Snap Spectacles 4.0

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Snap Spectacles 4.0

Snap, Inc
Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

Someday smart glass might become a thing. Today doesn't quite feel like that day. These augmented reality Spectacles from Snap, you know, the company that makes Snapchat, say they will help you "create the world you want to see." We think that means they are chock-full of things like dual 3D waveguide displays that provide up to 2000 Nits of brightness. (What is a nit of brightness you ask? We did too. Apparently it's how display manufacturers measure how much brightness is emitted from a display. Good to know.) These specs also come with a touchpad, two cameras, and four microphones. All that to bring Snap's world of augmented reality to life. We don't know about all that, but hey, who doesn't want to create the world you want to see? I want to see a world with more chocolate.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Snap, the company behind Snapchat and these weird spectacles, doesn’t have a great track record of respecting their user’s privacy. In 2019, Motherboard reported that Snap had an internal tool that allowed employees to access users’ personal information, including phone number, email, and location. The report claimed the tool, called SnapLion, was abused for “illegitimate reasons to spy on users.” That’s strike one.

We also found when we tried to contact Snap through the contact link provided in their privacy policy it was nearly impossible to do so. That’s strike two.

Finally, it seems Snap does collect and share a fair amount of users’ information for advertising and targeting purposes. That’s strike three.

What’s the worst that could happen with these AR camera- and microphone-laden spectacles? Well, we suppose you could unknowingly record video of the crowd you’re dancing with at that private party you scored an invite to. You upload that video to the internet, in that crowd is someone in witness protection, they are identifiable in the video and the bad guys who they were hiding from find them and kill them. OK, maybe we’ve watched too many crime dramas. But hey, it could happen, because it’s hard to tell when you’re being recorded by someone wearing smart glasses with a built-in camera.

Tips to protect yourself

mobile Privacy warning Security warning A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Advertisers, app developers, publishers, and other third parties may share information with Snap. They may use this information, among other ways, to help target or measure the performance of ads.

Snap uses data, among other purposes, to provide and improve their advertising services, ad targeting, and ad measurement, including through the use of your precise location information (if allowed by you), both on and off Snap's services.

Snap may share information about you with service providers who perform services on their behalf, including to optimize the performance of ads and deliver more relevant ads, including on third-party websites and apps.

Advertisers, app developers, publishers, and other third parties may share information with Snap as well. Snap may use this information, among other ways, to help target or measure the performance of ads. You can learn more about our use of this kind of third-party data in our Support Center.

How can you control your data?

You can delete your account. Snap says, "We may retain some personal data for certain legal, security, and business needs. For example, we’ll retain information about any purchases you may have made through Snapchat, and when you accepted our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Due to the inclusion of the term "business needs" which is not defined, it is unclear what happens to all data collected after an account is deleted.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In May 2019, it was reported that Snap's employees have a special tool called SnapLion that can give them access to your location, phone numbers, email addresses, even your saved Snaps — and that some employees have actually abused it to spy on users.

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Complicated language

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Snapchat uses some encryption. They reportedly only encrypt Snaps. It's not clear if they fully encrypt text messages or group chats.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Snap runs a bug bounty program.

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Can’t Determine

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

No

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


News

Snapchat Employees Abused Data Access to Spy on Users
Vice
Multiple sources and emails also describe SnapLion, an internal tool used by various departments to access Snapchat user data.
Snapchat Launches New Augmented Reality Smart Glasses With Voice Commands for Lens Creators
Voicebot.ai
Snap Inc. released a new and improved version of the Spectacles smart glasses for Snapchat, with sophisticated augmented reality tools and voice controls.
Listen: Next in Tech | Episode 38: Datacenter and Infrastructure Markets in China
S&P Global
Every region on the globe has their own characteristics, but the high levels of digitization in China create interesting requirements. Perkins Liu, senior research analyst, joins host Eric Hanselman to explore the dynamics of the market and the forces at work.

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