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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Texas AG sues Meta for allegedly exploiting users’ biometric data

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued social media giant Meta on Monday for allegedly capturing and using biometric data without properly obtaining informed consent. Meta has vowed to fight the lawsuit.

Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Ashley Gold: Similar suits are likely to come from other states as lawmakers grapple with how to treat the use of biometric data, and this one just adds to Facebook’s many regulatory woes.

What he’s saying: Paxton is accusing Meta’s Facebook of storing millions of biometric identifiers, including fingerprint and voiceprint, without obtaining “informed consent,” as mandated by Texas law.

  • Facebook has “exploited the personal information of users and non-users alike to grow its empire and reap historic, windfall profits,” stated a release from Paxton’s office.
  • Court documents allege that Facebook also disclosed users’ personal information to “other parties who further exploited it.”
  • “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,” Paxton said in a statement. “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.”
  • Paxton has asked the court to order Meta to pay the state $25,000 for each violation of Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act and $10,000 for each violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The other side: “These claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to Axios.

Worth noting: Facebook paid $650 million to settle a similar lawsuit involving biometric data in Illinois two years ago.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from Meta.

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