Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sues Facebook’s parent company over facial recognition tech

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sues Facebook’s parent company over facial recognition tech

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
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February 15, 2022

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Monday against Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc. for allegedly infringing on the state’s privacy protections by using facial recognition technology without the clear permission of users.

“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,” Mr. 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 filed the suit, which he said could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in civil penalties, in state court in Harrison County on Monday. It accuses Facebook of violating  a 2009 state law that requires people to obtain consent before capturing “a biometric identifier of an individual.”

A Meta Platform Inc. spokesperson said in a short statement that the Texas lawsuit’s claims are without merit, and the company will defend itself vigorously. Paxton’s lawsuit adds to Meta’s legal battles as local and national regulators take aim at large tech companies for their dominance and privacy practices.

“Facebook has, for over a decade, built an Artificial Intelligence empire on the backs of Texans by deceiving them while capturing their most intimate data, thereby putting their well-being, safety, and security at risk,” the lawsuit says.

Texas’ lawsuit comes a year after Facebook settled a similar class-action lawsuit in Illinois for $650 million for using face tagging without the permission of users. The company also announced in November that it would delete more than a billion users’ facial templates after ending its use of facial recognition.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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