first thought.
iOS engineer Felix Krause has set out to ‘highlight a privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps’, and the results of his findings are pretty horrifying for naked iOS app aficionados and throne-sitting iOS app users alike.
Namely, that once you grant an app access to your camera, it can unleash Black Mirror style hell, with the power to ‘access both the front and the back camera, record you at any time the app is in the foreground’ and ‘take pictures and videos without telling you.
So would you let the new Facebook device into your home? For me, I have to say its a massive thanks but no thanks.
Although, I have just found out my phone is spying on me so...