Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has agreed to a $35 million class action lawsuit settlement to resolve a lawsuit alleging the company violated Illinois biometric privacy law.
In court filings this month, the plaintiffs — all Illinois residents who used Snapchat — said the company failed to take steps required by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) to protect their biometric information, including requesting written consent before collecting and storing it and indicating how and when the information would be destroyed.
Snap isn’t the first social media company to break Illinois law: In 2020, Facebook agreed to a $550 million settlement after being sued by Illinois residents for collecting data from facial recognition to tag photos without complying with BIPA. In June, Google agreed to pay $100 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that Google Photos’ facial recognition program violated the settlement.
This week again, a judge granted final approval for a $92 million settlement with TikTok for charges, he broke state law.
The $35 million Snap payment has been tentatively accepted, but a final approval hearing is scheduled for November 17, 2022.
Here’s what you need to know about Snapchat’s biometric privacy case, including what the law says, who’s eligible to file a claim, and when they might get a check.
To learn more about the class action settlements, find out if you’re eligible for money from Capital One’s $190 million payout, T-Mobile’s $350 million data breach case, or T-Mobile’s $90 million data tracking payment Facebook.
What is the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Law?
Passed unanimously by the Illinois Legislature in 2008, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is considered one of the strongest privacy laws in the country. This requires companies that collect biometric data — which can include unique voice, eye and facial characteristics, as well as fingerprint scans and heartbeats — to take certain protective measures.
According to the complaint, BIPA “prohibits private entities from collecting, capturing, purchasing, commercially receiving, or otherwise obtaining a person’s biometric information” unless the user signs an informed consent waiver. which informs it of the specific purpose of the data, the length of time it is stored and when it will be permanently destroyed, among other provisions.
What is Snap accused of in the biometric privacy lawsuit?
Plaintiffs in Boone, et al. v. Snap Inc. allege that Snapchat collected and stored Illinois users’ biometric data but did not notify them, thereby violating BIPA.
In a statement to CNET, a Snap spokesperson said the company denies the allegations, adding that the “limited data” used by Snapchat Lenses remains on the user’s phone. Additionally, the spokesperson said, “Snapchat Lenses do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person or perform facial identification.”
The lenses – which can add bunny ears, whiskers and other augmented reality features – can be used “to identify an eye or a nose as part of a face, but cannot identify an eye or a nose as belonging to a specific person,” according to the rep.
Who is eligible for a payment?
To file a claim, you must provide your full legal name, Snapchat username, and a valid Illinois address where you resided during the Class Period.
Additionally, you must submit a personal statement that you lived in Illinois for at least six months during the course period and used Snapchat lenses or filters during that time.
How much can I get from the settlement?
According to settlement websiteClass Members who submit a valid and timely Claim Form may receive “prorated payment from the Settlement Fund” after payment of attorneys’ fees, administration fees and other expenses.
The exact amount each member of the group will receive has not been determined, although The ChicagoTribune reports that individual payouts will likely range between $58 and $117.
What is the deadline for filing a complaint?
You have until November 5, 2022 to file a claim. (Mail claims must be postmarked by November 5.) If you want to opt out of the settlement and file a separate lawsuit, the deadline is October 6.