The Texas attorney general is suing Meta, Facebook’s parent company, stating that the company collected biometric data on Texans without informed consent.
Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit Monday in state district court, alleging that Meta has been “storing millions of biometric identifiers,” which include iris scans, voiceprints or a record of hand and face geometry, per CBS News.
- This information was collected through photos and videos people uploaded to Meta’s services — like Facebook and Instagram — and was not destroyed within a reasonable time.
Paxton — who has been going up against “Big Tech” — said in a statement that companies like Meta should not take advantage of people and children to make a profit, endangering “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.”
- The lawsuit filed by Paxton stated that 20.5 million Texans have a Facebook account.
- “The scope of Facebook’s misconduct is staggering,” the lawsuit said, per Reuters. “Facebook repeatedly captured Texans’ biometric identifiers without consent not hundreds, or thousands, or millions of times — but billions of times.”
This news comes with the first day of early voting in a primary election in Texas, which is happening after Paxton’s top deputies reported him to the FBI for alleged corruption, per Aljazeera.
As for Meta, the company said it shut down the facial recognition system, hence deleting “more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates,” according to the company's blog post from November.
- It also paid $650 million in 2020 to settle a similar lawsuit with the state of Illinois.
- But a Meta spokesperson said that Paxton’s lawsuit has no merit and the company will defend itself vigorously, per Reuters.