ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois residents who were approved to receive payments in the $100 million class-action lawsuit against tech giant Google will receive up to $150 each when checks start getting cut.
Payments are expected by the end of the year.
The suit accuses Google of using a face regrouping tool in the Google Photos app to sort photographs without user consent, violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
“Google failed to obtain consent from anyone when it introduced its facial recognition technology,” the lawsuit states. “Not only do the actions of Google fly in the face of FTC guidelines, they also violate the privacy rights of individuals appearing in photos uploaded to Google Photos in Illinois.”
A federal judge approved a settlement in the case last month.
Class-action members who appeared in a photo in the Google Photos app between May 1, 2015, and April 25, 2022, were eligible for payment.
“The Google Photos app, which comes pre-installed on all Google Droid devices, is set by default to automatically upload all photos taken by the Droid device user to the cloud-based Google Photos service,” the complaint continues. “Users can also connect other devices to Google Photos to upload and access photos on the cloud-based service.”
The lawsuit claims that unbeknownst to the average consumer, Google’s proprietary facial recognition technology scans all photos uploaded to the cloud-based Google Photos for faces, extracts geometric data relating to the unique points and contours— biometric identifiers—of each face, and then uses that data to create and store a template of each face, all without ever informing anyone.