On Friday, a federal judge approved a $650 million settlement in a privacy lawsuit filed against Facebook for allegedly using photo face-tagging and other biometric data without its users’ permission.
In a class-action case filed in Illinois in 2015, U.S. District Judge James Donato approved the settlement. Almost 1.6 million Illinois Facebook users who submitted claims would be affected.
For a privacy breach, Donato called it one of the biggest settlements ever.
“It will put at least $345 into the hands of every class member interested in being compensated,” he wrote, calling it “a major win for consumers in the hotly contested area of digital privacy.”
Unless the ruling is challenged, the checks will be in the mail within two months, according to Jay Edelson, a Chicago attorney who filed the lawsuit told Chicago Tribune.
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement so we can move past this matter, which is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders,” Facebook, which is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, said in a statement.
The lawsuit claimed that Facebook violated an Illinois privacy law by failing to seek permission before scanning photos posted by users to create and store artificial faces using facial-recognition technology.
The Biometric Information Privacy Act of the state allowed customers to sue businesses that did not get permission before data such as faces and fingerprints were collected.
Since then Facebook has changed its photo-tagging system.