Here’s a Look at All the Settlements Stemming From Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act – NBC Chicago

Illinois residents are likely familiar with a privacy law in the state that was behind checks worth hundreds of dollars for many Facebook users in the state.

Now, that same law is behind a number of other potential settlements, and more checks could soon be arriving.

Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in the state or online, no matter where the business is based. Data cannot be sold, transferred or traded. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, which has sparked hundreds of David-and-Goliath legal battles against some of the world’s most powerful companies.

If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can collect civil penalties up to $5,000 per violation compounded by the number of people affected and days involved. No state regulatory agency is involved in enforcement.

Since BIPA is an Illinois law, it only applies to state residents.

Here’s a look at some of the settlements reached in connection with the law in Illinois so far:

Facebook

Earlier this year, more than one million Illinois Facebook users began receiving checks following a $650 million settlement in a class-action suit alleging it violated residents’ rights by collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission. 

Distribution of $397 payments began May 9.

Facebook users in Illinois “for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011” were eligible for a payout, but in order to qualify, must have lived in Illinois for at least six months and submitted a claim by the November 23, 2020 deadline.

Google

Another lawsuit, which mirrors the one settled with Facebook, claimed Google violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by “collecting and storing biometric data of individuals who, while residing in Illinois, appeared in a photograph in the photograph sharing and storage service known as Google Photos, without proper notice and consent.”

A settlement agreement was reached in the case earlier this year and now, eligible residents can file their claims.

According to the settlement website, residents are eligible “if, at any time between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022, you appeared in a photograph in Google Photos while you were an Illinois resident.”

Eligible residents can submit a claim now through Sept. 24. All claims must submitted by that date to be eligible for a payment.

A final approval hearing is slated for Sept. 28.

Those looking to submit a claim can do so here.

TikTok

Most recently, a federal judge in Illinois granted final approval for a $92 million class-action lawsuit settlement between the social media network TikTok and users of the platform, with Illinois residents set to receive the largest share of the payout due to BIPA.

According to lawyers, TikTok users who created videos prior to Sept. 30, 2021 were eligible to be part of the class-action suit.

Two separate classes of plaintiffs were created, with one comprised of nationwide users and a second class comprised solely of Illinois-based users.

Deadlines for the lawsuit have already passed, according to lawyers. Individuals who wanted to file a claim form to be part of the class-action suit were required to do so by March 1, 2022.

As a result of BIPA, Illinois residents who are part of the class-action suit will receive the same share as other United States residents, but will also receive five additional shares apiece, effectively increasing their payout.

The official number of participants in the class-action suit has not yet been announced, and therefore it is not known how big a settlement payout Illinois residents can expect.

Snapchat

The social media company has agreed to a $35 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit in Illinois.

Any Illinois resident who used Snapchat Lenses or Filters between Nov. 17, 2015, and now is eligible to submit a claim. The deadline for eligible residents to submit their claims is currently Nov. 5, according to a website dedicated to the settlement.

  • Click here to file a claim.

The lawsuit accused the social network of violating BIPA by illegally collecting users’ biometric information without their consent, according to court documents. It was filed in May in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The settlement amount still needs to go through a final approval hearing, which is scheduled for November.

Earlier this year, more than one million Illinois Facebook users began receiving checks following a $650 million settlement in a class-action suit alleging it violated residents’ rights by collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission. Microsoft, Amazon and Google are among the companies that have also been accused of violations.

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