Google Sued Over Unauthorized Biometric Data Collection

Texas has sued for allegedly collecting millions of users’ biometric without their consent.

A privacy lawsuit has been filed against Google by the Texas attorney general for the alleged collection of biometric user data.

Texas Sues Google for Collecting Private Data

On October 20th, 2022, the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, filed a privacy lawsuit against Google after it was revealed that the company seemed to be holding onto biometric without users’ consent. It is thought that millions of Texans’ biometric data has been collected by Google via various applications and services, including Google Photos, Google Assistant, and Google Nest.

The collection of biometric identifiers without consent is a breach of user rights and violates the state’s Capture or Use of Biometric Identifiers Act which has been in place for over twelve years.

Face and Voice Data Was Allegedly Collected by Google

It is thought that voice and face information has been collected by Google, both of which could threaten a user’s privacy. Even non-users’ data may have been taken indirectly, which puts even more people at risk.

This unauthorized collection of biometric data could have begun in 2015 or even earlier, and so has gone undetected for many years.

In a news release on Paxton’s official website, the attorney general was quoted stating that “Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated”. Paxton also stated that he intends to continue fighting Big Tech to protect the privacy and security of Texas’ citizens.

This Is Not the First Clash Between Paxton and Google

The Texas attorney general is no stranger to clashing heads with Google. In January 2022, Paxton sued Google for violating Texas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Google allegedly did this by tracking the location of users without their knowledge. While Google claimed that deactivating the location feature would stop tracking, this didn’t seem to be the case.

Other U.S states have also entered legal battles with Google for its unauthorized user tracking. In October 2022, Google had to pay an $85 million settlement to the state of Arizona for tracking user locations on Android devices. Indiana, Washington, and the District of Colombia also sued the conglomerate for its transgressions.

Google May Be Subject to Financial and Reputational Damage

With so many U.S states suing Google for unauthorized data collection, the company’s trustworthiness is being brought into question, which may damage its reputation. Time will tell whether Google really did collect this biometric data and whether the company will win or lose this suit.

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