The Facial Recognition Suit That Could Sink Facebook
The company formerly known as Facebook is facing yet another battering, and if Meta is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, it could be enough to sink the tech giant.
The state of Texas is suing Meta for invading the privacy of its citizens in using facial recognition technology without consent.
With each violation of state law coming with a fine of up to $25,000, and tens of millions of Texans on Instagram and Facebook, fines could top out around the trillion dollar figure.
Under Texas law, companies need consent before capturing biometric data, which includes “facial geometries” such as those used in facial recognition software.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed the motion in Harrison County District Court, said, “this is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop.
“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.”
“The State brings this suit to hold Facebook accountable for covertly flouting Texas law for more than a decade,” the suit reads.
“Facebook knowingly captured biometric information for its own commercial benefit, to train and improve its facial-recognition technology, and thereby create a powerful artificial intelligence (“AI”) apparatus reaches all corners of the world and ensnares even those who have intentionally avoided using Facebook services.”
Meta is calling the suit baseless.
“These claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a Meta spokesperson said.
Meta actually ceased using its facial recognition technology in November 2021, after paying out a whopping $550 billion to settle a similar suit in Illinois. They claimed to have deleted data points collected from over a billion people, citing ” “growing societal concerns” about the technology.
For Paxton, this doesn’t let them off the hook.
“Facebook finally claimed to have ceased its invasive and unlawful facial-recognition practices in late 2021,” the suit says.
“By that point, however, it had spent more than a decade secretly exploiting Texans and their personal information to perfect is AI apparatus. There can be no free pass for Facebook.”