The state of Texas on Thursday filed a lawsuit against tech giant Google (GOOG) for allegedly illegally collecting the state’s residents’ biometric data without their consent.
The lawsuit alleges the company gathered a massive trove of biometric information from Texans, including voice records and facial data through its many services.
“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
“I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”
Thursday’s lawsuit is a new legal challenge for Google in Texas. Earlier this year, the state sued the company for tracking users’ location data without their knowledge, in violation of Texas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Paxton alleges that Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is prioritizing profits over people when it comes to user data collection, particularly biometric information.
Paxton added that Eric Schmidt, the company’s former top executive, had expressed privacy concerns over facial recognition in 2011, calling the technology “creepy.”
Despite those assurances, however, Google had its foray into facial recognition soon after.
Texas is among the few states to have privacy laws prohibiting the gathering of biometric information for commercial uses without a user’s consent. Violators can face up to $25,000 in penalties.
Texas, Illinois and Washington introduced biometric privacy laws starting in 2009. Illinois has filed hundreds of class-action lawsuits over biometric privacy. One against Google in 2016 ended in a $100 million settlement.
Along with civil penalties, Paxton called for a temporary injunction to prevent Google from engaging in further facial data collection.
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, lost an antitrust battle in September with the EU over its advertising practices and was fined $4.12 billion.
A Google spokesperson said Paxton is “mischaracterizing our products in another breathless lawsuit.”