Google Photos Privacy Accord $100 million tax break, Saturday is the last day for Illinois citizens to obtain

Illinois residents have until Saturday to file claims for their share of a $100 million class-action settlement struck in a lawsuit against Google this spring over alleged violations of the state’s biometric privacy statute.

Anyone who appeared in a photo on Google Photos between May 1, 2015, and April 25, 2022, while living in Illinois, is entitled to file a claim, which they can do online or by mail. Attorneys predict that class members will earn between $200 and $400 each, however, the precise amount depends on how many individuals file claims.

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According to the case, Google’s face grouping function, which groups faces on Google Photos based on likeness, violates the state’s biometric privacy statute. The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act compels enterprises to obtain consumers’ agreement before using such technology.

In 2019, a sign is seen atop a Google building on the company’s campus in Mountain View, California. A complaint claims that Google’s face grouping technology violates the state of Illinois’ biometric privacy legislation. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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As part of the deal, Google does not admit wrongdoing. In April, corporate spokesperson José Castaeda stated that the corporation will begin rolling out opt-in permission to face grouping in Illinois and then progressively expand across the United States. On Friday, he announced that opt-in consent had been completely implemented in Illinois.

The case’s final approval hearing is planned for Wednesday before Cook County Circuit Judge Anna M. Loftus, who gave preliminary approval to the settlement deal earlier this spring. If the settlement is granted, claimants might get their money within 90 days, though any appeals would delay the process.

The Google Photos settlement settles a collection of five named plaintiffs’ complaints, the first of which was filed in 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After a judge ruled that they lacked standing to sue in federal court, two plaintiffs filed suit in state court in 2019; more litigants then filed their own claims.

Each of the five identified plaintiffs is entitled for a $5,000 settlement. Their attorneys will be allowed to request up to $40 million in fees, charges, and expenses from the settlement money.

Since its enactment in 2008, Illinois’ biometric privacy law has triggered hundreds of lawsuits, making it one of the harshest in the US.

Another class-action lawsuit deadline for state residents who use Snapchat is coming up in November. Snap Inc., the app’s parent firm, settled a lawsuit last month for $35 million over charges that its lenses and filters violated state law.

The deadline for residents to file claims in the Snapchat settlement is Nov. 5; people can do so on the settlement website.

Payouts are expected to vary from $58 and $117, according to attorneys.

In the deal, Snap made no admissions of wrongdoing. Last month, the business stated that it “vehemently” rejects that its technology breaches Illinois law and that it has implemented in-app consent in the state “out of an excess of caution.”

Some Illinois Facebook users received over $400 compensation this spring after Facebook struck a $650 million class-action settlement over its face tagging tool. The case received final clearance in February 2021, however, payments were delayed due to an appeal.

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