👥 Texas Wants Facebook To Forget Your Face
Has Meta (aka Facebook) violated the biometric privacy of millions of Texans? The state's attorney general thinks so, filing a suit against the company in a state court this week. The Texas AG claims Meta has violated the state's Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act (or CUBI) when it scanned Facebook users' photos without their consent.
According to The Verge, Texas is one of three states (along with Illinois and Washington) that has enacted biometric privacy laws. Texas's suit seeks $25,000 per CUBI violation, plus an additional $10,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act—which, all told, could be hundreds of billions of dollars in fines against Meta.
Texas claims that Meta had been using the biometric data to enrich itself, and did so without consent.
The Illinois Suit
In 2015, Chicago attorney Jay Edelson filed a class action lawsuit against Meta (then called Facebook) on behalf of 1.6 million Illinoisans "alleging the social media giant’s use of facial tagging features without consent was not allowed under Illinois privacy law," reports the Chicago Tribune. The case was finally settled in a federal court in 2021 to the tune of $650 million. Meta said in a statement at the time that it was pleased to have settled so that it could "move past this matter.”
While Meta has stopped automatically tagging users' photos on Facebook in November, the company as a whole has shifted its focus away from the product and has begun heavily investing in its "metaverse" strategy, which includes a virtual reality platform. Of course, Meta has made no promises to respect biometric privacy in the metaverse.