What’s This About?
A $100,000,000 Class Action Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit alleged that Google violated Illinois privacy law by collecting and keeping biometric data of Illinois residents. People who appeared in Google Photos, while residing in Illinois did not receive proper notice and consent as per government privacy protections.
Google allegedly violated privacy laws in Illinois, specifically the Illinois Biometric Privacy Laws (BIPA). The BIPA is a law enacted by the State of Illinois in 2008 which regulates the collection, use, and handling of biometric identifiers and information by private companies. The BIPA covers “biometric” data, among other data, which includes the sort of information companies collect from users in their App with features such as facial recognition.
Facebook had recently settled and awarded 1.6 Million Illinoians $397 each in a landmark class action settlement for allegedly violating the same privacy law. In that case, Facebook had been automating facial recognition and tagging, facebook users, without their consent, until they removed this feature.
What is the Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) ?
In October 2008, Illinois became the first state to approve the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). This Act prohibits the unauthorized collection, use, or storage of biometric data such as fingerprints, iris scans, or face prints. It is one of the most comprehensive biometric privacy legislation and gives a private right of action.
Biometric identifiers are collected and stored under BIPA. People must be given notice in writing of why their biometric data are being collected, as well as the data storage parameters. It also stipulates that individuals collecting this information must seek written consent from persons whose information is stored. The most common use of biometric data in the workplace is to operate a biometric time clock with a fingerprint scan.
BIPA applies to any company, regardless of location, that collects or uses biometric data of Illinois citizens. Individuals retain rights over their biometric data, and commercial companies are prohibited from collecting it unless they:
• Notify the person that information is being collected or documented.
• Inform the individual in writing of the particular reason for the data collection, storage, and use, as well as the duration of the usage.
• Get the person’s written consent.
BIPA establishes rules for how businesses must handle biometric data collected from Illinois residents. Furthermore, the law prohibits any company from selling or profiting from its customers’ biometric data.
How Do I Qualify?
You qualify for this settlement if you appeared in a Google Photos photograph while you were an Illinois resident between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022.
What Can I Get?
The payout is estimated to be around $50 to $300 per individual that files a valid claim. However, this is just an estimate. The exact portion of payout per individual will be the pro-rated portion of the $100,000,000 Class Action Settlement, after court fees, costs, and expenses. The actual cash amount that will be received depends on the number of valid claims and the specific amounts of expenses, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and court-related expenses.
How Do I File a Claim?
You must submit a claim to qualify for a payout. The administrator will review your submission upon receipt. You may only submit one claim and any duplicate claims will not be accepted. If you timely submit a valid Claim Form by September 24, 2022, you will be entitled to receive a payment representing a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Fund of $100,000,000. Submitting false information will render your Claim Form invalid.