Google is being sued by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton for allegedly using people’s faces and voices without consent. The lawsuit also claims the Alphabet-owned company collected biometric data “from innumerable Texans”.
“In blatant defiance of that law, Google has, since at least 2015, collected biometric data from innumerable Texans and used their faces and their voices to serve Google’s commercial ends,” the attorney general’s office said on Thursday.
“Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits.”
According to the complaint, collection of data occurred through products like Google Assistant, Google Photos and Nest Hub Max.
Google has vowed to fight the lawsuit and claimed all users had the option to turn off the biometric collection feature.
A Google spokesperson said: “AG Paxton is once again mischaracterising our products in another breathless lawsuit.
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“We will set the record straight in court.”
Paxton, a Republican currently in the middle of a re-election battle, also sued Meta in February over unauthorised biometric data.
The case is still unresolved but Instagram has since began asking its users in Texas if they would like to opt in to face image filters.
“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Paxton said in a statement.
“I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”
The most recent Google lawsuit is one of several that have been filed by states alleging the search engine giant has unfair practices with privacy. Arizona recently settled one in early October for $85m.
Indiana, Washington State, Texas, and the District of Columbia have sued Google in January over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices, The Register reported.
Republicans have upped their efforts to rail in the powers of Big Tech titans ever since the January 6 insurrection when right-wing fanatics stormed Capitol Hill.
Following the siege, several conservative talking heads and politicians, including defenestrated US president Donald Trump, were banned from leading social media profiles.
In response, Republicans have accused Silicon Valley giants of attempting to silence conservative voices. Social media profiles have rejected those claims.
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