Texas Attorney General sues Meta, Facebook parent company over facial recognition. The company is alleged to unlawfully collect biometric data on Texans for commercial purposes without their consent.
Ken Paxton, Attorney General, filed a lawsuit on Monday in a state district court, claiming Meta was “storing millions of biometric identifiers”. This included retina or iris scans, voiceprints, or a record of hand and face geometry, in the form of photos and videos people uploaded on Facebook and Instagram.
Paxton further added, “Facebook will no longer take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being. This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop. I will continue to fight for Texans’ privacy and security.”
On the other hand, Paxton faces several GOP challengers in the wake of his top deputies reporting him to the FBI for alleged corruption and the lawsuit coinciding with the first day of early voting in the primary election in Texas.
Paxton has chosen to go after “Big Tech”, a common ploy adopted by both Republicans and Democrats even if their criticisms don’t always align. Earlier he had also launched an investigation of Twitter over the ban of former President Donald Trump and filed several lawsuits against Google.
The Texas law says companies require informed consent from people to use their biometric data. This means they need to be informed before the biometric data is captured and this is only done when they agree to it. This data cannot be disclosed to anyone else, though there are some exceptions such as law enforcement agencies.
Meta said the lawsuit has no merit and the company already notified in November it was shutting down its facial recognition program and deleting its data.
Paxton wants the court to fine Meta $25,000 for each violation of the informed consent rule and $10,000 for each violation of the state’s deceptive trade practices act.
Earlier Meta, known as Facebook paid $650 million to settle a similar lawsuit, where photos were used for face-tagging and other biometric data in Illinois last year.
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