Snap Reaches $35M Settlement in Privacy Lawsuit Over Lenses


Snap has agreed on a settlement of $35 million in an Illinois class action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition.

The state alleged that Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, had fallen foul of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting and storing biometric data of users who used it lenses and filters — without their consent.

As reported by Engadget, residents of Illinois who used Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) features may now be eligible for a slice of the $35 million.

Earlier this summer, PetaPixel reported that Google was alleged to have also violated BIPA and agreed to pay $100 million in a settlement.

The BIPA law requires companies to ask for consent before storing any biometric data on its users. It also allows for private citizens to sue companies that have broken the law.

Google and Snap are not the only tech firms to have settled with the state of Illinois. Facebook reached a massive $650 million settlement over its old photo-tagging system.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois residents who qualify could get a payout between $58 and $117. However, the settlement is still awaiting approval from a district court, which will happen in November.

Any Illinois residents who used the AR features after November 17, 2015, have until November 5 of this year to file a claim.

Snapchat’s parent company has not admitted any wrongdoing, despite agreeing to the settlement. In a statement to the Tribune, a company spokesperson said that Snapchat issued an in-app consent notice to Illinois residents earlier this year out of caution.

“Lenses do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person, or engage in facial identification,” Snap says.

“For example, Lenses can be used to identify an eye or a nose as being part of a face, but cannot identify an eye or a nose as belonging to any specific person.”

It denies that biometric data collected through its app can be used to identify specific people.

It is a further blow to Snapchat which a reportedly planning layoffs after struggling with declining business and delivering disappointing earnings results.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.