Texas Attorney General Meta has sued Facebook parent Meta for illegally collecting biometric information on Texans to be used commercially without their knowledge.
Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit Monday a state district court claiming Meta has been “storing millions of biometric identifiers” — identified as retina or iris scans, voice prints, or a record of hand and face geometry — contained in photos and videos people upload to its services, including Facebook and Instagram.
“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. “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 faced several GOP challengers after his top deputies reported him to FBI corruption.
Paxton has been going up against “Big Tech” — a common foe for both Republicans and Democrats even if their criticisms don’t always align. He also launched an investigation into Twitter’s ban on former President Donald Trump.
Under Texas law, the lawsuit says, companies must obtain “informed consent” from people to use their biometric data. It means that people must be informed before biometric data can be taken. Only if they are willing to do so. These data cannot also be shared with anyone, but there are exceptions such as subpoenas from law enforcement.
In a statement, Meta Platforms Inc., which is based in Melo Park, California, called the lawsuit “without merit.”
In November, the company announced that its facial recognition software was being shut down and its data would be deleted.
Texas is asking 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.
Meta (now Facebook) paid $650million to settle an identical lawsuit over the photo use of face-tagging in Illinois.