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Google street teams likely collecting facial recognition data for unlocking new Pixel 4


Google representatives have been collecting facial biometric data from people in various cities, offering them $5 gift cards in return for five minutes of interaction with a mysterious smartphone, according to ZDNet.

In an account of an interaction between a friend and Google representatives, ZDNet’s Chris Matyszczyk reports that the company’s workers said they are collecting data to develop the next generation of facial biometrics for phone unlocking. They had the reporter’s friend use selfie mode with a mobile device in a very large case, which may or may not have been a prototype of the forthcoming Pixel smartphone, taking pictures at various angles.

An image of what the new Pixel 4 may look like, rendered from a preview photo published by Google in June, has been created by a designer and released in association with the iGeeks Blog. The renderings, which Google has not commented on, do not show a visible fingerprint sensor, leading to speculation that the Pixel 4 may use a facial recognition unlocking system, CNBC reports. It also does not appear to have an iPhone-style notch for imaging components.

Teardowns have shown possible facial biometric payment and app sign-in support in Android Q, which is now in Beta.

Matyszczyk’s engineer friend suggested that the data he provided will probably be used to train a neural network for facial recognition, and responded to a question about the privacy implications of his data sale by suggesting that Google already owns data on his whole life, and data privacy is an illusion.

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