Facebook being Facebook, the social networking giant has decided to assuage some fears and pre-empt the launch of its new Portal video chat devices that go on sale in the US starting today — the devices being Facebook’s first hardware products the company has built itself — with a lengthy list of what Portal does and doesn’t do posted to the company’s official blog.
But if you buy a Portal, we promise we won’t spy on your video chats or use the product as a creepy new portal into the lives of our users.
The company says your video chats will be encrypted, the camera can be turned off, and Portal even comes with a plastic cover to keep your camera under wraps if you want.
Facebook says it doesn’t listen to, view or keep contents of your Portal video calls, and in an interview with Bloomberg , Facebook’s vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth was emphatic: “This isn’t a data gathering operation.”
Facebook shared more details in the company blog post ahead of the release, outlining privacy safeguards:
“Portal video calls are encrypted, so your calls are secure.
Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.
“For example, if you make lots of video calls, you might see some ads related to video calling.
This information does not include the contents of your Portal video calls.”
The blog post ends with a reminder that Portal won’t show Facebook ads but that you might see ads from some third-party apps on Portal, like from music partners.
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