Deepfakes at work: How to hire real humans only
Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Deepfakes at work: How to hire real humans only

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. This just in: As of Jan. 1, 2023, employee data in California will be subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act. On Monday, the bills extending the exemptions for employee data under CCPA failed to pass.

Usama Kahf, co-chair of Fisher Phillips’ Data Security and Privacy Team and head of the firm’s Consumer Privacy Team explained what this means for compliance. “Employers that do business in California should be keenly aware of their employment data obligations under the CCPA and CPRA and use the next four months to prepare for compliance. Litigation and enforcement actions are likely to increase — and a proactive inventory of consumer and employee data along with proper training and communication on CCPA/CPRA requirements will reduce covered employers’ risk of fines.”

Today, the rise of remote work opens the door for deepfake Zoom interviews, Pinterest is under investigation, and advice from a people-person. Plus, read to the end to see a job interview that was accidentally broadcast on the BBC.

— Meg Morrone, senior editor (email | twitter)

How to hire a real person

Every time the deepfake Keanu Reeves shows up in my TikTok feed, I think it’s the real Keanu just making memes for my personal enjoyment. There are similar accounts for Jason Statham and Robert Pattinson, allegedly all run by the same person. They’re pretty harmless unless you think any deepfakes, even for good honest fun, are slowly training us to believe everything we see on the Internet.

Columnist Mike Elgan wrote that imposter employees are on the rise in the workplace, thanks to easy-to-use deepfake technology. Here’s how you can protect yourself when you’re hiring.

Include real identity verification before hiring, and make sure the identity matches the background screening. (Don’t assume your background provider is verifying identity.)

  • Know the law in the state you’re in to find out what’s allowed in terms of biometric data collection.
  • Do thorough background checks and criminal records checks, and verify identity throughout the hiring and onboarding process.
  • If you’re doing background checks and identity verification on remote hires, do the same for in-office hires to avoid discrimination.

Embrace AI. Invest in automated fraud detection to evaluate resumes and job candidates. Fraud detection has been used for years in banking, insurance and other fields, and now also hiring.

Try to see everyone in person at least once. Consider abandoning all-remote hiring in favor of in-person interviews, even for remote staff. And bring in remote staff for in-house team-building quarterly or annually.

Don’t believe every resume. Rely more on skills assessment and testing for technical positions rather than resume-based claims of experience, certifications and education.

  • Verify identities at the point of testing and follow up on test results with a post-test interview. Imposters are likely to seek employment elsewhere if they have to prove their qualifications.

Read the full story.

California’s Civil Rights department is looking into Pinterest

Pinterest is under investigation by California's Civil Rights Department, and whistleblower and former Pinterest employee Ifeoma Ozoma is among those who have been contacted as possible witnesses.

The department reached out to Ozoma and other potential witnesses a week ago asking to interview them in connection with the investigation. “The mission of the CCRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, in employment, among other areas,” the email, which was reviewed by Protocol, reads. “CCRD is conducting an investigation into Pinterest, and you have been identified as a potential witness.”

Ozoma said she has heard from former colleagues who also received the email, all of them women.

Read the full story.

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By the numbers

Harvard Business Review recently released a survey with the Conference for Women about how the pandemic has impacted our sense of community at work. The researchers asked around 1,500 participants how connected they felt to others at work, and found this feeling has declined by 37% since the pandemic. When people feel connected at work, they are 58% more likely to thrive at work, 55% more engaged and 66% more likely to stay with their company, according to the researchers.

Advice from HR: Throw out the script and be human

The CHRO job used to be one of paperwork and compliance, but in the past few years the role has changed drastically. We’ve found that the best folks heading up HR teams these days tend to be some of the most empathetic and emotionally intelligent people we know … because they have to be. Each week, we’ll bring you one piece of advice from the human resources desk on how to navigate the new normal. Today’s tip comes from Pat Wadors, chief people officer at UKG.

"My main piece of advice for any C-level leader who needs to communicate about issues that impact their employees’ lives: Throw out the script and be human. Leaders became way too scripted two years ago when we were having conversations we frankly didn’t know how to have. Like, talking to employees about how we’ll handle COVID-19 in those early days. The murder of George Floyd. General political and social unrest. We only said what we knew, and even then, we only said two of those five scripted things. As we got further into 2020, the best leaders tossed out the script and spoke to employees at a human level about what they knew and what they didn’t know. They showed vulnerability. They were transparent and real. And the conversations were that much more meaningful, even if the news was bad. Whatever news you’re delivering, I plead with leaders to throw away the script, go back to bullets and speak from the heart."

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Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Three generations unpack the meaning of “quiet quitting.” (Business Insider)

It’s standoff time — bosses say they’re serious about return-to-office. Workers are pushing back. (The New York Times)

Returning your work laptop? Do this first. (The Washington Post)

And finally, click to see a video of one of the most stressful job interviews we’ve ever seen.

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