Google admitted that it had employees looking for people willing to sell their facial data for a 5-dollar gift certificate across the United States to help improve the Pixel 4 facial unlocking system. Now a new report reports that a Google contractor will have used some highly questionable methods to get those facial features, since they have tricked groups of homeless people and university students to obtain information without knowing that they were being recorded.
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According to New York Post, a contractor agency called Randstad sent teams to Atlanta explicitly to target homeless people and people with dark skin, often without saying they were working for Google, and without realizing that they were actually recording their faces for the recognition system. facial.
Google was not necessarily aware that Randstad was looking for the homeless, but a Google manager, according to reports, instructed the group to attack people with darker skin, a source told the newspaper.
According to the source's revelations, they were looking for homeless people because they are less likely to talk to the media and also were not aware of Ranstad's tricks at all. They are told that they were playing selfies or that they would try the phone to get a gift card. They are also told that they can try a new app for 5 dollars.
Another source said that team members in California were specifically told that they can attract subjects with cash problems by mentioning a state law that says gift cards of less than $ 10 can be exchanged for cash. That is why they also took students into account, without being told that the purpose was to obtain their data for facial recognition of Pixel 4.
The report also includes images of the supposed device used to capture facial data: a phone enclosed in a large and resistant metal frame and sealed with tamper detection stickers and security screws.
Although Google may have reasons to try the new facial unlocking feature widely with people of color, the methods are highly questionable. And while it's not terrible to approach someone and fully explain the situation, It seems that Google and Ranstad may have been taking some extreme and unpleasant shortcuts to get the data.
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