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Texas AG subpoenas Pfizer to release Meta ad records

The office of Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton has requested that Pfizer and several other companies turn over advertising data tied to the social media giant Meta. The lawsuit was filed after consumer data privacy concerns were raised by the state in its latest legal battle with Meta, according to a report by Law360. The Texas Attorney General claims that millions of Texas residents have had their private biometric data misappropriated over the past ten years.

The order requires the vaccine maker to share any records it holds regarding Meta’s use of facial recognition technology over claims that the company was collecting biometric data from Facebook users without their consent. This decree over Pfizer’s records follows a February 2022 filing against Meta by the Texas Attorney General that claimed “Facebook knowingly captured biometric information for its own commercial benefit” in order to “train and improve” its in-house facial recognition technology powered by AI. The Texas lawsuit cites Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s commentary that photo tagging is “more important than every other [Facebook] feature put together” as evidence in their case against the company under a section that highlights its allegations against the company. The February 2022 petition against Meta over data privacy concerns came shortly after Facebook decided to discontinue its face recognition systems in 2021. Meta said its move to cut back on its facial recognition tech development was necessary because of the lack of regulator guidelines.

The Texas Attorney General has been aggressive in its pursuit of Meta’s data on the issue. The state has cast a wide net with its series of lawsuits, subpoenaing a number of other big-name companies affiliated with the company through its advertising arm. Pfizer is just one of many companies subpoenaed in the attempt to discover data incriminating Meta. Others ordered to turn over advertising data include Procter & Gamble, Home Depot, The New York Times, SmileDirectClub and Clarity Media Group. Although the exact investment value of Pfizer’s advertising deals with Meta are undisclosed, we do know the company’s “selling, general, and administrative expenses,” which include marketing and advertising, reached a whopping $34 billion in 2022.

Meta is hardly the only name in big tech being targeted by the Texas AG over data privacy concerns. Google is similarly facing the Texas Attorney General in court over its facial data collection practices. Last year, Google was sued by Texas for engaging in “years-long practices” of capturing biometric data from millions of Texans without consent. In that same year in a separate lawsuit with the state of Illinois, Google paid $100 million to settle a class action that accused the tech giant of violating the Biometric Information Protection Act. The case resembles the Texas suit filed against Meta, which claims the company violated Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act. Confirmation that a violation of that specific Texas act by Meta can result in a penalty of up to $25,000 per violation of the law. So far, an infraction fine against the social media giant has not been determined.

Both Pfizer and the Texas AG office could not be reached to comment on the ongoing case.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/texas-ag-subpoenas-pfizer-to-release-meta-ad-records-160736593.html?src=rss

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