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Judge says TikTok can’t roll related biometric privacy cases into 2022 settlement

Judge says TikTok can’t roll related biometric privacy cases into 2022 settlement
 

A courtroom gambit by TikTok to stanch the flow of damages following a U.S. biometrics privacy lawsuit has been swatted by the Illinois judge who heard the case.

Reporting by legal trade publication Law360 indicates that the video social media company hopes that the 2022 $92 million settlement makes moot 13 related suits filed against TikTok. The company is accused of using an app browser that secretly recorded keystrokes and clicks on third-party sites.

(The settlement itself involved 20 class actions charging TikTok with using facial scans in violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.)

TikTok executives could have asked that the pending 13 suits be folded into the settlement, saving them money, time and bad publicity. The U.S. district judge in Illinois said she was not deciding on that point for the moment.

First, because the settlement only covers claims by subscribers who had used the app prior to September 21 and claims filed on or before October 2022. The two dates are when the deal got tentative approval and when the settlement was final, respectively.

That leaves stretches of time for plaintiffs to claim damages not related to the settlement.

The Law360 article says the judge could rule on the validity of the follow-on cases, but she won’t stop them from proceeding.

ByteDance, parent of TikTok, is a defendant in the remaining cases. It is charged with unjust enrichment, invasion of data and personal privacy and illegal wiretapping, according to Law360.

More than the multi-million-dollar 2022 payout, TikTok was forced to promise to not collect biometrics from subscribers. The judge restricted its use of non-personally identifiable data, too.

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