Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit against Google over the company’s alleged years-long practices of collecting and using biometrics from “millions of Texans without obtaining their express consent to do so.” .” This is allegedly in violation of the state’s Collection or Use of Biometric Identifiers Act of 2009.
The AG argues that Google used features in its Photos and Assistant apps, as well as via Nest Hub Max hardware, to scan and store the face and voice data without first obtaining user consent. Additionally, Paxton alleges that Google then exploited this data for commercial gain by using it to train the company’s machine learning algorithms.
“Google’s indiscriminate collection of personally identifiable information from Texans, including highly sensitive data such as biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in Thursday’s news release. “I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and safety of all Texans.”
This is far from the first time Paxton, who is running for re-election in November, has targeted Alphabet and its subsidiaries. His office filed a lawsuit in January “for engaging in false and deceptive practices in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act” and again less than a week later for “systematically misleading and deceiving Texas consumers.” in violation of the law”. Texas’ Deceptive Trading Practices Act.”
Paxton’s office is asking the court for a permanent restraining order in the case. This would prohibit Google from “collecting, maintaining, or in any way using the biometric identifiers recorded in Texas” or “performing voice or facial recognition in Texas” without the informed consent of the individual in question, and would incur a $25,000 fee US dollars per violation fine claimed against the search company.
Update (1:21pm ET 10/20/22): Google has issued a statement on the lawsuit. José Castañeda, a company spokesman, told Engadget by email: “AG Paxton once again mischaracterizes our products in another breathless court case. For example, Google Photos helps you organize pictures of people by grouping similar faces so you can easily find old photos. Of course, this is only visible to you and you can easily disable this feature if you wish, and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for advertising purposes. The same goes for Voice Match and Face Match on Nest Hub Max, which are features turned off by default and give users the option to have Google Assistant recognize their voice or face to show their information. We will settle the matter in court.”
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https://www.engadget.com/texas-attorney-general-sues-google-over-its-facial-recognition-practices-161942788.html?src=rss Texas AG sues Google over its facial data collection practices (Updated)