A federal judge approved a $ 650 million settlement of a privacy lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly using photo tags and other biometric data without the permission of its users.
US District Judge James Donato approved the settlement in a class action lawsuit that was filed in Illinois in 2015. Nearly 1.6 million Facebook users in Illinois who filed claims will be affected.
Donato called it one of the largest settlements in history for a privacy violation.
“It will put at least $ 345 in the hands of all interested class members,” he wrote, calling it “a huge victory for consumers in the highly contested area of digital privacy.”
Jay Edelson, a Chicago attorney who filed the lawsuit, told the Chicago Tribune that the checks could be in the mail within two months unless the ruling is appealed.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to overcome this matter, which is in the best interest of our community and our stakeholders,” Facebook, which is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, said in a statement.
The lawsuit accused the social media giant of violating an Illinois privacy law by failing to obtain consent before using facial recognition technology to scan user-uploaded photos to digitally create and store faces.
The state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act allowed consumers to sue companies that didn’t get permission before collecting data like faces and fingerprints.
The case eventually ended as a class action lawsuit in California.
Since then, Facebook has changed its photo tagging system.