Texas AG sues Google for alleged violation of state consumer protection law

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Google, alleging that Google violated a state consumer protection law by collecting millions of Texans’ facial and voice data without their consent.

Google Photos and Google Assistant apps, as well as the Nest security camera that records people approaching a front door, illegally collected biometric data from millions of Texans using Google products, according to the lawsuit, and violated a Texas law that prohibits companies from collecting people’s faces, voices or other biometric data without their consent.

According to the lawsuit, features such as “face grouping,” which uses facial recognition records in the Google Photos app to create photos of certain people, are both “invasive” and “dangerous” because voice and facial data cannot be deleted or replaced once “stolen.”

“In blatant defiance of that law, Google has, since at least 2015, collected biometric data from innumerable Texans and used their faces and their voices to serve Google’s commercial ends,” the complaint states. “Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits.”

While Paxton seeks fines of up to $25,000 per violation, he also claims that Google’s biometric data is for commercial and technological purposes, citing the company’s facial scanning capabilities as a driving force for technological growth.

Google said it would fight the lawsuit and said users of the services had the option to turn off the biometric capturing feature.

The Texas lawsuit against Google joins a long list of lawsuits against Google. States such as Arizona, Indiana, Washington and the District of Columbia sued Google for misleading tracking practices that violate users’ privacy.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.


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