If you were getting bored with the news of Facebook getting sued all over the world for privacy, data breach among many other things, you may be in for good news. Facebook users in Illinois can now claim their stake in a $650 million class-action lawsuit that the social media giant lost.
As a result, Facebook users who lived in for at least six months in Illinois and featured in a picture after June 7, 2011, will get paid between $200 and $400. Mark Zuckerberg's company agreed to settle the lawsuit after being accused of collecting users' biometric data.
How Do You Claim It?
If you meet the criteria, all you need to do is to go to the www.facebookbipaclassaction.com website and file your claim. Multiple persons in the same household can also file their claims as per the lawsuit verdict.
"The settlement also requires Facebook to turn 'off' the Facial Recognition setting and delete face templates for most Class Members unless they turn it back 'on,'" explained the authors of the website set up to claim the settlement money.
However, residents of Illinois who are eligible to receive the payout must apply on or before November 23, 2020, to receive the money. Lawyers although didn't reveal when the payout will begin.
"We are very excited that the process is moving forward and that class members are now able to participate in the largest consumer privacy settlement in our country's history," Attorney Jay Edelson, whose office led the lawsuit, said in a statement to ABC News.
What Is the Lawsuit About?
The legal action, filed by Nimesh Patel on behalf of the people of Illinois, against Facebook Inc, argued that the social media company collected users' biometric face data without any consent for its "Tag Suggestion" tool. As per Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), collecting biometric data without consent is against the law. In 2015, the case was filed in the U.S. Northern District Court of California and the U.S. Court of Appeals reserved the judgment last year.
Edelson's firm filed three different lawsuits in 2015 for three different individuals accusing Facebook of not informing them that its photo-tagging algorithm made use of facial recognition technology. They further accused that Facebook used the technology to analyze the photos, create and store the faces as templates.
Later the cases were grouped as a class-action by a federal judge for Illinois' Facebook users who were among the social media platform's face templates on or after June 7, 2011. The company finally changed its tag suggestion system last year. The new system is although a broader facial recognition system, the setting is turned off by default.
While Facebook's settlement is one of the largest consumer privacy lawsuits, it was the legal action against Six Flags that set the precedence. Theme park Six Flags collected a 14-year-old Illinois boy's thumbprint for issuing a season pass in 2014. But his mother, Stacy Rosenbach, sued the company arguing that she didn't give consent.
Although collecting biometric data in the tech industry has become regular, in Illinois, it is heavily regulated by BIPA. Illinois' Supreme Court found Six Flags violating the act and asked the company to pay damages to the boy even though collecting biometric data didn't cause any harm. The verdict in the lawsuit put pressure on tech companies like Facebook which was already facing similar proceedings.