Here’s an interesting idea. Let’s suppose, for a moment, that you run a company that has recently developed an unfortunate reputation for major security breaches, when it isn’t actually allowing its advertisers and other vendors access to your personal, private information. Let’s say, in fact, that its whole business model could be imaginatively described as snooping on your data on behalf of large marketing firms and the kind of shady organizations that try to influence political elections.
What do you do? Why, of course, you propose that people install your new device in your homes, which captures video feeds of whatever you’re doing within range of its camera.
Believe it or not, this is exactly how Facebook is responding to its myriad problems with data bloodletting. The company has announced the 10 inch Portal and the 15.6 inch Portal Plus, both designed with video chatting in mind. Not announced is how Facebook will work in advertisements posted by companies that are observing your behavior, but you will pay a suspiciously small price for allowing this intrusion on your privacy. The devices cost $199 and $349 respectively, but come without a web browser, YouTube, WhatsApp or Instagram. The devices have one purpose: video chatting on Facebook—which is something most of us can already do on our phones and computers.
Since Facebook postings are not considered private data—and that data is actively collected by Facebook and sold through advertising and other channels—is there any suggestion that Facebook won’t be collecting and using your video data as well? And is it possible that people will pay to bring a Facebook spy into their home? We’ll find out over Christmas season.