Big brother may be getting a little bigger.
Facebook announced it is launching a new electronic device, titled Portal, which is intended to optimize video calls for users. However, it remains unclear if people are open to the idea of an Internet-connected camera in their homes following several privacy issues with the social media giant.
Earlier this year, millions of Facebook users may have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that worked on behalf of President Donald Trump’s campaign. Recently, Facebook acknowledged that hackers may have broken through security measures to access millions of accounts.
According to Facebook, Portal users will have the capability to disable the camera and microphone, and its “Smart Camera,” “uses AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers” Portal’s camera does not sue facial recognition and does not identify who users are.
Additionally, “Facebook doesn’t listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling. Like other voice-enabled devices, Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, “Hey Portal.” You can delete Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log.”
Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes — a $199 model (or two for $298 - with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 “Plus” version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. Both include an Internet-connected speaker that features Amazon’s “Alexa.”
The Portal is available for preorders and will be available in November.
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