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Facebook Settles for $550 Million Privacy Law Deal in Illinois

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Social media giant Facebook has agreed to settle a $550 million lawsuit brought on behalf of Illinois users who claim the social network's automated tagging feature powered by facial recognition technology violates their biometric privacy rights.

The lawsuit, one of over 400 filed against tech companies in the past five years, accused Facebook of breaking Illinois' biometric privacy law that allowed people to sue companies that failed to get consent before harvesting consumers' data.

Advocates supported the law as the nation's strongest form of protection in the commercial use of data. Resultantly, it has survived efforts by the tech industry to weaken it. Lawyers with experience in privacy law have anticipated that the Facebook settlement could shape debates over privacy protection in other states and within Congress.

Despite the large, multi billion-dollar industry that has formed revolving around selling consumer data, Illinois' law, the Biometric Information Privacy Act, predated even Facebook's iconic "like" feature.

Due to Illinois' law, many corporations have opted out of the state. However, supporters of the law argue it's not difficult to comply; companies simply need to tell consumers they plan to use biometric data and need their consent.

What do you think? Do you think that the Facebook settlement was a reasonable price for the regulation? Was it unwarranted? Thoughts?

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