A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California approved a $650 million settlement in a biometric privacy class action lawsuit against Facebook. The settlement is one of the largest ever for a privacy lawsuit and represents a major victory for data privacy advocates.
The lawsuit originated in 2015 and was filed by a Chicago attorney who alleged that Facebook’s facial recognition features violated Illinois law. The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) allows consumers to sue companies that collect and store biometric data without asking for permission. In 2018, the lawsuit became a class action. It used innovative methods to reach out to class members by utilizing Facebook, resulting in a claims rate significantly higher than normal.