Facebook’s facial identification technology has been the subject of judicial action in the past, the latest which comes from Texas, who are suing Meta over facial recognition software.
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The Texas attorney general’s office lodged a lawsuit against Facebook, which rebranded itself to Meta the year before, on Monday, contending that the social media network breached state privacy laws with face identification technology.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton launched the complaint in a state district court in Marshall, demanding hundreds of billions in civil damages.
Paxton accused Facebook of “harvesting Texans’ most personal information” via face detection technology it employed from 2010 to last year for “corporate profit,” according to a statement on the lawsuit. Face detection records from users’ photos would be scanned and stored by the application.
“Texas law has prohibited such harvesting without informed consent for over 20 years. While ordinary Texans have been using Facebook to innocently share photos of loved ones with friends and family, we now know that Facebook has been brazenly ignoring Texas law for the last decade,” Paxton said.
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Facebook’s facial identification technology has been the subject of judicial action in the past, with the social media platform resolving a $650 million case in Illinois in 2015. The suit was identical to the one in Texas’, in that it claimed that Facebook’s software infringed the state’s biometric privacy statute, which bans the storage of people’s biometric information without their agreement. Last November, the software was decommissioned.
According to Jerome Pesenti, the company’s vice president of artificial intelligence, there aren’t yet “clear rules” as to how such technologies should be utilized, he said in a blog post.
“We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules,” Pesenti wrote.