Google Photos Settlement In Illinois To Pay $100 Million Over Biometric Privacy


Google has agreed to pay Illinois residents $100 million to settle a class action lawsuit over one of its facial recognition features in Google Photos (via Gizmodo). The complaint alleges that Google’s face grouping tool, which automatically identifies your face in photos and videos uploaded to Photos, violates Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Introduced in 2008, BIPA prohibits companies from collecting and storing any type of biometric data, including a “retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint or hand geometry scan”. or face” without telling a person in writing why they are collecting this type of data and how long they plan to store it. Google “is in direct violation” of that law, the complaint alleges, because it collects and analyzes a person’s facial structure in connection with its face-grouping feature “without notice, obtaining written informed consent, or posting information.” data retention policies”.

Google agreed to a $100 million payout as a result of the class action lawsuit, and it is required to provide users with a notice about the face grouping feature. So if you are (or were) an Illinois resident who appeared in a photo or video on Google Photos between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022, you have until September 24, 2022 to submit a claim. on the settlement website. According to the class action notice, you can get between $200 and $400, depending on court expenses and the number of people filing a claim. The final settlement approval hearing will be held on September 28.


“We are pleased to resolve this issue relating to specific laws in Illinois, and we remain committed to creating easy-to-use controls for our users,” Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement to The rod. “Google Photos can group similar faces together to help you organize photos of the same person so you can easily find old photos and memories. Of course, all of this is only visible to you, and you can easily disable this feature if you wish.

Last year Facebook was ordered to pay $650 million in another class action lawsuit in Illinois. The complaint alleged that the now-discontinued Tag Suggestions platform, which analyzed users’ faces in photos and provided suggestions as to who the face may belong to, collected and stored biometric data in violation of state laws. on biometric privacy. Snapchat is also facing a similar class action lawsuit in Illinois, claiming the service “unlawfully” collects users’ voiceprints and facial geometry data with its various lenses and filters.

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