Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton is suing Google on the grounds that the tech giant is gathering facial and other data about Texans without anyone’s knowledge in order to retain it for use at any time in the future.
A press release from Paxton’s office on Thursday stated that the complaint is directed against Google Photos, Google Assistant, and Nest Hub Max.
The Republican attorney general issued a statement saying, “Google’s indiscriminate gathering of the personal information of Texans, including particularly sensitive data like biometric identifiers, will not be permitted.” “I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”
According to The New York Times, José Castaeda, a Google representative, claimed that Paxton “is once again mischaracterizing our products in another breathless lawsuit.”
“We will set the record straight in court,” he declared.
According to the lawsuit, Google stores copies of every image for its own purposes, regardless of whether the people in the image have given their consent. The lawsuit claimed that Google’s primary motivation in doing this was to enhance its services and increase its profits, stressing that serious privacy concerns arise when a company holds such a large quantity of data on individuals, especially youngsters.
“Google has, since at least 2015, collected biometric data from innumerable Texans and used their faces and their voices to serve Google’s commercial ends. Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits,” the lawsuit stated.
According to the statement, “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 “Face Grouping” facial recognition technology in Google Photos is the subject of the case.
“The technology works by first detecting all faces depicted in a photo or video loaded into Google Photos,” the lawsuit says. “When Google detects an individual’s face, Google creates a record, or a face template, for that specific face. Google then evaluates whether the faces detected in each new photo or video uploaded is similar to face templates Google has previously recorded from other photos and videos. Finally, Google groups together any photos and videos depicting similar faces — known as ‘face groups’ — based, in part, on the similarity of face geometry.”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
One of the prime concerns raised by Paxton’s office is that bystanders who may not even know they were photographed end up being data points for Google.
The lawsuit explained how the rights of those who have never consented are violated.
“When a Texas mother uploads photos of her daughter’s third birthday party to Google Photos, for example, Google captures the face geometry of every child’s face that can be detected in those photographs,” the lawsuit said.
“Even more troubling, when the mother uploads video of the birthday party, Google runs facial recognition on every face detected in that video, including the faces of uninvolved bystanders in the park, restaurant, or schoolyard,” it said. “And when a grandson drives to Midland to visit his grandmother on Easter and sends a series of photos taken on his Android phone to the family thread, those photos are sent to Google Photos by default, where Google captures grandma’s face geometry. CONTINUE READING…