Residents in Illinois begin receiving checks after Snapchat court order – NBC Chicago


Illinois residents began receiving checks as part of a class-action settlement involving Snapchat.

Users of the social networking app who filed the lawsuit said they had received funds from the $35 million settlement as of Monday. Everything? $16.35.

The checks were supposed to be distributed by early February, according to a law firm representing the plaintiffs in the case.

According to the settlement’s website, the social network is accused of violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act by illegally collecting biometric information about users, such as unique facial features, through the use of features such as Lenses and Filters. agreement. . It was filed in May in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

At the center of the allegations are Snapchat’s lens features, which allow users to “Snap” and then select a specific lens and alter their facial features with special effects, according to court documents. The lawsuit alleges that Lenses includes the use of technology to create facial scanners and to “create, capture and store” a user’s unique biometric identifiers.

This feature captured plaintiffs’ biometric information without their written consent every time they scanned their faces.

The Illinois Biometric Privacy Act prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from suspected citizens in the state or online, regardless of where the company is located. Data may not be sold, transferred or bartered. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, sparking hundreds of David and Goliath legal battles against the world’s most powerful corporations.

If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can seek civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, depending on the number of people affected and the days involved. The state control body is not involved in coercion.

Last spring, more than one million Facebook users in Illinois began receiving checks after a $650 million settlement alleging it violated citizens’ rights by collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission.

Microsoft, Amazon and Google are also among the companies accused of violations.

By August, a $35 million settlement was reached in the case. This rule was finally approved in November.

Snapchat Inc. The settlement was reached after the court did not find in favor of the company or the plaintiffs, meaning the social media platform did not admit wrongdoing.

“Snap continues to vehemently deny that Lenses, which require notice and consent before collecting biometric information used to identify individuals, violates BIPA,” a Snap spokesperson told NBC in an Aug. 5 statement.

“We value the privacy of our communities and Snapchat Lenses do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person or identify a person’s face. For example, lenses can be used to identify an eye or nose as part of a person, but cannot identify an eye or nose as belonging to a particular person. Also, the limited data used to power the lenses is never sent to Snap’s company. servers – the data never leaves the user’s mobile device. We’re confident that the lenses don’t violate BIPA, and out of an abundance of caution and as evidence of our commitment to user privacy, we issued an in-app consent notice earlier this year. For Snapchatters in Illinois.”

Because BIPA is an Illinois state law, only state residents were eligible for payment.

But the deadline for eligible residents to submit their claims was November 5.

While many said they received their funds by direct deposit, those receiving the checks have 120 days to cash them.

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