(The Center Square) – That check from Facebook for violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act by cataloging faces without permission has not yet arrived in the mail. It might take a while. Nevertheless, the case seems to have different consequences.
Facebook users who were in Illinois after June 2011 were eligible to file a claim in a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant for violating the state’s BIPA law.
Illinoisans had a November 23, 2020 deadline to participate in the class action settlement. The website for the business notes that final approval was granted in April. However, two classmates appealed, preventing payments from being made.
“This appeal prevents payments from being made to classmates,” the website said. “The Class Counsel remains committed to using all legal means possible to expedite this time frame.”
Abe Scarr of Illinois Public Interest Research Group said such occupations can take time.
“That can take an average of one or two years,” Scarr said. “I know there have been attempts to speed up the appeal, but no success so far. Unfortunately, we will have to wait another year, if not two, to hopefully finally settle this.”
The payments are expected to be as high as $400 per person, but a fact sheet says an exact amount cannot be given. That depends on the number of claims that are filed and the costs of fees and other attorneys’ fees.
While the delay can be frustrating, Meta announced earlier this month, Facebook will no longer use facial recognition “as part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in our products.”
“This change will be one of the biggest shifts in facial recognition use in the history of the technology,” said a statement from Meta. “More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted for our facial recognition setting and can be recognized, and its removal will result in the deletion of the individual facial recognition templates of more than a billion people.”
Scarr said that’s a positive development, though he remains wary.
“Knowing Facebook and Meta, I wouldn’t count on them completely stopping using facial recognition technology,” Scarr said. “But there seems to be some progress in that area and recognition of some of the privacy violations associated with facial recognition technology is growing across the country.”
“Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool,” Meta said. “Facial recognition can be particularly valuable when the technology works privately on one’s own devices.”