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Google’s art selfie app not working in Texas or Illinois? Thank tricky biometric laws

Google’s art selfie app not working in Texas or Illinois? Thank tricky biometric laws
[Photo: Google]

Like Flappy Bird and Angry Birds before it, Google’s Arts & Culture app and its “Is your face in a museum?” feature has gone viral. Everyone from Kristen Bell to Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani are snapping selfies with the app, which then matches them up with faces from museum artworks around the world.

On Wednesday, Google said people have taken more than 30 million selfies on the app. However, users in Texas and Illinois haven’t been able to get in on the fun, and while Google won’t say way, it’s probably for a good reason: While there are no federal laws that specifically restrict the use of facial scanning, those two states restrict the use of facial recognition technology and the collection of biometric data.

Google pinky swears that it “will only store your photo for the time it takes to search for matches” when it takes the picture, but that’s not enough to get around the laws in Texas and Illinois. As the Chicago Tribune reports, “Illinois has one of the nation’s most strict laws on the use of biometrics, which include facial, fingerprint, and iris scans.” Texas passed a similar law in 2009.

If you live in Texas and really want to try out the app, the Houston Chronicle has a few tips for getting around the law.

We reached out to Google for comment.

Guys, this app is DEAD ON.

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

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