https://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/2022/10/20/is-google-illegally-capturing-your-biometric-data-texas-thinks-so/

Texas sued Google over claims that the search-engine giant is illegally capturing the biometric data of users without their consent, the latest in a series of lawsuits by the state against tech companies over online privacy.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., has collected millions of biometric identifiers from Texas residents, including voice prints and records of face geometry through products like Google Photos and Google Assistant, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday in a statement.

“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Paxton said.

One technology targeted by the federal lawsuit is “photo grouping” utilized by Google Photos, in which the app analyzes facial features of people captured in images uploaded to the website and then proceeds to group those files based on people captured in the images. This allows users to sort and find photos of a specific individual from a large library of images.

The lawsuit argues that the process allows Google to capture and store biometric information of any individual featured in images uploaded to the platform, including both users and non-users who had no opportunity to consent to the capture of this data.

Texas is one of a handful of states with a biometric privacy law prohibiting the capture of biometric identifiers for commercial purposes without an individual’s consent. Violators can face up to $25,000 in penalties for each violation.

In addition to relevant civil penalties, Paxton is seeking a temporary injunction to bar Google from continuing the data collection in question.

Madlin Mekelburg, Bloomberg

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