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Google’s down $100M, BIPA plaintiffs see a fraction, lawyers will swim in the money

Google’s down $100M, BIPA plaintiffs see a fraction, lawyers will swim in the money

A biometric-privacy class action boasting a number of superlatives in Illinois is finally drawing to a close. A court administrator is inviting state residents who used Google’s Photo app over the last five years to apply for their share of a $100 million settlement.

Google, since subsumed by Alphabet, allegedly violated Illinois’ landmark Biometric Information Privacy Act by collecting its Illinois users’ facial biometric identifiers without getting consent and without providing notices required by BIPA.

According to the Cook County Record, which publishes court news in an area anchored by Chicago, the maximum payout is expected to be about $400 per successful plaintiff and $40 million for the law firm that prosecuted the case.

An estimated 1.4 million people, according to the Record, have until September 24 to submit their claim in the case formally known as Rivera, et al. v. Google LLC. Recipients must at least have lived in Illinois and had a picture of themselves on Photo sometime between May 2, 2015 and April 24, 2022.

The Cook County Circuit Court is expected to close the case for good September 28.

BIPA allows anyone successfully proving a company gathered their biometric identifiers without their consent to sue for damages of $1,000 to $5,000. The law makes illegal other actions that can occur after an image in harvest, including using or sharing it, again, without consent.

Had Alphabet not settled, it could have had to pay more than $100 million given those penalties.

The Google case was one of the first BIPA class actions. And it played out longer than most BIPA cases – almost six years — reports the Record.

The case also looks like it will force one of the biggest BIPA payouts (though significantly smaller than the $650 million BIPA class action settlement Facebook agreed to).

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