The state’s attorney general announced that the state had filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday. The suit alleges that Facebook violated the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act, which requires that an individual give consent before their biometric information is captured.
The suit alleges that Facebook captured the data without consent for more than a decade.
“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 for the sole purpose of sharing with family and friends. Also unbeknownst to users, Facebook was disclosing users’ personal information to other entities who further exploited it,” the lawsuit reads.
It continues: “Facebook knowingly captured biometric information for its own commercial benefit, to train and improve its facial recognition technology, and thereby create a powerful artificial intelligence apparatus that reaches all corners of the world and ensnares even those who have intentionally avoided using Facebook’s services.”
A spokesperson for Meta told CBS News that the lawsuit was “without merit.”
Facebook faced a similar lawsuit in Illinois several years ago. The state also had a law requiring consent for collecting biometric information, and the state claimed Facebook’s feature allowing people to tag other users in photos and videos violated that law.
The social media giant eventually settled that suit and agreed to pay $650 million. The company announced last year that it was ending its use of facial recognition, but it had not ruled out using the technology in future products.
Facial recognition as a whole has faced immense criticism in recent years, with critics citing privacy and surveillance concerns along with the technology’s noted racial bias.
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