The deadline is fast approaching for Illinois residents who want to claim their share of the $650 million payout in Facebook’s landmark class-action lawsuit. According to the Chicago Tribune, residents have until Monday to submit their paperwork to be part of the official class.
As it stands, nearly 1.4 million people had already signed on as of Wednesday. That breaks down to roughly $400 per person, which is noteworthy insofar as it is well below the $1,000 penalty for negligent violations outlined in the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) that triggered the original class-action suit. The $650 million settlement was reached after Judge James Donato rejected an earlier $550 million settlement, specifically because that amount would not equate to $1,000 per violation due to the high number of infractions.
While the $650 million settlement has been accepted, it would appear that the extra $100 million was still not enough to close that gap. The original class-action lawsuit was filed in 2015 in Cook County Circuit Court, and alleged that Facebook’s tagging feature violated BIPA regulations because it collected biometric face templates without obtaining the proper consent.
Anyone who lived in Illinois for at least six months at any point in the past nine years (and before the settlement date of August 19) is eligible to join the class, which covers anyone who had a template stored by Facebook after June 7, 2011. Residents can file a claim using a website set up specifically for the purpose. The $650 million will be deposited in a fund, and will then be distributed to residents in early 2021 after legal fees have been collected.
In addition to the payout, Facebook agreed to delete the stored templates of those in the class, unless those members give the company permission to keep them. Facebook also agreed to make ‘off’ the default facial recognition setting.
Source: Chicago Tribune
November 20, 2020 – by Eric Weiss