Article by: Kasim Carbide, Esq.
The technological revolution increased companies’ potential exposure to consumer and class action by prompting data privacy as well as biometric privacy statutes. Since no uniform federal regulatory scheme exists that regulates the collection, retention, and destruction of personally identifiable and biometric data, states like Illinois have enacted statutes to protect consumers and penalize companies that do not comply.
This was recently evidenced by Facebook’s class action settlement for a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information and Privacy Act (“BIPA”), which resulted in checks of approximately $400 being issued to Illinois residents that claimed membership in the class action lawsuit.[i] Nearly seven years after the lawsuit was initiated, Facebook paid over a million dollars Illinois residents for its violation of BIPA.
In April of 2022, a judge granted preliminary approval of Google’s class action settlement for violation of BIPA.[ii] Now, Google is settling a similar violation of BIPA claim by paying Illinois residents that appeared in a photograph in Google Photos between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022 while those subjects were Illinois residents. A link to the claim and eligibility form can be found here: https://googlebipasettlement.pnclassaction.com.
In short, Google is accused of violating BIPA by collecting and analyzing faces without first obtaining the appropriate disclosures (i.e., informed consent) from its users, and without sharing its data retention policies.[iii] More than likely, this was a calculated move by Google knowing that the sale of its data and user information outweighed the $100M settlement.
Illinois residents are encouraged to file their claims, and check their spam folders for e-mails registered with Google to find their claim numbers.
[i] A. Khalid. Facebook Issues $397 checks to Illinois residents as part of class-action lawsuit; Engadget. Available at: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-issues-397-checks-to-illinois-residents-as-part-of-class-action-over-photo-tags-233835674.html.
[ii] United States Privacy Digest, Google’s $100M BIPA Settlement approved and other updates. Available at: https://iapp.org/news/a/googles-100m-bipa-settlement-approved-and-other-updates/.
[iii] Looking to File a Claim in the Google Settlement in Illinois? Here’s the Form, MSN Chicago. Available at: https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/looking-to-file-a-claim-in-the-google-settlement-in-illinois-heres-the-form/2848310/.
About the Author:
Kasim Carbide concentrates his practice in Corporate Law, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance, and counseling FinTech startups. When he is not reading or billing, Kasim enjoys cooking, watching the Office, and playing Catan with family and friends.