Illinois residents could be owed money in a Snapchat lawsuit worth millions. Here’s how to find out – NBC Chicago

If you’re a Snapchat user in Illinois, you may be eligible to file a claim in a new multi-million dollar settlement in a class action against the parent company of the social media platform.

According to trial, the social network is accused of violating Illinois biometric information privacy law by illegally collecting biometric information about users, such as unique facial features – through the use of features such as “Lenses” and “Filters” – without their consent. It was filed in May in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

At the center of the allegations are Snapchat’s lens features, which allow users to “Snap” and then select a particular lens and alter their facial features with special effects, according to court documents. The lawsuit claims that Lenses involves the use of technology to create a face scan and “create, obtain and store” a user’s unique biometric identifiers.

The feature obtained the plaintiffs’ biometric information without obtaining informed written consent each time it scanned their faces, according to the suit.

Illinois Biometric Privacy Law prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in the state or online, regardless of where the company is based. Data cannot be sold, transferred or exchanged. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, which has sparked hundreds of David and Goliath legal battles against some of the world’s most powerful corporations.

If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can collect civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, compounded by the number of people affected and the days involved. No state regulatory agency is involved in enforcement.

More recently, more than a million Facebook users in Illinois have started receiving checks following a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging he violated residents’ rights by collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission.

Microsoft, Amazon and Google are among the companies that have also been accused of violations.

How much does the settlement cost?

As of Monday, a $35 million settlement had been reached in the case, although that amount still has to go through a final approval hearing, scheduled for November.

Snapchat Inc.’s settlement was reached after a court did not find in favor of the company or the plaintiffs, meaning the social media platform did not admit wrongdoing.

“Snap continues to vehemently deny that the Lenses are violating BEEPwhich was designed to require notification and consent before collecting biometric information used to identify individuals,” a Snap spokesperson told NBC 5 in a statement Monday.

“We value the privacy of our community, and Snapchat Lenses do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person or perform facial identification. For example, the Lenses can be used to identify a eye or nose as part of a face, but cannot identify an eye or nose as belonging to a specific person, and even the limited data used to power Lenses is never sent to Snap’s servers – the data never leaves the user’s mobile device.we are confident that Lenses do not violate BIPA, out of an abundance of caution and as a testament to our commitment to user privacy, earlier this year we rolled out a notice in-app consent form for Snapchatters in Illinois.”

Are you eligible to file a claim?

According to the settlement websiteany Illinois resident who used Snapchat lenses or filters between November 17, 2015 and can now submit a claim.

Since BIPA is an Illinois law, it only applies to residents of the state.

How to submit a complaint? When is the deadline?

The deadline for eligible residents to submit claims is currently November 5, according to a site dedicated to the rules.

Here is how to file one.

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