A judge has OK’d what he calls one of the largest-ever settlements of a privacy lawsuit, giving a thumbs-up Friday to Facebook paying $650 million to users who alleged the company created and stored scans of their faces without permission.
The class-action suit, filed in Illinois in 2015, involved Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology in its photo-tagging feature. With that feature, users can tag friends in photos uploaded to Facebook, creating links to their profiles.
The site’s Tag Suggestions program generated automatic suggestions by using scans of previously uploaded images to identify people in newly uploaded shots. The lawsuit alleged that the scans were created without user consent and violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.
“Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation,” Attorney Jay Edelson, who filed the lawsuit, said in January of 2020. At the time, said that figure wasn’t high enough.. But the following July, the judge in the case, US District Judge James Donato,
The final settlement will “put at least $345 into the hands of every class member interested in being compensated,” Donato said in his Friday order approving the arrangement. “By any measure, the $650 million settlement … is a landmark result,” he said. “It is one the largest settlements ever for a privacy violation.”
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. But it told the Associated Press that it’s “pleased to have reached a settlement so we can move past this matter, which is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders.”