Facebook biometric data collection practices investigated by Texas AG
Facebook’s collection of biometric information is under investigation by The Attorney General of Texas to see if it violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices — Consumer Protection Act, Axios reports.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a civil investigative demand to the social media company, and asking for information about the suit in Illinois it may be close to settling, according to documents from June found by a technology watchdog.
Facebook recently increased its proposed settlement amount in a suit filed under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by $100 million to $650 million. Since the damages are being questioned by the judge in that case for being below the amounts specified by BIPA, and the population of Texas (and presumably number of Facebook users) is more than double that of Illinois, the amounts involved could be high.
The Illinois case is about Facebook’s processing of facial biometrics, allegedly without obtaining explicit and informed written consent, for photo tagging purposes.
Texas is one of only a handful of states with comprehensive biometric data privacy protections, and has similar regulations to Illinois, with the key exception that right of civil court action is only granted to the AG.
Paxton has also reportedly recently launched an anti-trust investigation of Google, and an investigation of Apple’s marketing claims.
Kronos BIPA lawsuit remanded to Illinois state court
A federal appeals court came to an opposite conclusion in a recent decision in Bryant v. Compass Group USA, Inc., saying the alleged violation creates federal standing both as equivalent to an act of trespass, and through an information injury from a failure to disclose data collection and retention policies as required. An appeal, therefore, is a distinct possibility.
Kronos and a customer operating a seniors’ home agreed to pay $1.55 million to settle a BIPA claim last year, before having its inclusion in the collection and disclosure portion of the suit dismissed.