Who do you trust in your living room? Apple, with always-on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, HomePod, and Apple Watch? Or, Amazon, with always-on Echo and Alexa spying on you 24/7? Or, Google with Assistant and the hot selling Home talking speaker products?
There is something about a device that sits in the living room and could be recording information about what goes on in your home that is beginning to creep me out. Facebook wants to live in your living room, too.
How can that be a good thing for anyone except Facebook? What if Apple did what Facebook does?
Good questions, right?
Facebook continues to announce new data breaches and to combat bad publicity they launched two products designed to spy on users even more– and to collect more personal information than anyone thought possible (without Mark Zuckerberg sleeping in your living room).
Facebook Portal and Portal Plus. These are smart displays with a focus on video chatting. You know, the kind of video chatting that everyone does with FaceTime, Skype, and a dozen or so other technologies that put us face to face with people we know but without Facebook in the middle.
So, let me get this straight.
People are leaving Facebook in record numbers and Facebooks basic response is to double down with hardware that spies on users even more; devices that collect more information, reduce privacy, and help Facebook to track users better, and make more money with fewer users.
Check it out.
What could go wrong with a new product from a company with a history of taking private information from users, selling such information to foreign entities (and advertisers), losing such information to hackers, and generally abusing anything to do with privacy and security?
Both Facebook Portal devices have 12-megapixel cameras, built-in high definition video capture, some artificial intelligence software, and video chat capability. The AI is attached to the camera which can follow you as you move; ostensibly collecting information about your home, too.
These are not tiny devices similar to Amazon’s Echo Show. The 10-inch Portal is priced at $199 (roughly the same size as a new iPad) and the 15-inch Portal has a rotating display and is priced at $349 (about the same size as a bigger MacBook Pro, and more than many Chromebooks).
Guess what else is built into the Portal units?
What if Apple did what Facebook just did with the Portal products? After all, iPhone, iPad, and Mac have similar abilities. All have cameras. All have an option to run Amazon Alexa (or, Facebook) and other video chat services. I understand the convenience of a video chat device for the home. There is an allure there to be able to chat with Facebook friends.
Honestly, though, are not all these attempts to see what we’re doing while we’re doing it in our home homes and living rooms getting to be just a little creepy? If Apple was so blatant about capturing information in the same way as Alexa, Assistant, and now Facebook, would there be an outcry?
I hope so.