What goes around often comes around and that’s the current ordeal that Meta is facing over its previous implementation of facial recognition technology.
On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed legal action against the social giant alleging that it had collected the biometric data of millions of Texans without their prior consent.
The facial recognition technology was previously implemented by the company as part of its tag suggestions feature that makes use of image recognition in order to scan through pictures and then automatically tag anyone within the picture.
As exciting as it was when it first launched, serious security and privacy concerns began to arise which prompted Meta to shut it down. Even at that, the previous implementation still landed the tech giant in a hot water.
Parts of the issues Meta faced during the implementation of the facial recognition technology included the company paying a hefty US$650 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged it had violated an Illinois privacy law that requires companies to obtain explicit consent before collecting biometric data from users.
Then TheWall Street Journal, further reported that Texas sent a civil subpoena to the company right after the outcome of the Illinois lawsuit was announced.
The state is now seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in civil penalties.
The Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act stipulates Texas can levy a penalty of up to $25,000 per violation of the law. According to the attorney general’s complaint, at least 20 million Texans used Facebook in 2021 which translates to a boatload of cash.
“Facebook will no longer take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop. I will continue to fight for Texans’ privacy and security.”
“These claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a spokesperson for Meta told Engadget.
Meta isn’t the only tech company currently facing the law in the state of Texas as search giant Google once faced Paxton’s wrath back in 2020.
Just this past month, Google requested a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. “AG Paxton’s allegations are more heat than light, and we don’t believe they meet the legal standard to send this case to trial,” Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, said at the time.
“The complaint misrepresents our business, products, and motives, and we are moving to dismiss it based on its failure to offer plausible antitrust claims.”
Is Meta wrong for collecting users’ data without their prior consent or is the fine against the tech company too much? Let us know in the comment section below.