They need individuals with darker skin to scan their faces

Google confessed it had staff pounding the pavement in a number of U.S. towns in July, searching for individuals ready to sell their facial information for a $5 gift certificate to assist enhance the face unlock scheme of Pixel 4.

But the New York Daily News reports that some questionable methods may be used by a Google contractor to get those facial scans, including targeting homeless people groups and tricking college students who didn’t know they were registered.

According to other sources that supposedly worked on the project, a contracting agency named Randstad explicitly sent teams to Atlanta to target people who are homeless and those with darker skin, often without stating they worked for Google, and without letting go of simply recording the faces of individuals.

Google wasn’t necessarily conscious that Randstad was going after homeless people, but one source told the Daily News that a Google manager allegedly instructed the group to target individuals with darker skin.

In the complete tale, there are too many eyebrow-raising passages to print all of them here, but here are a few:


“They said to target homeless people because they’re the least likely to say anything to the media,” the ex-staffer said. “The homeless people didn’t know what was going on at all.”

Some were told to gather the face data by characterizing the scan as a “selfie game” similar to Snapchat, they said. One said workers were told to say things like, “Just play with the phone for a couple minutes and get a gift card,” and, “We have a new app, try it and get $5.”

Another former TVC said team members in California were specifically told they could entice cash-strapped subjects by mentioning a state law that says gift cards less than $10 can be exchanged for cash.


The study also involves images of the supposed device used to capture facial information— a phone contained in a big, rough metal frame and secured with tamper-detection stickers and safety screws.

It’s important to note that there are legitimate reasons why Google would want to make sure it’s testing its new face unlock feature widely with colored people— it shouldn’t be biased against them due to a absence of information. For this reason, as we reported earlier, Apple also collected facial recognition data prior to the launch of Face ID.

But while walking up to someone and explaining the scenario in full is not terribly creepy, it sounds like Google and/or its contractor may have taken some extreme and unpleasant shortcuts to cash in.

Google and Randstad did not respond to demands for comments instantly.

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