Texas Meta sues face recognition on Facebook

Texas Attorney Ken Pakiston has filed a lawsuit in Marshall District Court seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in civil damages, according to a source familiar with the matter.

According to Mr. Pakston, the company He said the use of facial geometry in photos uploaded by users between 2010 and the end of last year resulted in “tens of millions of violations” of Texas law.

“Facebook is secretly collecting Texas’ most personal information: photos and videos for its own corporate profits,” Mr Jackson said. “Texas law prohibits the collection of such information for more than 20 years. Ordinary Texans have been using Facebook to share their loved ones with friends and family without harm, but now we know that Facebook has been neglecting Texas law for the past decade.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook has previously filed another lawsuit against its $ 650 million face recognition company. A.D. The 2015 class action lawsuit is filed under Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, which in some cases is similar to Texas law. Both laws require the consent of individuals before their biometric identification can be obtained.

In class action, Facebook lawyers say Illinois law does not apply to users’ identification of photos. He also said that the company has given users the ability to exit the feature.

Facebook’s attempt to dismiss the class-action case failed and the company resolved the issue by 2020.

Texas lawsuits – especially the amount of civil penalties required – point to the ever-expanding privacy laws affecting the operations of large technology companies.

Following the discovery of the Illinois section of Facebook, Texas sent its own civil submission letter to the company seeking information about the facial recognition system. Facebook announced last November that it would suspend face recognition.

U.S. District Judge James Donato said in a class-action case: “These system protections are particularly important in our digital world because technology now allows the collection and storage of individual unique biometric identifiers. “When the online service simply ignores Illinois processes, Facebook is accused of doing so, and the individual’s biometric privacy rights are eroded.”

Texas says Facebook face recognition system ignores state legal requirements for facial expressions.

For more than a decade, Facebook has been secretly capturing, revealing, illegally capturing – and taking advantage of — Texas’ most intriguing opportunities while sharing and sharing special moments with family and friends in Texas. The state argues that the plaintiff must have used geometrical records, such as the law of Texas, to refer to them as biometric labels.

Texas Attorney General Ken Pakston says the use of meta face geometry in photos uploaded by users from 2010 to the end of last year violates Texas law.

Photo die

Jim Lo scalzo / Shutterstock

Texas law makes it illegal for people to take biometric identifiers without their permission and prohibits sharing that information.

Unlike Illinois law, Texas law can only be enforced by a state attorney general. Texas law provides for a $ 25,000 fine for a violation. The complaint estimates that by 2021, at least 20 million Texasans will be Facebook members.

In Texas, a civil summons was issued by Facebook asking for all the materials it has prepared in response to a class action lawsuit.

The announcement that Facebook will stop using facial expressions is a matter of public concern about the technology. The company said in a statement on its blog that it was “deleting more than one billion people ‘s face recognition templates.”

“There are many unique opportunities for face recognition that should be considered in the light of concerns about the use of this technology,” he said.

Texas officials say they are seeking legal action for past violations and will continue to use inappropriate information – Meta may still retain some of the identifying information collected.

“In November 2021, Facebook announced that it would stop using facial recognition features on its Facebook social media platform,” the draft complaint said. “Facebook has not made any commitment to other platforms or activities such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Reality Lab or the upcoming Virtual Reality.”

Facebook suspends face recognition: “We will continue to work on these technologies and engage foreign experts.[But] Given this persistent instability, we believe it is appropriate to limit facial recognition to specific usage issues.

Texas Sut also said that Facebook “owns a system that allows users who roam the stores or wait at checkout counters to view their faces and align with their social network profiles.”

The Texas investigation itself may have slowed down at least some facial recognition systems. Following the company’s announcement in early November, Texas officials demanded that relevant information be protected during the state’s investigation.

In a series of letters dated November 10, Texas officials confirmed that Facebook Meta “will not delete any source code associated with the Facebook Face Recognition System” and will store sufficient information to identify “all metadata related to the system.” Texas users, which users ‘facial recognition is enabled, and which users’ face templates are saved.

Facebook said in a letter to the Texas Attorney General’s Office on November 10 that it believed facial templates themselves were not material and could be deleted. The Attorney General’s Office has expressed concern, and Meta has asked Texas residents not to delete any facial information.

Write John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com

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