Illinois residents have until Saturday to file claims for their part of a $100 million class action lawsuit settlement reached this spring in a lawsuit against Google for alleged violations of the state’s biometric privacy law.
Anyone who was featured in a photo on Google Photos between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022, while a resident of Illinois, is eligible and may file a claim. on the settlement website or by mail. Lawyers estimate that class members will receive between $200 and $400 each, although the exact amount of the payments will depend on how many people file claims.
The lawsuit alleges that Google’s face grouping tool, which classifies faces in Google Photos by similarity, violated the state’s biometric privacy law. The law, known as the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, requires companies to obtain user consent for the use of such technology.
Google did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. In April, company spokesman Jose Castañeda said the company would roll out opt-in consent to tackle bundling in Illinois and more gradually in the U.S. He confirmed Friday that opt-in consent had been fully implemented in Illinois.
A final approval hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anna M. Loftus, who granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement this spring. If the settlement is approved, claimants could receive their cash within 90 days of approval, though any appeals would delay the process.
The Google Photos settlement resolves a group of lawsuits brought by five named plaintiffs, the first of which was filed in 2016 in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Two plaintiffs sued in state court in 2019 after a judge determined they lacked standing to sue in federal court; Additional plaintiffs filed subsequently filed their own lawsuits. Each of the five named plaintiffs is eligible for payments of $5,000. His attorneys may request up to $40 million in fees plus costs and expenses, to be paid from the settlement fund.
The Illinois biometric privacy law is among the strictest in the US and has sparked hundreds of lawsuits since its passage in 2008.
Another class action deadline looms in November for state residents who use Snapchat. The app’s parent company, Snap Inc., reached a $35 million settlement in a lawsuit last month over allegations that its lenses and filters violated state law.
The deadline to file claims in the Snapchat settlement is November 5; residents can do it on the settlement website. The lawyers estimate that the payments will range between $58 and $117.
Snap did not admit wrongdoing in the deal. The company said last month that it “vehemently” denies that its technology violates Illinois law and said it has implemented in-app consent in the state “out of an abundance of caution.”
This spring, some Facebook users in Illinois received payments of nearly $400 after Facebook hit a $650 million class action settlement about its face tagging feature. Final approval in the case was issued in February 2021, but the payments were delayed for an appeal.