Illinois Facebook users could get $345 each in photo-tagging lawsuit after judge approves $650M settlement

Facebook users in Illinois may be eligible for at least $ 345 each after a federal judge cleared a $ 650 million settlement in a 2015 lawsuit over Facebook’s photo-tagging technology.

The social media giant initially agreed to pay the record-breaking bill in July 2020 following a class action lawsuit in Illinois against the use of facial recognition technology in Illinois that violated the state’s biometric privacy law and allowed residents to save up to 5,000 US dollars. Demand for dollars when companies leverage technology for data without the user’s consent.

“Either way, the $ 650 million settlement in this biometric privacy class lawsuit is a milestone. It is one of the largest bills ever made for a data breach, and it will become any class member interested in compensation.” is to put at least $ 345 in your hands. ” “Said US District Judge James Donato in a trial on Friday.

Illinois is the only state with a law that allows people to claim monetary damages for such unauthorized data collection.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement so that we can overcome this matter, which is in the best interests of our community and our shareholder,” Facebook told Fox Business in a statement.

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Attorney Jay Edelson celebrated the approval of the settlement in a Friday tweet.

“One of the key takeaways is the Court’s laser focus on innovating notices and ensuring unprecedented loss rates,” he said. “Comparisons have to be measured by how much money goes to the participants. If nobody participates, that’s a problem. The Court’s approach sets new standards.”

From 2015, Facebook used automatic photo recognition technology. When users upload photos depicting other users, the platform’s photo tagging tool instantly shows suggested names to simplify the tagging process. The tech giant updated its facial recognition guidelines in September 2019 to require user consent.

The company originally agreed to settle the case for a record $ 550 million in January 2020, but Donato said that was insufficient under Illinois law, according to the NPR.

“It’s $ 550 million. That’s a lot. But the question is, is it really a lot?” Donato asked during a June 4 hearing on the NPR, adding, “They’re taking a 98.75 percent discount on the amount Illinois lawmakers have declared due on this case when you’ve proven your case.”

If applicants are satisfied with $ 650 million, they can expect to receive anything between “at least $ 345”, according to Donato’s most recent filing.

Other tech giants have come under fire in Illinois for using facial recognition technology without user consent, in violation of the state’s biometric law, which has been hailed by privacy advocates as the country’s strongest form of protection for the commercial exploitation of such data.

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TikTok parent company ByteDance on Friday agreed to pay $ 92 million to U.S. users who are part of a class action lawsuit alleging the video-sharing app failed to get their consent to collect data, which violates biometric law. The settlement has yet to be approved by a federal judge.

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“While we disagree with the allegations instead of engaging in lengthy litigation, we want to focus our efforts on creating a safe and fun experience for the TikTok community,” TikTok said in a statement sent via email.

In addition, two Illinois residents filed lawsuits against Microsoft, Google, and Amazon on July 14 for violating biometric law.

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Facebook’s lawsuits and settlement come when debates flare up against law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology without a suspect’s consent. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have stopped police use of their facial recognition tools as concerns about possible racial prejudice have grown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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