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TikTok biometric privacy settlement held up by objections $92 million not even close

Notifications and class differences also in dispute

tiktok app biometric data collection

The $92 million settlement by TikTok of a lawsuit alleging violations under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act and federal privacy laws will be reviewed, and like Facebook’s a year ago, could yet be sent back for a top-up, Law360 reports.

The proposed settlement would conclude more than 20 proposed class actions alleging violations of BIPA’s informed consent rules, many of them involving minors. The app allegedly uses facial recognition technology to collect and store users’ biometric data without the required written permission.

Illinois federal Judge John Z. Lee declined to grant preliminary approval to the multidistrict settlement, after objections were raised by a client of Edelson PC and another plaintiff. The objector’s filing called the settlement amount “embarrassingly low.” The judge has ordered a supplemental briefing to find out how the amount was arrived at, how differences between adult class-members and children were addressed, and why the terms specify that notification of the app’s users cannot be performed through the app itself.

Plaintiff’s attorneys argued that the Facebook BIPA lawsuit had an unusually high claims rate of 22 percent, and that an estimated 1 to 2 percent of national users, and more in Illinois, are likely to seek recovery. The agreement was reached through months of negotiations and two mediation sessions, and is broadly supported by the plaintiffs, according to co-lead counsel. Another attorney told the court that notifications to minors through the app would face legal barriers, and the settlement amount would have to change to compensate TikTok.

In the Facebook case, notification was provided through the social media platform.

An Edelson partner said a similar percentage of claims in this case would amount to around $20 for Illinois residents, and $3 for other plaintiffs.

The proposed settlement also includes restrictions on TikTok’s collection, transmission and storage of biometrics and other data, and mandatory compliance training.

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