Facebook Inc raised its settlement offer by $100 million to $650 million related to a lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent, the company said on Friday.
The social media giant reached a $550 million settlement in January regarding the same lawsuit, which started in 2015, when Illinois users accused the company of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act(BIPA) in collecting biometric data.
The suit was filed on behalf of Illinois residents in 2015 and alleged that the social media giant collected facial recognition data from user images without disclosing it to users. At the time, Snapchat, Google, and Shutterfly faced similar suits.
In a set of new lawsuits,two Illinois residents argue that three tech giants violated state laws prohibiting the use of personal biometric data without permission. Illinois residents Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk allege that images of their faces appeared in IBM’s “Diversity in Faces” database without their consent and were used to train facial recognition systems at Amazon, Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet.
While all three companies are based on the West Coast, the suit accuses the tech giants of running afoul of an Illinois law known as the BIPA. The suit names Vance and Janecyk as plaintiffs but also seeks class action status on behalf of “all other similarly situated individuals” in Illinois. In the lawsuit, the pair of plaintiffs seek $5,000 per violation of the law, an injunction barring the companies from using Illinois residents’ “biometric identifiers” and the destruction of any relevant facial data that’s been stored.
In 2019, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court swatted away Facebook’s claim that facial recognition data did not count as biometric data, stating that “development of face template using facial-recognition technology without consent (as alleged here) invades an individual’s private affairs and concrete interests.”