Texas accuses Google of collecting people’s facial and voice data without their consent

Texas is suing Google, claiming the web company illegally collects facial and voice-recognition data on tens of millions of residents of the state without their consent.

Google, which is owned by Alphabet, is violating a state client safety legislation that requires folks each learn and grant their consent earlier than their biometric info could also be collected, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated Thursday in announcing the lawsuit. 

Google has saved voice prints and facial data by way of merchandise together with Google Assistant and Google Photos, the latter of which analyzes facial options to kind and group photographs, in response to the complaint, which was filed in district courtroom in Midland County.

“Google has now spent years unlawfully capturing the faces and voices of both non-consenting users and non-users throughout Texas — including our children and grandparents, who simply have no idea that their biometric information is being mined for profit by a global corporation,” the swimsuit states.

Google dismissed the allegations and vowed to defend itself in courtroom, telling CBS MoneyWatch in an e mail that Paxton is “mischaracterizing our products in another breathless lawsuit.”

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“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,” an Alphabet spokesperson 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.” 

Texas is amongst a small quantity of U.S. states to cross biometric privateness legal guidelines that prohibit capturing personal identifiers for industrial use without first getting a person’s consent. 

Google earlier this month agreed to pay the state of Arizona $85 million to settle a 2020 lawsuit that alleged it had misled customers by recording their places even after customers tried to change off the geo-tracking setting on their smartphone.  The company used the placement info to promote billions of {dollars} in promoting, Arizona said. Google denied any wrongdoing. 

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