Google's newest smart display brings with it a controversialthat keeps coming back. Face Match, introduced with Google Nest Hub Max, uses the smart camera's front camera as a security feature and as a way to participate in video calls. It also shows you your photos, text, calendar details, etc. when it detects your face.
This type of facial recognition sounds pretty simple at first. The way in which companies like Google collect, store and process facial data has become a key issue for privacy-conscious consumers. Many people want to know who has their personal information when they get to the cloud.
See how Google and other technology companies record, store, process, and use facial recognition data captured by devices like the Nest Hub Max and some suggestions on what you can do to restrict that access.
What is Face Match?
Face Match is a feature of Google's new Nest Hub Max, which uses a front-facing camera and constantly-available face recognition software to help determine which household member is currently using it. It works like Android Face Unlock and Apple's FaceID and uses similar software like Google Photos, Apple Photos and Facebook to identify people.
Why are Google and others scanning my face?
Google Nest Hub Max supports multiple user profiles. Instead of manually logging in, Google Face Match allows you to scan your face to create a "face model" that lets Nest Hub Max display personalized information about your calendar events, text messages, and more. It's faster and more convenient than logging in with your fingerprint or the app.
Do Google and others always watch me?
Yes, if Google Nest Hub Max face recognition is turned on. The Nest Hub Max constantly monitors and analyzes the camera's input to detect faces.
So far, the Nest Hub Max is the first device with such face recognition that is always on. For other devices, a kind of trigger is required, for. Touching the screen or pressing a physical key, such as iPhone ($ 1,000 on Amazon) when FaceID is activated.
However, the Nest Hub Max is not the only device that constantly monitors its environment. Google Home ($ 99 at Walmart) Devices including Smart Speakers, Amazon Alexa Devices, and Siri-enabled Devices such as the Apple HomePod ($ 299 at Walmart) as well as some iPhones and Apple Watches ($ 385 on Amazon) are all waiting for trigger words to be activated.
Do Google and the others store my facial data in the cloud? Although Google quickly indicates that facial profiles are stored and processed on the Nest Hub Max itself, there are occasional facial data retrieved to the cloud to enhance the "product experience". Google insists that facial data residing in the cloud be deleted when processing is complete.
Other technology companies store and share their facial data to varying degrees. If you let a device or service record your face for some reason, it's likely to appear in one or the other capacity in the cloud.
How can I tell if image data is being uploaded?
Every time the Google Nest Hub Max submits an image feed to the cloud, e.g. For example, if you use it as a Nest Camera ($ 155 on Amazon) or on a video call, a green light shines on The camera turns on.
The green light only shows when a live feed is uploaded. However, this may not be the case when Google retrieves data stored on the device. B. a facial profile. Many other devices have similar visual cues that indicate that the camera is being used. It's not clear if the light from the camera correlates in any way with Google's uploading of facial data.
Does Google or Apple use my facial data to personalize the ads displayed?
Google insists that data collected for Face will not be used Match or Nest Cam footage to target ads. Apple does not earn revenue by selling targeted ads, suggesting that your face scans are not used this way.
Can I disable Face Match?
There are three ways to prevent Google Nest Hub Max from storing facial data or constantly scanning for faces.
- Do not activate facial recognition from the beginning.
- When this feature is enabled, you can clear your profile and disable face detection in the device settings.
- A physical switch on the back of the device can completely disable camera hardware, which also disables Face Match, even though the device continues to save any face profiles you have created.
Why is there no physical shutter on Google Nest Hub Max, as on other devices?
Some people may prefer a physical shutter, which makes it clear that the camera is not recording each of your movements. According to Google, the physical switch on Nest Hub Max, which also disables the microphone, is "functionally a physical shutter".
Are there any other ways that Google can retrieve my facial data?
Several. Google Photos has had facial recognition technology for several years. This feature lets you scan your photo library from Google to identify people and mark that appear in your photos. If you're setting face unlock on Android, enable Google to create a digital map of your face. At the moment, unlocking faces for Android is still not secure enough for mobile payments.
Who collects and processes my facial data?
Facebook has a long history of facial recognition features that can alert you when others are available. People upload photos from you. (So ($ 612 at Walmart) . The device manufacturer acknowledges that it shares some face data with third-party developers..) Since 2018, Apple has also been using facial data for the FaceID feature of the iPhone X
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail outlets are now using facial recognition technologies to capture demographic data, such as age and gender, from customers visiting their stores (though many claim they do not use that technology to identify or track people). Security systems in cities, buildings and airports now routinely use facial recognition programs, as do many police agencies.
Can I also unsubscribe from all these?
Unfortunately not that easy. For Google Photos, you can choose not to run the Face Recognizer tool for your own photos. However, you can not control which other people who may have uploaded photos of you want to do so.
Facebook has recently turned on an opt-in setting to suggest to the software that friends mark them in their photo postings. This means that by default the social network will not make such suggestions. However, this does not mean that Facebook will not scan or process your image. This information will only be shared with other users if you do not allow it.
In some situations, eg. For example, with Apple's FaceID, you can simply disable this feature so your face data will not fall into the hands of Apple or its registered developers.
In most situations, however, especially when the data is collected in public places such as city streets, restaurants, hotels, and retail outlets, you can do nothing but hide your face as you leave home.  For more information on facial recognition, seeand how Microsoft secretly a .