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Google Might Try to Buy Your Face for $5

Aaron Maclean



Google wants to test its facial recognition algorithms for its next models of smartphones (and maybe image search>?). Some passers-by have been approached in to test the system.

Google has long been very active in the world of smartphones and is preparing its new model, the Pixel 4, which will be equipped with a number of new features.

Among these, it is rumored that a competitor to Apple’s Face ID could be integrated to provide a facial recognition system. And for that, it seems that the Mountain View firm has found an original way to test the algorithms in the United States: approach people on the street and ask them to take pictures and capture their features.

ZDNet explains the scene where a person approached a passerby.

“I was sitting in the park on a sunny day, enjoying the good weather and I see guys who approach with their phone as if they were doing a survey. One of them eventually approached me and said, “Hello, I work for Google and we collect data to improve the next generation of unlocking face-recognition phones.”

In exchange, the passerby was offered a $5 gift card, valid at Amazon or Starbucks.

Of course, we can always ask what Google will do with the data (very personal) of a human face and if this information will only be used for purposes of technlological tests and then destroyed.

In addition, these technologies could be extremely useful for the “search” and in particular the search for images by recognition of forms, an area in which Google is already very advanced.

Would you be ready to sell your face (and all rights on it) for $5?

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New Freshness Algorithm for Featured Snippets

Darren Rogers



Google has just put in production a new algorithm displaying more recent content in its “Featured Snippets” when it considers that the search requires it (request called “hot”) …
Google announced today the implementation of a new algorithm for its Featured Snippets for queries to search for “hot” content.

Google takes the example of a search on “tax brackets”, explaining that this type of request is rather intended to get the latest figures published and not those of previous years.

Of course, all searches do not necessarily require a “fresh” answer. All requests are not “hot” (news). The new algorithm therefore tries to detect “hot” requests by providing a Featured Snippet that is as up to date as possible, without affecting this criterion for “cold” requests that do not require freshness.

Nothing really new, because this concern has always been taken into account by the engine. This algorithm seems to be an evolution of the QDF system (Query Desserves Freshness) set up in 2007 and the Freshness Update of 2011, but more specifically adapted to the featured snippets.

The article does not say however whether this novelty has been implemented worldwide today or only in the United States at first. Anyway, it should quickly happen in our country if it is not already the case.

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Apple, Google pause reviewing audio recordings from voice assistants

Mandy Boyd



Following a complaint from a German organization, Apple, Google and Amazon all announced – to varying degrees – a suspension of their system of listening to conversations of users of their voice assistants.

A few weeks ago, Amazon and Google had admitted that they used subcontractors or employees to listen to certain conversations (less than 1% in general) of users of their voice assistants, in order to “improve their voice services.” Apple, it seems, did the same with Siri. The news shocked many observers, surprised that these companies can listen to potentially personal information without clear warning, or consent.

In this context, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg has just announced that it has obtained a suspension of these practices that will apply for three months in the European Union for the voice assistant of Google, and in a definitive way for Apple, all over the world.

“These companies must transparently inform the persons concerned about the processing of voice commands, but also about the frequency and risks of nuisance tripping that they generate,” said Johannes Caspar, Commissioner for Data Protection and Privacy. freedom of information within the German authority.

Apple has indicated that it plans to put in place a prior authorization request system to its users to implement this listening process. Google has suspended its practices for 3 months from August 1 without explaining precisely what it intends to do to improve the situation. In the process, Amazon has announced that it will allow Alexa users to disable the listening system.

Everything is suspended for now. It remains to be seen, by the end of the year certainly, how these systems will be reintroduced in Europe to be more consistent with the RGPD.

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Twitter used personal data without express consent

Cam Potvin



Twitter announced Tuesday that since May 2018, personal data had been used for advertising purposes without the explicit consent of its users.

The social network said the mistake was corrected Monday and that an investigation is underway to determine how many people could be affected, advising the passage to users who use its service to review their settings for data sharing.

According to Twitter, the use of personal data was carried out in two ways. In the first case, information was transmitted to Twitter’s advertising partners when the user clicked on an advertisement for a mobile application.

This data leak started in May 2018, coinciding with the entry into force of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The RGPD requires companies to disclose such leaks of personal data within 48 hours of discovery and provides significant fines for business violating the rules.

Monitoring on the web

In the second case reported by Twitter, the social network says it has presented targeted advertising to users by monitoring their browsing the web, even when it had been banned this collection of data.

Since September 2018, we have been able to show you advertisements based on what we have deduced from the use you make of your device, even if you have not given us permission. The data concerned remained in the hands of Twitter and did not concern information such as passwords or email addresses , explained the network in an explanatory note published on its online help center.

Once again, Twitter could be sanctioned under the GDPR in Europe, since the regulation requires web platforms to ensure the explicit consent of users to collect their data, including for advertising targeting purposes and when such collection is for third-party companies.

Twitter, which apologizes to those concerned, ensures that the necessary steps are taken to prevent this from happening again , and invites people to contact their data protection office via a form.

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