That's unfortunately true of a lot of undesirable things. Ad tech, trackers, robocall software, nicotine, wacky inflatable tube guy, large swaths of law and politics...
Wouldn't it be great if we all worked on good things? The whole hill climbing / gradient ascent algorithm this planet is running would work a lot faster.
Whether or not this page can be trusted, we'll have to see what people find out (I sure ain't going to pay for it to do that myself).
I feel safe now.
Dear Wife, there was a question about my behavior towards you in the past. Some think I was rough with you but in my defense I have never been convicted of giving you that black eye. Please keep supporting me!
More info about the privacy settings: https://portal.facebook.com/privacy/
Disclosure: I work at FB, my team developed the underlying MaskR-CNN technology.
I think a hardware breakdown video would go a long way. For example, an engineer showing that the kill switches actually work correctly.
Either way, I hope somebody vets this.
Most people in this thread are saying, essentially, "Fool me once..." But I'm curious to know if engineers internal to Facebook are aware they are in the same situation, where the privacy assurances by the company will eventually get usurped by its thirst for data. Or do you acknowledge that will happen and just see yourself as a mercenary?
> Do you think they have honored those policies in the past?
I believe they have though I have not been at Facebook very long so I don't have full visibility on this. But I don't think that's the most important question. The most important question is: were these policies strong enough? The answer is definitely no and that's why the company is pivoting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtxPdezclYw&feature=youtu.be
Maybe Purism can review it haha.
I'm just saying, the privacy page doesn't address a lot of real concerns. It talks about being able to shut down the camera and microphone. That's cool. But if one were to enumerate all the ways in which a Facebook gadget might compromise your privacy, they'd go through many other items, and much more basic tech, before getting to covert surveillance by surreptitiously turning on cameras and microphones without indication.
- If I have "Hey Portal" enabled, so my voice does get recorded, what's the retention policy for that? After browsing through several sections and pages, I got to a page ( https://portal.facebook.com/privacy/ ) where it says I can "delete the history of voice commands in the Facebook portal".
That doesn't seem too convenient for intensive use of this device. I don't suppose it automatically gets deleted after, say, 30 days, or the perfectly reasonable timeout dictated by engineering common sense of, well, instantly, right? If so, why? Why not just delete it automatically after a while? If some users want to access their history for an indefinite period of time, why not provide an option for them? Surely it's easier to go to your Facebook settings page and check "Retain history indefinitely" than to manually delete things every day.
- When you say "Facebook doesn’t listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. [...] Portal does, however, listen for the “Hey Portal” wake word, including during calls.", does this policy exclude processing and analyzing the transcripts of the command for advertising purposes?
- Is any non-video call data processed, such as noise levels from microphones that aren't shut?
- If there are instances where the wake word was incorrectly detected, and these instances can be identified as such (since you can find them in the activity log, but they don't have a transcript)... what happens with the transcript? I get that it's not available to me, but does Facebook store it? If so, can it be deleted?
- Is there any commitment to the terms of this privacy notice? If I purchase one now, can I reasonably expect that the terms of the privacy agreement won't change within the next two years -- so that I don't end up buying a good video phone that turns out to morph into a good ol' Facebook surveillance tool next year, after management finds out the program just isn't making enough money?
Before anyone asks -- the reason why I'm not as suspicious about (some) other companies is that, well, few other companies messed it up on the scale, and with the irresponsibility of Facebook. I don't doubt that Facebook has the engineering skill to deliver products that level good levels of privacy, I doubt that Facebook has the management interest, commitment and know-how involved in designing and maintaining them.
Would be nice if it worked offline with something like this: https://picovoice.ai/products/porcupine.html
A demo of it working without any internet would be cool (even though calls require internet)
The smart camera panning using facial recognition looks very useful. Right now I Facetime a lot with my iPad and will prop it up to chat with folks and often move around but then run back to come into the field of view. This solves that problem (for people who use Facebook and have a TV).
And Watch Party looks pretty great too. They've essentially taken a significant part of the "second screen" interaction and just embedded it in the primary screen. And it looks like they're doing it well. I can see this being a fun interaction.
Oh for sure, unfortunately, it's the Facebook label that makes this cool product toxic. Since the Facebook brand is synonymous with poor privacy practices (Firefox even has a 'facebook container' to help reduce tracking), I don't see how someone didn't think to market this under a different parent company and make it 'facebook compatible'.
"If you can get past the creepiness, the new Portal TV let you hang out with friends on your home’s biggest screen."
Lets see what else we can apply this kind of logic:
"If you can get past the creepiness of having that weirdo look at you naked, he can give you cookies! You do want cookies, right?"
The real fun, however, will be when some 5 year old is naked in front of that thing and Facebook employees and/or contractors end up watching it in the name of machine learning followed by the record of it showing up on Pornhub. Though maybe at that point "think of the children" finally gets some people to go to jail. Maybe by that time we get someone like Warren ( regardless how misguided she is in some other aspects ) be the POTUS and push through the jail time for executives.
Is is a healthy business model for a society? I think most people would say no to that.
(Those who downvote parent, please don’t make an is-ought misinterpretation.)
It is one of those rather notable regrets that I did not save that video, even though it clearly struck me to recall it all this time. If I recall correctly, it was a seemingly impromptu talk outside in the open either at a charity or corporate socializing event. It was definitely not in some venue, let alone in a large one where he's basically parroting corporate talking points. Which may also explain the candor and seemingly single mention of his intentions that has stuck with me all this time.
>We’ve done what we can in this latest generation of products, now with integrated camera covers that are hardware, indicator lights when the microphone is off, and form factors that are less obtrusive and blend more into the background of the home.
I actually really like the idea of a dedicated camera device for communicating with family and friends who aren't nearby. And I've been looking for something that lets us do things like play couch-coop games, watch movies, and just in general act like we are together while not physically being together.
For example, some of my closest friends and a bunch of my family are across the country from me. I've played DnD over video chat, i've watched birthday parties from a phone, i've tried to do the thing where we do a voice call over some service then try to start a streaming service like netflix at the same time so we can watch it together. All those options suck in their own way, from poor-quality mics, feedback, connection issues, needing to hold a phone or device or somehow prop it up, and taking up a device which you might otherwise want to use while with those people.
Granted the Portal looks like it won't get very far without buy-in from companies like Netflix and other streaming services (although that whole ecosystem is so fragmented now and it's only getting worse that i'm not sure my hope will ever actually come true). And without the ability to really integrate with games outside of the facebook ecosystem this is going to be a non-starter for couch-coop as well in most cases.
I really like the idea, but Facebook isn't going to be able to build a better Netflix and a better game console AND be the only one doing video chat with those products. They have the chat/messaging side, but IMO that's not enough to really pull me toward this ecosystem, and I've been looking for something just like this for a long time now. Unfortunately, walled gardens are probably going to kill this just like they've killed countless other things.
Of course, given a choice, I'd prefer to have fewer cameras pointed at me.
So porting Fire TV or Android TV apps will be much more easy for developers who want to offer their content on the Portal TV.
In fact it's more likely that they will try to come out with their own hardware IMO. At every step of the way streaming companies have made it harder and harder to actually use their services. From exclusivity deals with one vendor over another, to having shows and movies jump from service to service over the years. Unless I can get some kind of assurance that i'll be able to actually use this to watch a good amount of tv shows and movies with friends and family, i'm not going to gamble on it.
Sure, they might be able to get Netflix on it eventually, but Amazon probably won't touch it, Google will probably steer clear if they can, and the "cable-based streaming services" don't look like they even have the time or ability to maintain the apps and services they already have.
At the end of the day I expect some basic services to come eventually, but they probably won't bother integrating with the more advanced features like simultaneous streaming on multiple devices and other stuff. I'd love to be surprised, but I just don't have much faith any more.
I couldn't convince any of my friends or family to get one of the last-gen Portals even with the discounts. I still don't know anybody who actually has one.
Kind of like everyone has a Google account, either through personal gmail-esque services, a google-for-education account, an android device, a Google IoT device, their work account, etc.
I'm definitely not the target. The two features here (TV and video chat) are completely opposite to my needs. I want a dumb (relatively) box to which I can hook up my Netflixes and Prime Videos etc. and view them without any ads in the UI (looking at you, scum of the earth Smart TV manufacturers). Apple TV, Roku or whatever. The hardware that is, not their respective services.
It's relatively cheap since you're not buying a touch enabled LCD panel with the device. You want the best audio and video quality? Piggyback off TV and sound system manufacturers and the fact that people who care about these things probably already sunk a lot of money on nice home entertainment hardware.
People won't have to worry about where to put another screen. You also have the fact that the living room is semantically already a "social" space, with a "stage". Most people have a couch to fit several people in front of their TV, it's essentially a room already built for video calling.
Strategy-wise, they're using their core competence (social networking) to move into the living room— which is pretty cool and unique in a world where the other options (Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc) mostly rely on entertainment. Also, technology that right now only Portal has— the whole smart camera to find you in the frame thing. They probably released the other Portals before this to battle test it, since this device will probably rely more on it than previous ones.
Honestly, why don't more companies make smarter TV boxes like this? It'd be cool if Google made Chromecast more "Google". Imagine a Chromecast with Assistant built-in, that makes smarter use of your TV when you're not watching it (Google News, Google Finance, Traffic info before your commute, a couple of important calendar reminders, etc). Now I'm thinking an Apple TV with FaceTime and and Siri built-in could be cool too. I could use FaceTime on my TV more than another smart speaker, and would buy it over a HomePod, personally.
There's good ideas here. Of course, wether you want to buy is a separate issue. Honestly kind of sad there's all the privacy concerns, because it sounds like a cool device.
its an always on teleconference with my facebook friends? no thanks.