Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Google today over its collection of biometric data in a lawsuit that called one of Google’s facial recognition systems a “modern Eye of Sauron.”
Paxton claims Google violated the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act through its collection of “millions of biometric identifiers, including voiceprints and records of face geometry, from Texans through its products and services like Google Photos, Google Assistant, and Nest Hub Max.” The state law requires getting user consent before capturing biometric identifiers.
“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Paxton said in a press release today.
The lawsuit was filed in Midland County District Court. “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,” it says.
“Modern Eye of Sauron”
The Lord of the Rings reference came in the lawsuit’s description of the Face Match feature on Nest Hub Max. “Face Match uses facial-recognition technology to allow the Nest Hub Max to see who is using the device and to populate user-specific content based on whom the device sees,” the lawsuit said, continuing: