This summer, Google said that it has hired some employees that are sent to a variety of US cities, looking for people who want to sell their facial data for a $5 gift certificate to help improve the Pixel 4’s face unlock system. But a new report from the New York Times reveals that a Google contractor may be using some questionable methods to get those facial scans, which includes targetting a group of homeless people and tricking college students who didn’t know they were being recorded.
According to several sources who supposedly worked on the project, a contracting agency named Randstad sent some teams to Atlanta explicitly to target homeless people and those with dark skin, frequently without saying they were working for Google, and without letting them know they were recording them.
As from the sources, Google wasn’t aware of this event from Google that Randstad was going after homeless people. But as from the source of Daily News, one of the Google Manager reportedly did instruct the group to target people with darker skin. The report also includes pictures of the alleged device used to capture the facial data, a phone encased in a large, rugged metal frame and sealed with tamper-detection stickers and security screws.
Although Google and Randstad didn’t reply to this happening, it should be noted that Google should make sure that the people from whom they are collecting data should be well aware of what this data will be used. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of color. Apple also collected facial data before revealing Apple Face ID, but at that time, the company thoroughly explains the situation to the people from whom they were collecting the data. But in the case of Google, it sounds like Google and/or its contractor may have been taking some extreme and unsavory shortcuts to cash in.
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