Millions of Illinois Instagram users could soon find themselves eligible for their share of a $68.5 million class-action biometric privacy settlement, according to reports. Forbes. The state of Illinois is suing Instagram for allegedly violating its strict biometric privacy law, which makes it illegal for companies to use facial recognition technology without customers’ consent. The state accused Instagram parent Meta of using facial recognition technology on the platform, which was taken down in November 2021.
Instagram users who lived in Illinois between Aug. 10, 2015 and Aug. 16, 2023, have until the end of September to file an online claim to receive a cut of the settlement. Plaintiffs’ attorneys estimate that four million Illinois residents are eligible to participate.
The news comes amid growing awareness and concerns about the use of biometric information without proper consent. The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008 explicitly prohibits companies from collecting and storing biometric data such as fingerprints without prior authorization.
Instagram isn’t the only company breaking the law. Google and Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, also settled their respective biometric privacy cases for smaller sums ($100 million). $35 millionrespectively.
Illinois is often at the vanguard of technology regulation. Earlier this year, Mark L. Walker proposed the Digital Asset Regulation Act (DARA), which aims to regulate digital asset business activities in the state, covering the fields of cryptocurrency, blockchain, DeFi and NFT. The bill gives the state more powers to investigate unsanctioned digital asset transactions and arrest those who violate the guidelines.
The $68.5 million biometric privacy settlement involving Meta and Illinois Instagram users shows that Illinois is digging deeper into privacy and data protection issues. The payments and fintech industries should take note of this development and ensure users are informed accordingly when they acquire biometric information.