Facebook allegedly broke Illinois state law by using consumer facial features to enhance its photo-tagging software.
Nearly one and a half million Illinois residents have claimed a portion of a $ 650 million privacy agreement offered by Facebook.
According to NBC Chicago, the law firm responsible for the social media lawsuit has indicated that 1.42 million Illinois residents have already filed claims. Eligible applicants could receive awards between $ 200 and $ 400.
The lawsuit, NBC says, alleged Facebook violated Illinois’ “strict biometric privacy law”. State law does not allow technology companies to collect consumer data – including biometric information such as those used for facial recognition and fingerprint scanning – without express prior consent.
As LegalReader.com previously reported, this class action lawsuit related to Facebook’s photo tagging feature.
In their complaint, plaintiffs alleged Facebook illegally used, stored, and analyzed consumer similarities to train its photo-tagging AI
Jay Eldeson, a Chicago-based attorney whose law firm led the lawsuit against Facebook, told NBC5 that the deal will encourage more consumers to hold big tech companies responsible for improperly protecting users’ personal information.
“We’re going to see a lot of voters saying, ‘Why not me?'” Eldelson said. “This deal will really make it clear that laws on the books will make the difference between people who go to court and get real relief and are otherwise trampled on by these tech companies.”
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash.
Interestingly, NBC5 Chicago notes that the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is ahead of Facebook’s popularity.
In fact, the law was passed in response to the failure of Pay By Touch, a technology start-up that worked with grocery stores to offer fingerprint-based payment options.
However, Pay By Touch quickly went bankrupt. In an attempt to pay off the creditors, top management at Pay By Touch considered selling the company’s assets – including a database of user information that contained biometric data.
State lawmakers were quick to propose and enact Biometric Information Protection Act in hopes of preventing Pay By Touch’s data assets from falling into the wrong hands.
Eldelson says the law received relatively little attention for years – even as Facebook and other social media companies grew in size and influence and appeared to violate aspects of the law.
Now Facebook is expected to distribute about two-thirds of the $ 650 million settlement to about 1.57 million Illinois residents.
The settlement, adds Qatar al-Jazeera, was originally intended to be closer to 6 million eligible Illinois residents. A judge had previously expressed his skepticism that anything under $ 1 billion would be enough for Facebook to properly close the case.
Although the settlement has been tentatively approved by U.S. District Judge James Donato, it won’t be finalized until early next year.
Facebook pays Illinois users $ 650 million to settle the privacy case
More than 1.4 million Facebook users in Illinois have filed a withdrawal claim of $ 650 million, the attorney says