The Texas AG is suing Meta over facial recognition data being collected without consent from photos and videos.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is claiming that Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc, has been unlawfully collecting and storing biometric data of Texas citizens without informed consent. In a lawsuit filed on Monday, Meta is accused of “storing millions of biometric identifiers,” harvested without consent from photos and videos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram.
Texas law allows the commercial use of biometric data, but only under condition of informed consent. People have to be informed before their data is captured, and must know what it will be used for. It also cannot be shared without explicit consent for every instance. If found at fault, the Texas AG is asking the court to leverage the maximum fine against Meta: $25,000 per violation of the informed consent rule.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Paxton is often taking shots at “Big Tech.” As Texas AG, he commanded an unproductive investigation of Twitter over its banning of former President Donald Trump, and has filed several more legitimate lawsuits against Google over their locations services technology illegally tracking users who had opted out and selling that data to advertisers.
Meta called the Texas AG’s lawsuit “without merit,” although they settled a very similar lawsuit in Illinois last year. That settlement was for $650 million. A few months later, the company announced they would be shutting down their facial recognition features and deleting all related data.
Paxton’s filing happened on the same day as early voting began for the Texas primaries, in which Paxton is facing several GOP challengers for his position. His position as incumbent is tenuous, especially with several of his own deputies reporting him to the FBI for alleged corruption concerning his refusal to turn over subpoenaed records concerning the January 6th riot.
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