Did you get money from Snapchat in Illinois? Here’s Why – NBC Chicago

Illinois residents have started receiving money in their accounts or checks in the mail claiming to be from Snapchat or a “Snapchat Privacy Agreement Manager.” But for those who dispute the payments, chances are they are real.

The money is being distributed in connection with a class action settlement involving Snapchat in Illinois.

Users of the social media app who filed a claim in connection with the lawsuit reported receiving funds from the $35 million settlement as of Monday.

The total? $16.35.

The checks were expected to be distributed sometime before early February, the law firm representing the plaintiffs in the case told NBC Chicago earlier this month.

According to the settlement website, the social network is accused of violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by illegally collecting biometric information from users, such as unique facial features, through the use of features such as “Lenses” and “Filters.” without your consent. . It was filed in May in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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

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

The Illinois Biometric Privacy Act prohibits private sector businesses and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in-state or online, no matter where the business is located. Data cannot be sold, transferred or traded. 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 business 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 days involved. No state regulatory agency is involved in the app.

Last spring, more than a million Facebook users in Illinois began receiving checks following a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging it 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.

As of August, a $35 million settlement had been reached in the case. That deal was finally approved in November.

Snapchat Inc.’s settlement was reached after a court found neither in favor of the company nor the plaintiffs, meaning the social media platform did not admit fault.

“Snap continues to vehemently deny that the glasses violate BIPA, which was designed to require notification and consent before collecting biometric information used to identify individuals,” a Snap spokesperson told NBC 5 in a statement in August.

“We deeply value the privacy of our community, and the Snapchat Lenses do not collect biometric data that could be used to identify a specific person or engage in facial identification. For example, the Lenses may be used to identify an eye or nose as if were part of a face, but it can’t identify an eye or nose as belonging to a specific person.In addition, even the limited data used to power the lenses is never sent to Snap’s servers: the data never leaves the device user’s mobile device. And while we are confident that Lenses does not violate BIPA, out of an abundance of caution and as a testament to our commitment to user privacy, earlier this year we released an in-app consent notice for Snapchatters in Illinois.”

Since BIPA is an Illinois law, only residents of the state were eligible to receive a payment.

But the deadline for eligible residents to file their claims was Nov. 5.

While many have reported receiving their funds through Zelle or other digital methods, check recipients will have 120 days to cash them.