Can Facebook Be Trusted For Once, And Deliver On Its New Portal Device Privacy Promises?

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Facebook has your data: knows who you chat with, who you video call, who you DM, what you love, like, hate, etc worst of all this data are available to frivolous firms for ads targeting. That’s no news you’ll say. Here is the news, Facebook wants to see and listen to conversations in your living room and kitchen.

Facebook’s new device, called Portal, has the following characteristics:

“Portal and Portal+, two new video communication devices for the home that dramatically change the way we keep in touch. Thanks to AI technology, Portal makes video calling easier and more like hanging out, while a widescreen display lets you enjoy every moment together. When you can’t be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there.

With a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal from Facebook improves video calling and lets you enjoy quality time with family and friends — hands and distraction free. Looking for a larger screen for more flexibility? You can also opt for a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display with Portal+. Both models are designed to help you feel closer to the important people in your life and make video chats feel less like a call, and more like you’re actually in the same room.” Facebook said in its release.

To start a call all you say is: “Hey! Portal.” Then you give the commands. During calls, it can play music from Spotify or videos from Facebook watch, as well as tell children stories via augmented effect app Story Time.

During a conversation, the integrated camera can automatically zoom out to include a second person, or be instructed to follow someone as they move about, picking out their voice over background noise.

Facebook’s Portal comes fully loaded with “Alexa”, yes “Alexa”. Amazon’s Echo which runs on Alexa is supposed to be a competitor, but Facebook chose to put Alexa on Portal. Hope Alexa will not take the blame for the dirt in the house.

Buy Portal Plus from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [15.6” Display] – White

Buy Portal Plus from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [15.6” display] – Black

Buy Portal from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [10.1” Display] – Black

Buy Portal from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [10.1” display] – White

Data Privacy Concerns

Facebook has a terrible record when it comes to privacy, because of its make-money-at-all-cost policy. Recently, Facebook came out of a data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, in which 50 million users’ data were compromised.

If Facebook will listen to the conversation in the kitchen and living room, watch every area of your kitchen and living room, how are we sure the data will not be sold out for ads targeting? Facebook has this to say concerning that:

  • Video calls are encrypted and never recorded or seen by Facebook (though the company can access your call-log data).
  • The camera will not capture video when not in use for a call and the mic will only capture sound when it is asked to listen.
  • Facebook will not process or log conversations that happen near a Portal when the device not engaged.
  • No data collected through Portal will be used to target users with ads on Facebook or any other app.

We’ve heard and read this before from Facebook, yet it has been selling our data for money.

One thing I wouldn’t do with Portal: I won’t put it in my Bedroom!

Buy Portal Plus from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [15.6” Display] – White

Buy Portal Plus from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [15.6” display] – Black

Buy Portal from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [10.1” Display] – Black

Buy Portal from Facebook. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in [10.1” display] – White

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