The lawsuit was filed Monday by Attorney General Ken Paxton in a state court. According to the suit, Facebook parent Meta "stored millions of biometric identifications", such as voice prints, retina scans, voiceprints or records of hand and facial geometry, in photos and videos uploaded to its services including Instagram and Facebook.
Paxton stated in a statement that Facebook will not continue to exploit people and their kids with the intention of making a profit at any cost to one's safety or well-being. This is another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices, and it must end. I will continue fighting for Texans' privacy & security.
The lawsuit was filed at the same time as the first day of early voter registration in Texas' primary election. This is where Paxton will face several GOP challengers.
Paxton has been defending "Big Tech" -- a foe both Republicans and Democrats, even though their opinions don't always agree. He also launched an investigation into Twitter's ban on former President Donald Trump.
According to Texas law, lawsuits require companies to obtain consent from individuals for their biometric data to be used. People must be informed before biometric data can be taken and they must agree to this. However, this data cannot be shared with anyone except for cases in which a subpoena has been issued by law enforcement.
AI used to "Tag" friends
Meta Platforms Inc., a California-based company, stated in a statement that the lawsuit was without merit and that the Texas law had never been applied in the past.
In November, the company stated that it was closing down its facial recognition program. It also said it would be deleting all its data.
The feature used to create templates of users' faces and compare them with other videos and photos on Facebook. This allowed Facebook to notify users whenever they were in another's video or photo and encouraged users to "tag” their friends and family.
Facebook still makes limited use of the system, including allowing users access to locked accounts and verifying identity to obtain financial products.
Texas has asked the court to fine Meta $25,000 each for violating the informed consent rule, and $10,000 each for violating the state's misleading trade practices act.
Meta (then called Facebook) paid $650million to settle a similar suit regarding the use of photo-face-tagging in Illinois.