Privacy Lawsuit against Tech giant Snap, Snap agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that its lenses and filters violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act in Illinois.
Snapchat users in Illinois who used the app’s lenses and filters since November 17, 2015 may be eligible to receive a cut of the settlement. A Snap spokesperson insisted that the social media company denies that the lenses violate BIPA, noting that lenses don’t collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person.
Other recent BIPA violation class action privacy lawsuit settlements include $92 million against TikTok, $100 million against Google, and a massive $650 million settlement against Facebook.
Biometric Data, BIPA, and Privacy Laws
Google, Meta, and other large tech companies repeatedly say that they respect your privacy. That may be true, but they certainly don’t protect it.
Personal information is big business. Many companies are willing to pay a lot of money for biometric data (also called behaviometrics), like facial recognition, typing pattern, and mouse movement. Many countries, including the United States, also collect such information. In all, by 2025, biometric data for over four billion people will be available to public and private sector entities.
The 2008 Biometric Information Privacy Act is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive behaviometrics laws in the world. It forbids public or private entities from gathering such information unless the entity informs individuals in writing and these individuals consent in writing. Additionally, BIPA contains a private right of action.
Biometric Data Hacking
Illegal biometric data harvesting is widespread. However, arguably more serious issues involve data breaches and HIPAA violations.
Bank website and app security are almost impossible to breach, but for anyone with experience and patience, most other websites are relatively easy to penetrate. Making matters more difficult, many hackers aren’t after money. “Hackitivists” want to make a statement. Others want to penetrate online security just to prove to themselves that they can do it.
That’s especially true in the Work From Home (WFH) era. Many people work at coffee shops and other public places that don’t have secure WiFi connections.
Most data breaches have nothing to do with hackers. Careless use of a thumb drive or other portable data storage device is much more common. If someone leaves a thumb drive unattended , you don’t need experience and patience to tap into their data files.
The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was a sweeping law that didn’t just concern healthcare privacy protection. It also included protection for PII (personal identifying information), such as:
- Drivers’ license number,
- Home address,
- Telephone number,
- Date of birth,
- Credit card information, and
- Bank account information.
Many companies routinely collect and store such information, especially non-financial data. If these companies don’t carefully protect this information, they’re liable for substantial damages. The protection requirements usually include robust online security, as well as prohibitions or strict limitations on BYOD (bring your own device) practices and working over unsecured WiFi connections.
Class Action Claims and Privacy Lawsuit
Giant tech companies are almost impossible to confront individually and they keep dodging privacy lawsuit.
Class action claims allow hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people to pool their resources. Many of these individuals had no idea they were victims.
Courts usually allow class action claims if the class is so big that courts cannot efficiently handle individual claims. Each claim has common questions of fact and law, and the New York civil litigation attorney in charge of the matter will fairly represent everyone else in the class.
If a company steals your personal information, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced civil litigation attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. We routinely handle these matters nationwide.