SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal judge on Friday approved a settlement on a $ 650 million privacy lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly using photo face-tagging and other biometric data without its users’ permission.
U.S. District Judge James Donato approved the deal in a class action lawsuit filed in Illlinois in 2015. Almost 1.6 million Facebook users in Illinois who have filed claims are affected.
Donato called it one of the largest settlements ever created because of an invasion of privacy.
“It will give at least $ 345 into the hands of any class member interested in compensation,” he wrote, calling it “a great win for consumers in the highly competitive digital privacy space.”
Jay Edelson, a Chicago attorney who filed the lawsuit, told the Chicago Tribune that the checks could be mailed within two months, unless the verdict is appealed.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement so that we can resolve this matter, which is in the best interests of our community and our shareholders,” said Facebook, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, in a statement.
In the lawsuit, the social media giant was accused of violating a privacy law in Illinois by failing to obtain consent before using facial recognition technology to scan photos uploaded by users to create faces digitally and save.
The state’s Biometric Information Protection Act allowed consumers to sue companies who weren’t given permission prior to the harvest of data like faces and fingerprints.
The case eventually ended as a class action lawsuit in California.
Facebook has since changed its photo tagging system.