Facebook has agreed to pay a whopping $550 million to settle a lawsuit for unfair practices of facial recognition technology. The social media giant was accused of storing facial data for ‘Tag Suggestions’ without permission thereby violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
The settlement was announced when the tech giant reported financial results for the quarter. “We decided to pursue a settlement as it was in the best interest of our community and our shareholders to move past this matter,” said a Facebook spokesman.
According to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, companies are required to release publicly available written consent before collecting critical pieces of information including fingerprints, and facial data. The law provides grounds for users to sue companies for up to $5,000.
The case was taken to court by three companies namely Edelson PC, Labaton Sucharow LLP, and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. The first lawsuit was filed by Edelson PC back in 2015.
Here’s what Jay Edelson, the plaintiff lawyer had to say regarding the lawsuit: “Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation. We are proud of the strong team we had in place that had the resolve to fight this critically important case over the last five years. We hope and expect that other companies will follow Facebook’s lead and pay significant attention to the importance of our biometric information.”
The settlement is pending approval of the district court. It is worth noting that this is the largest cash settlement ever for a privacy-related lawsuit, which is good news for all the privacy enthusiasts out there.