Texas accuses Google of illegally harvesting biometric data

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Texas accuses Google of harvesting biometric data illegally

According to Republican State's Attorney Ken Paxton, Google has collected millions of biometric fingerprints, such as the texture of the voice or the geometric structure of the face.

Texas filed a lawsuit against Google on Thursday, accusing the internet giant of harvesting the biometric data of millions of people without their informed consent, a lawsuit deemed “baseless” by the California group.

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According to Ken Paxton, the Republican State's Attorney, Google has collected millions of biometric fingerprints, such as voice texture or facial geometry, through storage and storage services. editing of photos or voice-activated devices, in particular.

This is a baseless new lawsuit, said José Castañeda, a Google spokesman contacted by AFP.

Google Photos helps you organize your pictures by grouping similar faces together, so you can easily find old photos of different people, he explained. You can easily disable this option if you wish and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for ad targeting purposes.

The same principles apply to other services like the Google Assistant voice assistant and Nest-series smart speakers, which can recognize voice users, he added.

The complaint accuses Google of using this information for commercial purposes, in particular to improve its artificial intelligence technologies, which need a lot of data to work well.

Whenever Google's algorithms process photos and videos to detect certain faces and objects […], Google's artificial intelligence becomes better, better informed, more efficient and more dominant, say the lawyers in the document.

“Across the state, Texans have become unwitting cash cows, exploited by Google for profit. »

— Excerpt from the complaint

Known for his positions against technology groups, the very conservative Ken Paxton launched similar lawsuits against Meta (Facebook, Instagram) last February.

US states and consumer groups have escalated data privacy complaints against major platforms in recent years, as the country has no federal law on the subject .

In February, Meta agreed to pay $90 million to end a lawsuit in California over tracking users, even after they disconnected from the platform, for the purpose of ad targeting.

Facebook had already agreed in 2021 to pay $650 million to end a privacy dispute between it and $1.6 million. x27;users in Illinois.

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