October 2, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Instagram to pay $68.5 million in biometric privacy settlement in Illinois

Instagram to pay $68.5 million in biometric privacy settlement in Illinois

Millions of Instagram users in Illinois may be eligible for a new $68.5 million biometric privacy settlement.

The lawsuit alleges that the facial recognition technology used in the app through November 2021 violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law, which is considered the most stringent in the country.

Anyone who used Instagram while in Illinois between Aug. 10, 2015, and Aug. 16, 2023 will be eligible for a portion of the settlement if approved, according to court documents. DuPage County Circuit Judge Angelo Kappas issued the preliminary approval order for the settlement in early July.

In court documents, attorneys for the plaintiffs estimate that 4 million Illinois residents could be eligible to participate in the settlement. The amount of payments in a state depends on the number of eligible class members who submit valid claims.

The deadline for submitting claims is September 27; Residents can do so at settlement site. A final hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled for October.

The Instagram deal is the latest in a series of settlements by major tech companies over alleged violations of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. The law, passed in 2008, prohibits companies from collecting or storing biometric information, such as fingerprints, without prior consent.

Facebook, now Meta, along with Google and Snap Inc. Mother Snap Inc. All biometric privacy issues have been settled in Illinois in recent years. Facebook, whose parent company also owns Instagram, settled its case for $650 million, with individual payments exceeding $400 to some class members. Google and Snap settled their case for smaller amounts of $100 million and $35 million, respectively.

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“When Meta’s facial recognition software was active, the company alleged that it used an individual model to find photos and videos in which a user appeared on Facebook to suggest tags, and to provide more relevant content and feature recommendations,” Instagram’s complaint alleges.

The complaint alleges that “on information and belief, Meta also captured Instagram users’ protected biometrics without their informed consent and without informing users of its practices.”

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.