Texas AG Ken Paxton is taking Google to court over allegations that it has been harvesting biometric data from users in the state of Texas without their consent. Texas passed the Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act in 2009 which forbids anybody from collecting data without their consent. Texas was involved in a similar lawsuit with other states that targeted Meta, the parent company of Facebook, resulting in Meta settling for $650 million dollars in a class action lawsuit.
It is alleged that Google has been collecting data such as retina or iris scans, fingerprints, voiceprints, or records of hand and face geometry for commercial purposes without consent since 2015. This seems to be an invasion of privacy to me. Especially when they would sell this data for a profit. Even more alarming is that this data can be used to supply the FBI with information against people who are targeted for speaking ill of Biden. Or against political prisoners locked up in the Washington gulag.
Amazon”s smart doorbell company, Ring has admitted that they have supplied law enforcement with videos from users when they deemed it necessary. The ring is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. Just how unbiased do you suppose they are? With the government weaponizing all of the agencies under its control, do you really trust Big Tech, one of its biggest allies?
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said:
“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a press release. “We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country.”
Markey understands that the pendulum swings both ways and what can be used against Republicans today can be used against Democrats tomorrow, especially since they have much more to hide. And again, Big Tech companies should not make a profit by stealing your data without your knowledge.
More recently, a report from Forbes revealed that ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok planned to track the movements of specific Americans, but we can trust the Chinese, can’t we? The Big Guy does. Originally, it was supposed to track employees, but it evolved into surveillance of Americans who never worked for them.
Paxton filed suit earlier this year against Meta, formerly called Facebook, because the company had allegedly stored millions of biometric identifiers uploaded by users as well as non-users. Facebook ended its facial recognition system last year following a class action lawsuit stemming from violations of Illinois privacy law, which the company settled for $650 million.
Other technology companies have faced scrutiny from lawmakers over user data collection. Earlier this year, Amazon smart doorbell company Ring told Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that the firm had provided law enforcement with videos from user devices in emergency situations after making a “good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury” to someone needing information.
According to an analysis from TheWrap released earlier this year, TikTok is sidestepping privacy protections from Apple and Google to collect user data, allowing ByteDance and third parties to access the information.