Less than two weeks before the debut of the flagship smartphone Pixel 4, Google is temporarily disconnecting a controversial "field research" program that offered subjects in US cities. UU. A $ 5 gift certificate in exchange for a face scan, after a New York Daily News reports that a Google contracting agency was actively targeting homeless people in Atlanta and cheating college students involuntary to participate by pretending that they would simply be testing a new application.
Originally, the company told us that the idea was to ensure that the new Pixel 4 face unlock feature recognized a diverse variety of faces, which could prevent it from leaning against people of color, a legitimate concern for technology Facial recognition
Google now tells The New York Times and The Verge that he immediately suspended the program and opened an investigation, after reading the story Daily News & # 39; . He did not confirm the individual accusations, but said it is true that he hired Randstad contractors for the investigation, the same contractor named at the exhibition Daily News & # 39; and reportedly, Google qualified the alleged details as "very disturbing." . ”Google tells The Verge that he made sure to provide instructions to his investigators to be transparent with the people they approached for a facial scan, so it seems that Google may dodge part of the guilt If the accusations about your contractor are true.
Here is a statement that Google provided: "We are taking these claims seriously and investigating them. The accusations regarding truthfulness and consent are in violation of our requirements for voluntary research studies and the training we provide."
Google isn Not necessarily suspend the program forever. He says he simply stopped him while the company investigates and, meanwhile, will continue to pay the contractors.
Notably, Google introduces itself after the Atlanta city attorney, Nina Hickson, sent a very energetic email to the company about the goal of their homeless: "The possibility that members of our populations more vulnerable are exploited to advance the commercial interest of your company. " it is deeply alarming for numerous reasons, "he wrote, the Times reports .
You can read the full exposition Daily News & # 39; here.
Update, 5 of October at 2:57 PM ET: Confirmation and more information was added directly from Google.