Texas Has Sued Google For Using Millions Of People’s Data Without Permission – And Each Violation Could Cost $25,000

Ken Paxton, who is the Attorney General of Texas, has accused Google and initiated legal proceedings because, according to him, Google has been using the biometric data of billions of users without their consent since 2015. In a lawsuit, he claimed that Google is doing all this “for its own commercial interests” and that the main goal of using data without the permission of users is “revenue generation” by increasing the activation through its most popular apps like Google Photos app, Nest Hub Max, and Google Assistant. He said that Google has been training the “deep neural networks,” which play an important role in specifying data for these apps.

Coupled with this, Paxton projected that according to the “Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act”, any violator has to pay $25,000 per violation and that is certainly a huge amount. As per this act, a violator is a person who uses the data of the public without their consent and the same has been done by Google according to the claims filed by Paxton. 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.”

Not to mention, a research paper was released back in 2015 in which Google described how this deep neural network works and it states, “FaceNet, directly learns a mapping from face images to a compact Euclidean space where distances directly correspond to a measure of face similarity, allowing tasks such as face recognition, verification, and clustering.”

In view of this, the lawsuit states, “For Face Match to work, the Nest Hub Max’s camera is designed to be a modern Eye of Sauron—constantly watching and waiting to identify a face it knows. This means the Google device indiscriminately captures the face geometry of any Texan who happens to come into view, including non-users who have never authorized Google to capture their biometric information and who, in all likelihood, may not even know Google is doing so.” It added, “Accordingly, Google records—without consent—friends, children, grandparents, and guests who stop by, and then store their voiceprints indefinitely.”

To that end, Google has also given a response to the lawsuit and defended its position by saying, “Google Photos helps you organize pictures of people, by grouping similar faces, so you can easily find old photos. Of course, this is only visible to you, you can easily turn off this feature if you choose and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for advertising purposes”. The spokesperson of Google further stated, “The same is true for Voice Match and Face Match on Nest Hub Max, which are off-by-default features that give users the option to let Google Assistant recognize their voice or face to show their information. We will set the record straight in court.”

Now, let’s see, how the court will address all these concerns!

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