Tech giant Google is being sued by the state of Texas for allegedly capturing the biometric data of millions of its citizens without their consent. The attorney general’s office released the statement on Thursday stating that companies operating in Texas have been banned for over a decade from collecting people’s faces, voices or other biometric data without advanced or informed permission from users.
The data was collected through programmes such as Google Photos, Google Assistant, and Nest Hub Max.
The complaint said: “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.
“Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits.”
The state attorney general for Texas Ken Paxton said: “Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated.
“I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”
Mr Paxton is known for his battles against Big Tech companies, having sent investigative demands to Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google asking for details of their content moderation practices following the January 6 2021 Capitol riots.
Google has responded that it will fight the lawsuit, adding that users of the services were able to turn off the biometric collection feature.
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Earlier this month a filing in Arizona was settled for $85million (£75.8million).
In January, Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Google over so-called deceptive location-tracking practices, which they claimed invaded the users’ privacy.
Texas introduced its biometric privacy law in 2009, but it had not been enforced until this year.