Troubled Electric Vehicle Faraday Future Has Announced They Will Use Facial and Voice Recognition Technology on All Rear Passengers of Their Upcoming FF91.
Will Beijing Gain Access to This Data as the Faraday Future is Founded by Troubled Billionaire Jia Yueting, Better Known as JYT, Who Has the Controlling Stake in the Company as China Attempts to Collect the $4BnUSD JYT Owes Collectors Across China?
Disclaimer this author consulted with JYT’s LeEco’s North American expansion for over half a year and did not get paid for that consultancy – though, so did many many others – this author wrote two pieces one on JYT’s Financial Troubles then another on FF Needing To Oust JYT As EV Lucid Motors Had on LinkedIn Publishing. From his ancillary experience of LeEco’s failed North American launch, and seven years prior experience of living and working in China.
By Ryan Carroll, Managing Editor
Faraday Future also integrated multiple cameras into the cabin that rely on facial recognition technology to identify the passengers via what the company calls an FFID. Once it knows who is on board, the car adjusts the music, the temperatures, the massage function, and the ambient lighting settings accordingly. It even knows which scent you like to smell. And, alternatively, if it can’t see your face, it knows who you are by memorizing your voice and your weight.Autoblog.com
With people here in the United States concerned about data, especially after the 2016 election scandal and Facebook’s blatant selling of personal data. Let alone of the other giant technology companies and their mishandling of personal data. One of them being Apple China who we have examined at here on SilkCelluloid.com last year.
The concerns of facial recognition is not something on the minds of most Americans, especially not in regards to their children, or something they would consider in the safety of their own person automobile. Let alone the possibility of that data potentially getting into the hands of the Chinese government.
Even though Faraday Future is an American Made EV, it is majority owed and almost completely financed by China.
It’s Founder JYT still owns 33% of the startup, while Chinese real estate turned movie studio magnate Evergrande owns 32%. Though when they first bailed out the company and JYT a few years back their ownership was supposed to be 45%.
From reading the tea leaves the bailout breakup between Evergrande and JYT may have been a result of JYT still wishing to maintain control over Faraday Future. Resulting what should have been good news for the EV startup but everything for JYT seems to be rocky of late.
JYT is on China’s ‘debtor blacklist’ and has all of his accounts frozen in China, resulting in him filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in October of 2019 to settle nearly $4BnUSD of debt owed in China. Then in December of that year the Department of Justice Office of Trustee suddenly stepped in with a motion stating that JYT has:
“failed to uphold his fiduciary duty to the estate by engaging in dishonest behavior” and [stating] Jia “has demonstrated an inability to manage his estate.”The Verge – US Trustee Representative Andrew Vara
Putting into question JYT’s continued equity control if bankruptcy protection does not hold and the government begins coming after his assets.
This could lead to the other stake holders most likely Evergrande to step in and make a motion to secure JYT’s remaining 33% if the government does take these messures.
It should also be noted that FF also has another new investor from China Shanghai mobile gaming company The9. Who is the former China license holder and distributor of World of Warcraft in China, the country that had sustained WoW for years beyond its lifespan here in the West.
NOTE. We should not also forget the mystery 2018 Hong Kong equity investor into FF, when JYT was already placed on the debtor blacklist, and as many seasoned China Watchers know that when a Hong Kong company invests into a Chinese-related company such as FF abroad. It is usually a Hong Kong-registered China-owed company, with financial backing from Mainland China behind it. In February of 2018 this unnamed Hong Kong investor made a deposit of $550MMUSD with a total of $1.5BnUSD going into the company on a rolling basis once undisclosed “milestones” were met. Neither the equity stake nor the name of the investor were listed.
This ownership question and China’s questionable record of facial recognition software use puts data concerns on whether or not the facial and voice recognition would be monitoring children as they get into and out of FF91 vehicles. Whether that data would be collected and stored into the automobile, and whether that data would then be transferred to Faraday Future’s office or to the cloud.
Provided that access and theft of data is also major concern, as data breaches on a personal or major corporate level are all too common.
If there is the potential of the FF91 collecting facial and voice recognition data from an American minor, storing it and China having access to this data without it being brought to the attention of the owners of the vehicles, the American Free Press, or our Regulating Bodies then this is an issue.
This type of technology is not TikTok – the Congress should be more concerned with Huawei and 5G than a short-format video app – and we are talking about facial recognition that will have long-term implications as it is directly related to the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Faraday Future has been the Little Electric Vehicle Company That Could and Jia Yueting has been in self-exile in his Santa Monica mansion from China for several years, avoiding not just paying his $4BnUSD in debts but possibly jail time if he is unable to pay off those debts.
If his Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not go well and he is forced to go back to China to pay his debt, he may have to give up his 33% equity stake (and majority control) of Faraday Future to the Chinese State Government. Which could lead to FF getting the cash influx they need to get the FF91 to market so that their backseat facial and voice recognition system is deployed in the United States. An issue that should be of concern.
Stay Tuned China Watchers!
If you do not think that Beijing is serious about facial recognition….then.
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About the Author
Born and raised in the Missouri-Ozarks Ryan studied Film Production, and East Asian Culture, at the University of Kansas where he was a UGRA recipient that led him on a seven-year long, Journey From the West, to China. Where he worked with Warner Brothers, the China Film Group Corp. and the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Before returning to the States, where he specializes in Chinese Anime & Comics, China’s Box-Office, and Chinese entertainment-tech industries. He has a dog in China, Abigail, and a dog in the Arkansas-Ozarks, King Blue, who help ease his anxiety of suffering from the “Two-Dimensional Complex” that is trying to understand the Culture Industry landscapes of the Middle Kingdom.