Eligible Illinois residents have just over a week to submit their claims in a multi-million dollar class action settlement involving Google.
The lawsuit, which mirrors one recently settled with Facebook that saw many residents receive checks worth nearly $400 this year, claimed the company violated the city’s biometric information privacy law. ‘Illinois by “collecting and storing biometric data from individuals who, while residing in Illinois, appeared in a photo on the photo sharing and storage service known as Google Photos. without proper notice or consent.
A settlement was reached in the matter earlier this year and now eligible residents can file their claims. Google did not respond to NBC 5’s request for comment, but admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement and denied all claims made in the lawsuit.
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So how much could qualifying residents receive and when? Here’s what to know if you plan to file a claim:
Who is eligible?
According to the settlement’s website, residents qualify “if, at any time between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022, you appeared in a photo in Google Photos while a resident of Illinois.”
When can I submit a claim and what is the deadline?
Eligible residents can apply now through September 24. All claims must be submitted by this date to be eligible for payment.
For those who wanted to object or opt out of the settlement, that deadline was August 10.
A final approval hearing is scheduled for September 28.
How can I submit my request?
Those seeking to submit a complaint may do so here.
How much money could I get?
Those who qualify will receive a portion of the $100 million settlement fund, after deducting legal fees, costs and expenses. But how much each person will receive remains unclear.
“No one knows in advance how much each valid claim payment will cost until the deadline for submitting claims passes and the Court awards the award of fees and expenses and service payments,” indicates the settlement website. “Each class member who submits a valid claim will receive an equal proportionate share of the Net Settlement Fund. »
The attorneys in the case estimate, based on their experience and similar cases, that each claim could be worth between $200 and $400.
When will I receive my payment?
If final approval is granted and any potential appeal process is completed, eligible participants could receive their payments within 90 days. The final approval hearing is set for September 28 at 10:30 a.m.
Lawyers warn, however, that even if the court approves the settlement, there may still be appeals in the case.
“It is always uncertain if and when appeals can be resolved, and resolving them may take time,” the website states.
What is the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act?
Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in the state or online, regardless of where the company is based. Data cannot be sold, transferred or traded. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, which has sparked hundreds of David and Goliath legal battles against some of the world’s most powerful corporations.
If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can collect civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, compounded by the number of people affected and the days involved. No state regulatory agency is involved in law enforcement.
Since BIPA is an Illinois law, it only applies to residents of the state.
What other companies are accused of violating Illinois law?
So far, no company associated with lawsuits surrounding the law has admitted wrongdoing, although many have agreed to settlements.
Most recently, an Illinois federal judge granted final approval for a $92 million class action settlement between social media network TikTok and users of the platform, with Illinois residents facing receive the greater part of the payment due to BIPA.
A class action lawsuit has also been filed against Snapchat’s parent company, accusing the social network of breaking the law. A $35 million settlement was recently announced in the case, although a final approval hearing has yet to take place.
Earlier this year, more than one million Facebook users in Illinois began receiving checks following a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging it violated residents’ rights in collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission.
Microsoft and Amazon are also among the companies accused of violations.