The Texas Attorney General recently sued Facebook and its parent Meta over biometric identifiers. The lawsuit alleges that the companies unlawfully collected facial geometries without consent and sent them to third parties for profit. The lawsuit is likely to be fought vigorously by Meta Platform Inc., as it will be required to comply with the laws under Texas law. The state’s law on biometric identifiers requires consent before capturing them, and a $25,000 penalty would result for each unauthorized capturing. Likewise, any deceptive trade practices would be liable for a $10,000 penalty.
Texas Attorney General Sues Facebook’s Parent Meta Over Biometric Identifiers
Texas’ lawsuit comes on the heels of an Illinois suit that found Facebook violated biometric privacy laws by collecting facial-recognition data without consent. Both lawsuits have the same target: Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology to identify users. But even if the Texas lawsuit is unsuccessful, it will be instructive for other states considering biometric privacy laws. Illinois has a data privacy law that prohibits companies from collecting biometric information without consent.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a privacy lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. on the grounds that the social network used facial-recognition technology without consent and failed to destroy the biometric information in a timely manner. Paxton alleges that the Texas-based company repeatedly captured facial geometry from users in photos and videos and failed to destroy the data properly.
In addition to the Illinois law, Texas’ Attorney General is also suing Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., for using facial-recognition technology without consent. The state’s Attorney General is seeking civil penalties of hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, Paxton also wants Facebook to make a public apology and take steps to improve its privacy policies.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook’s parent company Meta gathered millions of biometric identifiers without consent and has not properly deleted them. The Texas attorney general alleges that the company has failed to delete the biometric data in a timely manner and has shared it with third parties. While Meta says it plans to delete the data, the lawsuit claims that Facebook will continue to collect biometric identifiers and share them with third parties.
The lawsuit claims that Meta collected and used millions of Texans’ biometric identifiers without consent, and failed to destroy them within a reasonable amount of time. The Texas attorney general’s office is seeking civil penalties from Meta of up to $25,000 per violation of CUBI and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which together could reach hundreds of billions of dollars.
While Meta has opted to discontinue its facial recognition feature, the lawsuit was filed in November. The lawsuit alleges that Meta violated Texas law by forcing users to tag their friends using facial recognition. The company denied the allegations and settled for $650 million. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is also suing Meta’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., for breaching privacy laws in the state.
Paxton is going up against “Big Tech” in other ways as well. He recently sued Twitter over an ex-president Donald Trump ban, and filed several lawsuits against Google. Using biometric identifiers is prohibited under Texas law unless you have consented to it. The company is prohibited from sharing the information with others, unless it receives a subpoena from law enforcement.
The Texas AG’s lawsuit is important for two reasons. First, it protects privacy rights. Texas has strict laws that restrict how companies use biometric information and data, including facial and iris scans. Second, it protects consumers against deceptive practices. Facebook is not allowed to collect biometric identifiers without consent. This means that the company must obtain written consent from the individual in question before collecting the information.
Texas Attorney General Sues Google Over Online Ad Market Monopoly
Unlike traditional advertising, Google’s monopoly is not in the hands of a single company. In fact, a multistate coalition led by Texas’s Attorney General is suing Google for unfair business practices in the online advertising market. In the complaint, the attorneys general allege that Google monopolizes the online ad market by illegally collecting high taxes on ad dollars that flow to content producers and online publishers. As a result, they pass those costs on to American consumers and advertisers.
The lawsuit also claims that Google’s ad server routed requests through several exchanges simultaneously, and rigged the system to route them to its own exchange. Google’s ad server is code-named “effort,” after a Star Wars character. Ten Republican attorneys general joined Texas in the lawsuit. Some states dropped out after allegations of bribery against Paxton. But Texas has not given up, and has hired private law firms to pursue the lawsuit.
Paxton’s lawsuit follows a long line of state and federal antitrust suits filed against major tech platforms. His lawsuit also alleges that Google has reduced its fees to win dominance among publishers. Apparently, this is a common practice for tech companies. Google has also engaged in deceptive practices by brokering transactions and charging high fees for acting as a referee. Paxton is a Republican who faces accusations of bribery. In November, he filed a lawsuit challenging the results of the U.S. presidential election in several battleground states. Ultimately, the Texas Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit, but Paxton continues to press on.
The lawsuit alleges that Google, along with Facebook, has abused its monopoly in the online advertising market. Google, in particular, has been accused of misleading advertisers and publishers about the ad auctions, and then abusing its dominance through the Facebook deal. Google has denied the allegations, but it isn’t the first to claim this monopoly abuse. If the lawsuit proves successful, it may force Google to change its ways.
The lawsuit has been ongoing for over two years and is likely to continue for decades, at least. The case is a ripe target for antitrust laws, and Texas’ attorney general Ken Paxton is determined to pursue it. Google’s lawyers are attempting to get the case dismissed. They have already filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in New York. It is unlikely that Google will defend itself against the lawsuit. It is, however, a sign of things to come.
Ten states, led by Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton, have filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the search giant is abusing its monopoly and suppressing competition by imposing exclusive agreements on business partners. Those practices are illegal and have helped Google dominate the online advertising market. The lawsuit also alleges that Google acted with Facebook to manipulate the online ad market by limiting competition.
Google’s monopoly of the online ad market has been a longtime concern. The company, which now calls itself Meta, signed hundreds of agreements with publishers to boost their revenues. However, the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit has been highly redacted. The lawsuit’s unredacted version is difficult to obtain independently, as it is not included in Pacer. The Texas Attorney General’s office has not responded to CNET’s request for comment.
The lawsuit is the latest in a string of antitrust actions against Google. Other states have joined the suit as well. Several other states, including California and Massachusetts, have launched investigations into Google’s search services. They allege that Google monopolizes the online ad market because it is the default search engine for most Web browsers. Google has responded by calling the Justice Department’s lawsuit “deeply flawed.”
The company’s monopoly has led to a booming business model. Its ads brought in $101 billion in revenue in the first nine months of this year, accounting for 86% of the company’s revenue. The Texas Attorney General claims that the monopoly has led to the company gaining a monopoly on the ad market. Facebook has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit alleges that the companies monopolize the online ad market by excluding competitors and siphoning off their revenue. However, the Texas Attorney General notes that the devil is in the details. The 173-page complaint is an extensive document and includes allegations regarding Google’s alleged agreement with Facebook code-named “Jedi Blue.”