back to article Texas sues Google over alleged nonconsensual harvesting of biometric data

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Google claiming the internet titan captured biometric data from millions of Texans without notice and consent. The lawsuit [PDF] claims the Google Photos app and the Google Assistant as well as the Nest Hub Max hardware, all collect biometric identifiers. These include voiceprints and …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Meh

    Data update too late

    > "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Google claiming the internet titan captured biometric data from millions of Texans without notice and consent" but he's probably supporting the current claims that Trump never captured an government data and stored it in his Mar-a-Lago home ... so maybe Google can just say that the FBI has uploaded all that biometrics data from millions of Texans and eliminate the entire accusations in the same way the the Republicans are attempting?

    Sure, I think that they are all busy making money from us.

  2. aerogems Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Mr. Meseeks

    I'm pretty sure AG Paxton has a Meseeks box and they pump out all these "I'm Mr. Meseeks, look at me!" press releases in an effort to detract from the numerous criminal investigations into his conduct. For those of you living in other parts of the world, Texas is a place where being investigated for corruption means you had to really go above and beyond the expected level of corruption to have someone notice you enough to open a criminal investigation. It's also worth noting that the AG is the top law enforcement official for the state.

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Mr. Meseeks

      "For those of you living in other parts of the world, Texas is a place where being investigated for corruption means you had to really go above and beyond the expected level of corruption to have someone notice you enough to open a criminal investigation."

      So its like in germany. Is it also necessary for the parliament to deactivate a politicians immunity for the attorney or police to be allowed to investigate properly ?

      I also noted another thing, again showing the pseudoprotection of GDPR not helping much. Google said the data grab can be deactivated, so its activated automatically, which is pretty much in contrast to GDPR opt in rules. No surprise here. Pretty much the ever same "data protection" standard "once we stole all we can get, you may opt out to have an illusion of privacy".

      1. OhForF'
        Stop

        Re: Mr. Meseeks

        That google statement seems to be irrelevant and more of a smoke bomb to confuse the issue.

        People (from Texas or elsewhere) might occur in pictures uploaded to Google Photo by some Google Photo user.

        That user may have the rights to take that picture and upload it. It is unlikely he has the right to allow Meta to collect and work on biometric data for everyone occurring in those pictures. I don't think its reasonable for Google to say they may assume all their users will switch off the feature before uploading any picture with someone that did not give his consent to have his face identified by Meta.

        It is completely irrelevant if the google photo user can opt out - this won't give google consent for the people featuring in the pictures.

        How would anyone being pictured even know Google Photo wants to process it and give or deny informed consent?

        1. Shalghar Bronze badge

          Re: Mr. Meseeks

          "That google statement seems to be irrelevant and more of a smoke bomb to confuse the issue."

          The main issue is the automated opt-in of the device owner/photo owner IMO because thats where the crime/felony/rulebreaking/whateveritis starts. The secondary issue of unconsented use of "collateral biometrics" seems to collide with even more regulations/laws/whateverrules (Quite frankly i never understood the US judiciary system and i believe the lack of precision in the english language adds a good dose of WTF to it anyway.). If the base issue did not exist (provided google etc. play by the rules which i highly doubt.) then maybe the secondary issue you pointed out much better than i can word it would be greatly reduced. After all, if the photos may not be processed/stolen at all, collateral biometrics cannot happen.

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Mr. Meseeks

        I'm not especially a fan of Google, but I did actually read the article (for once):

        "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. 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." ®

        I'm pretty sure that says Google does not use the image info from Google Photos in their advertising services -- perhaps because they have not yet figured out how to monetize it. And also that at least some of their similar services are in fact opt-in.

        Bottom Line: Perhaps only selectively evil at this point in time.

        1. AVee

          Re: Mr. Meseeks

          It's all weasel words anyway. Of course they do not use the photos directly. But notice how they don't say they won't use the information they can gather from the photos, such as a relationship to certain people or presence in certain locations, to extend your profile (which they use for advertising). Nor did they say they won't use the face profiles gathered to analyze other images and thus collect even more information about you and everybody you happened to take pictures of.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Mr. Meseeks

      Yeah. There's a bit of the stopped clock (right twice a day) here for Paxton, but mostly it's "hey, look over there!".

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Mr. Meseeks

        Yeah, that's my problem with this too. It;s right to go after Google for this. But Texas!

        It's like two lawyers fighting it out. Who do you want to win? I suppose it's more a case of who do most want to lose :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not having a womb myself, Texas is sounding better and better.

    1. badflorist Silver badge

      "Republicans have made a habit of bashing "Big Tech."

      Which is making more and more tech people appreciative of Republicans.

      Democrats won't do it, which is probably why the Republicans do :-/. Regardless, I remember the pictures of Obama chumming it up with the 2 Google men thinking how blatantly sold out can you be? It was the open support of the Democrat party that turned the internet into a spy machine. California is clearly to blame. For example, letting cops use your private camera(s) which, is complete totalitarianism. Of course both Democratic and Republican parties are under that totalitarianism, so I guess the majority of the blame lies with California.

      1. Cav Bronze badge

        Which is making more and more STUPID people appreciative of Republicans.

        The Big Tech bashing, that Republicans are pushing, involves telling private entities what they can do with their own platforms.

        Free speech does not mean that you are free to use someone else's resources.

        If "Big Tech" is to be forced to allow hate speech and the usual right-wing lies, then Christian websites, Big Oil sites and the sites of meat\fur producers must also be forced to allow those who disagree with them to post their points on those sites.

        Those who don't like the way Facebook et al enforce their terms of service are free to go elsewhere. That's what freedom of choice is. It is the opposite of freedom to force others to allow you to use their property.

      2. MrDamage Silver badge

        >> Which is making more and more tech people appreciative of Republicans.

        And the goodwives of Salem were appreciative of the WitchFinder General, until they too, were accused.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge
          Headmaster

          I take your point, but this is historically inaccurate. Most of the accused lived in Salem Village, which was a distinct settlement; the trials and executions were mostly in Salem proper. And the accusations were organic, with townsfolk accusing one another. It snowballed from a feud between two families into a general "let's get rid of anyone unusual" and then into a mini-Reign-of-Terror situation where players in the early trials were then accused themselves.

          The whole thing would have been petty foolishness if it hadn't cost people their lives.

          And that said, witch-hunting in the US never came close to what went on in Europe. But we took indigenous genocide and plantation slavery to a whole other level, so that's points for both teams in the horrible acts competition.

    2. Jedit Silver badge
      Holmes

      "Not having a womb myself"

      Yeah, that is the important part. Let us not forget that Paxton wants access to private data from period tracking apps in the name of prosecuting people who help women seek an abortion out of state, and last month tried to flee a subpoena to testify in a case regarding the prosecution of pro-choice funds. He is entirely happy to have private data harvested for his own agenda.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Errrr.... But....

    Should this piece start with

    Long time indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton...

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