Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that he had sued Facebook (now Meta) over illegally capturing, using, and failing to destroy biometric data within a reasonable time frame, violating Texas law.
“Facebook has been storing millions of biometric identifiers (defined by statute as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or record of hand or face geometry”) contained in photos and videos uploaded by friends and family who used the social media app,” Paxton writes in his announcement.
“The company repeatedly captured biometric identifiers without consent billions of times, in knowing violation of Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” Paxton says.
“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 Texas attorney general writes.
As the lawsuit contends, Facebook surreptitiously collected data – on both users and non-users alike – and disseminated that data, with neither the knowledge nor consent of Texas, thus jeopardizing their safety and security:
“Facebook has, for over a decade, built an Artificial Intelligence empire, on the backs of Texans by deceiving them while capturing their most intimate data, thereby putting their well-being, safety and security at risk.”
“Facebook’s omnipresent empire was built on deception, lies and brazen abuses of Texans’ privacy rights-all for Facebook’s commercial gain.”
“Texans who used Facebook’s social-media services were oblivious to the fact that Facebook-without their permission-was capturing biometric information from photos and videos that users had uploaded solely for the purpose of sharing with family and friends.
“Also unbeknownst to users, Facebook was disclosing users’ personal information to other entities who further exploited it.
“Moreover, Facebook often failed to destroy collected biometric identifiers within a reasonable time, exposing Texans to ever-increasing risks to their well-being, safety and security.
“Facebooks illegal and deceptive conduct did not end with its users. For Texans, who did It is not Facebook’s social-media platforms, Facebook captured millions upon millions of biometric IDs from videos and photos innocently uploaded to it by family and friends who had used Facebook. There was no way for such non-users to know of or contest this exploitation.”
Facebook could face civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each violation. Facebook could be hit with billions in fines.
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Editor’s Note:Original publication of this piece on CNSNews.com