Texas sues Facebook’s Meta for collecting information from citizens

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

The Texas prosecutor said Meta has millions of pieces of data that people uploaded to Facebook and Instagram.

(TEXAS – PROSECUTOR OFFICE).- The Texas attorney general is suing Meta , the parent company of Facebook, accusing it of collecting biometric data from Texans for commercial purposes without their consent.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit Monday, February 14th, in state federal court, stating that Meta has been “storing millions of biometric data” on citizens such as eye images, voice records, or fingerprints or facial prints from photos or videos that people upload to their platforms like Facebook and Instagram. 

“Facebook will no longer be able to take advantage of people and their children for their own gains at the expense of people’s safety and integrity,” Paxton said in a statement.

“This is yet another example of the deceptive business practices of big tech companies and this must stop. I will continue to fight for the privacy and security of Texans,” he added.

Under Texas law, the lawsuit says , companies must have someone’s “informed consent” before collecting their biometric data. That data cannot be shared with anyone, although there are exceptions, such as citations issued by law enforcement agencies.

In a statement, Melo Park, California-based Meta Platforms Inc. called the lawsuit “baseless.” 

The company said in November that it would cancel its facial recognition program and delete all data obtained.

Texas asked the court to fine Meta $25,000 for each violation of the informed consent rule and $10,000 for each violation of the state law against deceptive trade practices.

Last year Meta, then called Facebook, paid $650 million to end a similar lawsuit over the use of biometric data in Illinois.

The suit comes on the same day that Paxton faces other candidates in Texas primaries, and after several underlings reported him to the FBI for alleged corruption. 

Paxton has been a consistent critic of big tech companies—a common enemy for both Democrats and Republicans—albeit not always with the same arguments. On other occasions, he launched an investigation against Twitter for closing the account of former President Donald Trump and filed several lawsuits against Google. 

The Yucatan Times
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