Facial recognition technology’s misery is well documented when it comes to correctly identify people of color and has received a lot of criticism.
However, a report has revealed that in a trial to improve its facial recognition algorithms, Google has been collecting data from people with dark skin that raises further concerns about the morals of the data harvesting.
Google has undertaken this work by employing contracted workers to take face scans from members of the public whole giving for $5 gift cards, mentioned a report from the New York Daily News.
The face scan collection methods had been earlier reported, but anonymous sources have cited unethical and deceptive practices to the Daily News.
The subcontracted workers were hired by staffing firm Randstad but instructed by Google managers, said the report.
They were asked to target people with “darker skin tones” and then to those who would be more likely to be attracted by the $5 gift card, including homeless people and college students.
The contractors were also asked to avoid revealing to the volunteers they were being recorded, and to misdirect people into face scans by convincing them they were playing a “selfie game,” the Daily News said.
A Google spokesman said that the company is “taking these claims genuinely and doing a thorough investigation on them. The accusations regarding honesty and consent explicitly violate our requirements for volunteer research studies and the training that we facilitate.”
The embarrassing news comes with less than a month before Google is expected to launch new hardware devices, including its flagship Pixel 4 smartphone.
This is not new for the tech giants who had earlier offered money to volunteers in exchange for personal data.
Previously this year, it was disclosed that both Google and Facebook offered consumers gift cards to download apps that gave the company accessibility to a lot of personal information on their phones.
Amazon in May offered $25 to people in New York City who be undergoing a 3D body scan for a yet to be revealed project.