Google's face match feature doesn't work in Illinois and Texas

The Google Arts & Culture app, which matches your face to a historical painting, has gone viral. But some people in t...

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 7:18 AM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 7:18 AM

The Google Arts & Culture app, which matches your face to a historical painting, has gone viral. But some people in two states claim they don't have access to the popular new feature.

Google confirmed to CNN Tech that the face-matching tool is not available in Illinois and Texas. The company declined to comment on why.

However, experts believe the issue stems from laws in Illinois and Texas that put restrictions on how companies can use biometric data such as facial scans and fingerprints. The Chicago Tribune was first to report on the laws affecting the feature's availability.

The feature, which propelled the app to the top of the list of most downloaded iPhone apps over the weekend, uses basic computer vision to scan your face. It then matches your selfie with doppelg-ngers from its digital collection of paintings pulled from its museum partners all over the world. Google said it deletes your photo after a match is made.

On Wednesday, Google said people have taken more than 30 million selfies on the app.

Related: Google app matches your face to a famous painting

In 2008, Illinois passed a law that requires companies to let users know when biometric identifiers are collected and how they will be used. It's also necessary to obtain consent from users before collecting and storing that data. In 2009, Texas passed a similar law.

Google's art app informs all users the company will collect and analyze their photos if they use the feature. Users must agree to this process for it to work.

The company declined to say how it knows which users are in Texas and Illinois. But some apps can restrict content based on a user's IP address.

However, some experts believe the app's feature doesn't violate state laws.

"This app isn't being rolled out in these states because of privacy law," Alvaro Bedoya, director of the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, told CNN Tech. "It isn't being rolled out in these states because powerful companies want those privacy laws to go away. They're trying to prove a point by not letting consumers in those states use the app."

Bedoya argued that the app provides adequate information and asks for consent, thus fulfilling the privacy laws' requirements.

Tech companies have previously lobbied against the biometric privacy laws that restrict collection of consumer data. In 2016, a bill was introduced to revise the Illinois law to exempt scans from preexisting photos. The bill did not pass.

Meanwhile, over 30 class-action lawsuits were filed in Illinois the second half of 2017 over alleged violations of the biometrics law, according to law firm K&L Gates.

One lawsuit against Google claimed the company violated the state's law by collecting and storing biometric information in Google Photos without the users' consent. Similar lawsuits have been filed against Snapchat and Facebook.

In Texas, only the attorney general can file lawsuits on the issue.

Google said it's working to expand availability of the feature, which is currently only available in the U.S.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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