Lawsuit against Meta in Texas – hundreds of billions of dollars at stake17. February 2022
Lawsuit against Meta in Texas – hundreds of billions of dollars at stake
New York, Feb. 17, 2022
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Meta. He accuses the Facebook parent company of violating state laws protecting biometric data with its now-defunct facial recognition system for tagging photos. Texas is reportedly seeking damages that could total hundreds of billions of dollars.
Texas passed its biometric identifier collection or use law in 2009, which prohibits the collection of such data, such as a person’s mapped facial features, without their consent.
The attorney general’s lawsuit alleges Facebook, now Meta, failed to obtain permission before scanning users’ photos. It accuses the company of “tens of millions of violations” of the law by capturing users’ facial geometry in photos between 2010 and 2021. It is seeking $25,000 in civil penalties for each violation and another $10,000 for each violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
A Meta spokesperson said the claims are “without merit” and that the company will “vigorously defend” itself.
In November, Meta announced it was shutting down its facial recognition system and deleting more than a billion people’s biometric templates because of concerns about its use of the technology.
The company will no longer use facial recognition algorithms that automatically tag users in photos and videos. In 2020, the company agreed to pay $650 million to settle a privacy lawsuit accusing it of using biometric identifiers without user consent.
The class action lawsuit invoked the Illinois Biometric Data Protection Act, which is similar to the Texas law, except that in Texas only the general manager can enforce the law.