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Texas AG files suit against Google over collection of users’ biometric data

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit this week against Google over the tech giant’s collection of biometric data from its users, which the lawsuit alleges is happening without the users’ consent.

The lawsuit, filed in a Texas district court, accuses Google of collecting facial recognition and voice data from Texans without their consent, which Paxton claims is a violation of state law.

Paxton claims Google devices scan faces to store data on specific users to target ads and other media to them. Google devices like Google Home Hub Max also collect voice data from users and others in the background.

Google responded to the suit in a statement, saying the Texas AG’s representation of Google’s data collection is inaccurate. “AG Paxton is once again mischaracterizing our products in another breathless lawsuit,” said Google spokesperson José Castañeda. He then went on to detail how the data collection actually works, including opt-out features.

“For example, Google Photos helps you organize pictures of people, by grouping similar faces, so you can easily find old photos,” he said. “Of course, this is only visible to you, you can easily turn off this feature if you choose and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for advertising purposes.”

He added, “The same is true for Voice Match and Face Match on Nest Hub Max, which are off-by-default features that give users the option to let Google Assistant recognize their voice or face to show their information. We will set the record straight in court.”

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