Facebook to Pay $550mn in Bipa case
30 January 2020 08:13 GMT

Facebook has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a lawsuit from Illinois users who alleged their biometric privacy rights were violated.

In May 2015, Nimesh Patel, Adam Pezen and Carlo Licata filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook arguing the technology it uses to suggest photo tags violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by collecting and storing their biometric data without consent. Facebook's motion to dismiss the complaint was denied, and that decision was upheld on appeal in August.

Three law firms representing the plaintiffs on Wednesday issued a joint press release announcing the payout, which they note marks the largest all-cash privacy class action settlement to date.

Class members — basically Illinois Facebook users from mid-2011 to mid-2015 — may expect as much as $200 each, but that depends on several factors. If you’re one of them you should receive some notification once the settlement is approved by the court and the formalities are worked out.

The proposed settlement would require Facebook to obtain consent in the future from Illinois users for such purposes as face analysis for automatic tagging.

"Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation," said Jay Edelson, the plaintiffs' attorney. "We hope and expect that other companies will follow Facebook’s lead and pay significant attention to the importance of our biometric information."

Added co-counsel Paul Geller: "This case should serve as a clarion call to companies that consumers care deeply about their privacy rights and, if pushed, will fight for those rights all the way to the Supreme Court and back until they are justly compensated.”

 

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