Illinois residents who filed claims for a portion of Google’s $100 million class action settlement for alleged violations of state privacy law could receive checks for around $154 each.
Cook County Circuit Judge Anna M. Loftus granted final approval of the settlement on Wednesday. She granted preliminary approval of the deal in April.
Payment comes after Google settled a class action lawsuit alleging that its face grouping tool, which ranks faces in Google Photos by similarity, violated Illinois biometric privacy law. State law requires companies to obtain affirmative consent from users before collecting and storing their biometric information.
The term to claim a part of the liquidation was In the past week. Those eligible included people who appeared in a photo on Google Photos between May 2015 and this April while they were residents of Illinois.
According to Loftus, some 420,000 people have filed valid claims. That would put the payments to about $154 per person, less than the $200 to $400 attorneys originally estimated residents could receive.
The payment amounts remain lower than previous estimates, even though Loftus on Wednesday reduced the attorneys’ fees from 40% of the settlement fund to 35%. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are now eligible to collect $35 million in fees plus costs and expenses. The five named plaintiffs in the case are eligible for payments of $5,000 each.
Google did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The company has implemented opt-in consent for face pooling in Illinois, spokesman Jose Castaneda said last week.
In April, Castañeda said the company was “delighted to resolve this issue related to specific laws in Illinois” and remained “committed to creating easy-to-use controls for our users.” He declined to comment on Wednesday.
Claimants could receive payments within 90 days of settlement approval, but any appeals could delay the process.
After Facebook reached a $650 million biometric privacy settlement in February 2021, Illinois residents did not receive their $397 checks until more than a year later due to an appeal. Two class members appealed because they objected to payments to the named plaintiffs and attorneys in the case, the latter of which amounted to $97.5 million. The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the Facebook deal in March.
The Google settlement resolves a group of lawsuits brought by those five plaintiffs, the first of which was filed in 2016 in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act is considered one of the strictest laws in the country, in part because it allows citizens to sue companies for allegedly breaking the law. From step in 2008, the law has sparked hundreds of lawsuits.
Illinois residents who use Snapchat have until November 5 to file claims in a biometric privacy case resolved by the app’s parent company, Snap Inc., last month. The company reached a $35 million settlement over allegations that its lenses and filters violated state law.
Snap has not admitted wrongdoing in the settlement and maintains that its technology does not violate Illinois law. A spokesman said last month that the company had implemented in-app consent for lenses and filters in Illinois “out of an abundance of caution.”