Google is facing a lawsuit over alleged biometric data privacy violations from the State of Texas, after Attorney general Ken Paxton filed a suit accusing the tech giant of failing to gain proper consent from people whose personal information it has been collecting.
Paxton claims that Google has been harvesting millions of biometric identifiers, specifically mentioning voice and face biometrics, through a range of services and products. Google Photos and Assistant and Nest Hub Max have been used to collect biometrics, he says.
The violations are alleged in the petition to the court to have began in 2015 or earlier. The Face Grouping feature of Google Photos extends the scope of the allegations beyond Google users to non-users as well.
The biometric data collection, and its use in training algorithms for commercial gain, represents a knowing violation of Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act, according to Paxton.
“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Paxton says in an official announcement. “I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”
The lawsuit is similar to one filed by Paxton against Facebook parent Meta earlier this year.
Paxton has also filed lawsuits against Google over alleged violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act and for tracking the location of users without their consent.
Google agreed in June to settle a biometric data privacy lawsuit in Illinois for $100 million.