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Current Affairs

Texas suing Meta

Date: 22 February 2022 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments

Issue

Facebook’s parent company Meta is being sued by the US state of Texas for unlawfully capturing biometric data.

 

Background

The suit alleges that Meta was involved in capturing the biometric data of Texans and used it for commercial purposes without consent.

 

Details

The lawsuit is asking Meta to pay compensation to victims for violating Texas’s state privacy laws.

 

The trigger

  • The lawsuit follows an announcement by Facebook that it will delete billion users’ facial maps or geometries.

  • Previously, Facebook had agreed to pay $650 million over a privacy lawsuit that was filed in Illinois. It also concerned privacy laws for capturing facial data without consent.

  • The facial technology allowed users to tag people in photographs uploaded on Facebook. These tags could be used to reach the person’s profile.

 

Allegation in Texas lawsuit

  • The suit alleges that photos could be used to identify target’s name, social-media account and other personal information through Facebook technology.

  • It could be misused by stalkers and criminals as facial technology can be used for unlocking devices.

  • The suit adds that Facebook falsely assures users of their privacy but goes ahead and discloses personal information to third parties. 

 

The current status

  • The technology was discontinued by Facebook but during its existence, it used Facebook’s facial-recognition technology to capture and analyse data of facial geometry of both users and non-users.

  • The face data could later be utilized by Facebook to compare the faces to those in the photos and videos on its database.

 

Allegations

  • Facebook has been storing biometric identifiers such as retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or record of hand or face geometry uploaded by users.

  • The data was harvested by Facebook to grow its empire and reap historic windfall profits. This violated privacy of millions of users.