7 million Illinoisans could qualify for a check from Facebook if a judge rules the company broke a state privacy law.
Three Chicago Facebook users are suing the company for breaching Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Jay Edelson, said Facebook has been illegally storing user's’ facial biometric information without notification.
“Facebook was systematically collecting face prints through their facial recognition software and creating the largest database in the world and weren’t telling their customers,” Edelson said.
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Edelson said the social media giant is leaving itself open to hackers looking to steal the data.
“Facebook is making itself into a huge target for identity thieves,” he said. “They have a special responsibility to make sure they’re following the law and getting consent before something really bad happens.”
He said participants in the suit could get thousands of dollars in damages.
“It’s a very strong consumer protection statute that allows people whose rights were violated to get $1,000 in automatic damages – and it can go up to $5,000,” Edelson said.
The plaintiffs will know whether the suit qualifies for class action status in the coming months.
Officials from Facebook did not respond to emails or chat requests for comment.