Facebook Penalised $550 Million for User Privacy

Facebook Penalised $550 Million for User Privacy

Facebook has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action privacy lawsuit for using facial recognition technology in Illinois.

Under the Biometric Information Privacy Act of the US state law, Facebook was sued for its "Tag Suggestions" tool, which could scan user's face from their photo and provide suggestions about who that person might be. But, storing biometric data without the user consent would violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

In 2018, a federal judge made the facial recognition case a class-action lawsuit. But, Facebook appealed against the ruling and lost the appeal in a three-court decision in August 2019. Thus, to eligible Illinois users and to cover the plaintiffs' legal fees, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million. This is the second major settlement from Facebook in six months after it settled $5 billion to US FTC last year for user's privacy violations. People-based in Illinois, who used Facebook from mid-2011 to mid-2015 may get nearly $200 each, based on certain factors.

According to law firm Edelson PC, $550 million amount of negotiation is the largest all-cash privacy class action settlement to date.

"Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation," says Jay Edelson Founder and CEO of Edelson PC. "We are proud of the strong team we had in place that had the resolve to fight this critically important case over the last five years. We hope and expect that other companies will follow Facebook's lead and pay significant attention to the importance of our biometric information," he adds.