Users of Snapchat in Illinois who applied filters or lenses may be eligible for compensation. In a class action lawsuit concerning the manner in which user data was gathered, Illinois and Snap reportedly agreed to a $35 million settlement this month, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to the lawsuit, Snapchat’s filters and lenses illegally collected and stored users’ biometric data in violation of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). When it comes to regulating businesses that gather residents’ biometric data, such as fingerprints, iris and retina scans, and facial scans, Illinois has some of the strictest regulations. The state law restricts the sale and transfer of the data and mandates that companies inform customers in writing why their biometric data is being gathered and how long it will be retained.
The Chicago Tribune discusses that Illinois residents who used lenses and filters between November 17th, 2015 till date may be entitled to a fraction of the settlement, which is expected to total between $58 and $117. Users who believe they may be entitled to the settlement have until September 24th to lodge a claim and here is the how-to. The deal is still awaiting final approval.
Snap, however, has denied violation of the BIPA. A representative of Snap, Pete Boogaard says that Snapchat lenses “do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person, or engage in facial identification.” Snap representative also added that all data collected and used by lenses have been programmed to remain on a user’s mobile device and not are available or sent to Snap’s servers in any way.
Boogaard further explains that “While we are confident that Lenses do not violate BIPA, out of an abundance of caution and as a testament to our commitment to user privacy, earlier this year we rolled out an in-app consent notice for Snapchatters in Illinois.”
Although this isn’t the first time Illinois residents would sue companies that collect biometric data. Earlier this week, approval was granted for a $92 million settlement in a different case which claimed TikTok violated Illinois law. Also, in a relation to a face grouping feature in Google Photos that was allegedly in violation of BIPA, Google was slammed with a payment of a whopping $100 million in June. In order to resolve a comparable BIPA class action case, Facebook consented to pay $650 million in 2021. All these are various BIPA violations tech companies have been accused of in Illinois.
Meanwhile, a $37.5 million payout was reached this week for Meta for the allegation of violation of the California law and user privacy by tracking users’ locations. According to Reuters, Facebook users claim the corporation utilized their IP addresses to target adverts even after they turned off location services. Meta opted not to make comments on the situation.