A federal judge gave his final approval to a class-action $ 650 million face recognition class action against a company Facebook, and ordered payments as quickly as possible to about 1.6 million Illinois members who filed lawsuits.
Chicago attorney Jay Edelson filed a lawsuit against Facebook in Cook County Courthouse in 2015 on behalf of plaintiff (Carlo Licata), alleging that the platform’s use of facial recognition tags was not permitted under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
The case was transferred to Chicago Federal Court and then California Federal Court, where it gained class action status.
The lawsuit alleged that Facebook’s tag suggestion tool, which scans faces from users ‘photos and makes suggestions about a person’s identity, stored vital data without users’ consent in violation of Illinois law.
The case became a class-action lawsuit in 2018, and in 2019 Facebook made facial recognition across the platform with a subscription only.
Each of the three plaintiffs mentioned in the lawsuit gets $ 5,000 and the others get at least $ 345 each, according to the order of Judge (James Donato) James Donato of Northern California.
Donato said the settlement was a historic result and a huge win for consumers in the much contested digital privacy area.
The Vital Information Privacy Act in Illinois is among the most stringent in the United States, and it requires companies to obtain permission before using technologies, such as facial recognition, to identify customers.
The state’s biometric privacy law allowed consumers to sue companies that did not obtain permission before collecting data, such as faces and fingerprints.
Facebook said at statementWe are happy to reach a settlement so that we can overcome this matter, which is in the interest of our community and our shareholders.
Edelson said For a newspaper Chicago Tribune: It’s a big deal that sends a very clear message that biometric privacy rights are here to stay in Illinois.
The settlement initially involved the approximately 6.9 million Facebook users in Illinois for whom the social network created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011.
Facebook users have had to live in the state for at least six months for the past nine years.
Nearly 1.6 million claim forms were filed by the November 23 deadline, which represents about 22 percent of Facebook users in Illinois.
Of the $ 650 million that Facebook agreed to pay, Donato awarded $ 97.5 million in attorney fees and about $ 915,000 in expenses.