Snapchat users in Illinois who used filters or lenses may be eligible for a payout. Illinois reached a $35 million settlement with Snap this month, according to the Chicago Tribune, in a class action lawsuit over how user data was collected.
The suit alleges that Snapchat’s filters and lenses violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting and storing biometric data without users’ consent. Illinois has some of the most stringent laws when it comes to companies collecting residents’ biometric information, including fingerprints, iris and retina scans, and face scans. The state law requires companies to tell people in writing why their biometric data is being collected and how long it will be kept and prohibits the sale and transfer of the data.
Illinois residents who used lenses and filters between November 17th, 2015, and now may be eligible for a cut of the settlement, estimated to be between $58 and $117, according to the Chicago Tribune. The settlement still needs final approval, but users who think they may be eligible have until September 24th to submit a claim here.
Snap denies that it violated BIPA, and Snap spokesperson Pete Boogaard says Snapchat lenses “do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person, or engage in facial identification.” Boogaard adds that data used by lenses stays on a user’s mobile device and isn’t sent to Snap’s servers.
“While we are confident that Lenses do not violate BIPA, out of an abundance of caution and as a testament to our commitment to user privacy, earlier this year we rolled out an in-app consent notice for Snapchatters in Illinois,” Boogaard says.
This isn’t the first time Illinois residents have sued platforms for biometric data collection. A different case, in which TikTok is accused of breaking Illinois law, also progressed this week when a judge granted final approval of a $92 million settlement. In June, Google agreed to pay out $100 million over a face grouping feature in Google Photos, which allegedly violated BIPA. In 2021, Facebook agreed to pay $650 million to settle a similar BIPA class action lawsuit.
Separately, Meta reached a $37.5 million settlement this week, in which the tech giant is accused of violating California law and user privacy through location tracking. Facebook users allege the company used their IP addresses to target ads even after users disabled location services, according to Reuters. Meta declined to comment on the case.