AUSTIN, Texas (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Facebook parent company Meta on Monday, alleging that Facebook collected users’ biometric data without consent.
In a statement released Monday, Paxton said Facebook stored biometric data “contained in photos and videos uploaded by friends and family who used the app.”
Paxton maintains that the data was used for profit. “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,” the statement read. “This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop.”
Today, I filed a #BigTech lawsuit against Facebook ⬇lt;br>
Facebook cannot take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being.https://t.co/NW0yp4oBCP
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) February 14, 2022
The lawsuit also alleges that Facebook collected the biometric data of non-users. “For Texans who did not use Facebook’s social-media services, Facebook was still capturing hundreds of millions of biometric identifiers from photos and videos innocently uploaded by friends and family who did use Facebook,” the lawsuit states. “There was no way for such non-users to know of or contest this exploitation.”
“The scope of Facebook’s misconduct is staggering. Facebook repeatedly captured Texans’ biometric identifiers without consent not hundreds, not thousands, or millions of times – but billions of times,” the lawsuit alleges.
The suit focuses on Facebook’s use of automatic face tagging in Facebook photos. “Little did users know that when they answered the simple question of who was in a photograph, they were helping to teach Facebook’s facial-recognition technology to better map and recognize human faces for the benefit of Facebook’s commercial endeavors,” the lawsuit states.
The service ended in November after Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged the automatic tagging service violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, the lawsuit points out that no such commitment was made “with respect to any other platform or operation under [Meta’s] corporate umbrella, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Reality Labs, or its upcoming virtual-reality metaverse.”
The actions that Facebook is alleged to have perpetrated are in violation of Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifiers Act and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Fines for violations against the first law can reach up to $25,000 per violation, and violations of the second can reach $10,000 per violation.
Paxton has fought big tech before. In 2020, he led a 10-state lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive conduct in advertising. Paxton also took part in an online conference last year that warned against anti-conservative censorship engaged in by big tech.