If you used a Snapchat filter or lens in Illinois, you could get paid. This month, the Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois won a $35 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against Snap for collecting user data.
Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Snapchat’s filters and lenses illegally collected and stored biometric data from its users without their knowledge or agreement, in violation of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
When it comes to the collection of fingerprints, iris and retina scans, and facial scans from residents, Illinois has some of the strictest rules in the country. State laws forbid the sale or transfer of biometric data and require businesses to tell people in writing why they are collecting their data and how long they will be kept.
The Chicago Tribune reports that citizens of Illinois who purchased lenses and filters between November 17, 2015 and the present may be entitled to a portion of the settlement, which is expected to be between $58 and $117.
Even though the settlement hasn’t been approved for sure yet, consumers who think they might be eligible have until September 24 to file a claim here. Snap’s Pete Boogaard has stated that Snapchat lenses “do not gather biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person or engage in facial recognition,” so denying that Snap has broken BIPA. Lens data, Boogaard adds, never leaves the user’s mobile device or goes through Snap’s servers.
Meanwhile, Boogaard says, “We are sure that Lenses do not break BIPA.” However, “out of an abundance of caution and to show how much we care about user privacy,” Snapchat added an in-app consent warning for Snapchatters in Illinois earlier this year.
This is not the first time an Illinois individual has filed a lawsuit against a company for collecting their biometric data. This week also saw development in a separate case involving allegations that TikTok violated Illinois law, with the judge giving final permission to a $92 million settlement. Google settled a BIPA lawsuit in June for $100 million related to the company’s facial recognition software used in Google Photos.
In 2021, Facebook settled a BIPA class action lawsuit for $650 million. Meta, a software corporation accused of breaking California law and consumer privacy through location tracking, settled last week for $37.5 million. Reuters says that some Facebook users are upset that the company is still targeting ads at their IP addresses even though they have turned off location services.
Meta did not want to say anything about it.