Snapchat recently agreed to a $35 million settlement to resolve a class action suit alleging the popular video-sharing app has violated biometric privacy laws.

Snapchat allows users to impose lenses and filters over images and videos shared via the app. According to the lawsuit, the platform may violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, BIPA. The class consists of Illinois residents who used the lenses and filters features from November 17, 2015 to present.

BIPA, the only legislation in the United States rendering it unlawful for private companies to use facial recognition tech to identify and track individuals without consent and notice, stands as the most protective biometric privacy law in the nation. According to the suit, Snap Inc. possesses, collects, and discloses biometric data using the lenses and filters, making it non- compliant with BIPA’s staunch biometric oversight. Snap Inc. did not ask for users’ consent before collecting and storing the data.

Biometric data refers to physical characteristics like fingerprints, facial shape, and voice prints. This data can be used for facial recognition and tracking purposes, including through AI. Snapchat scans users’ faces when they use a filter or lens, leaving the company with details about users’ biometrics that the suit alleges were collected in secret.

Class members are eligible to receive a cash payment from the settlement fund. Learn more on the Boone, et al. v. Snap Inc settlement page.

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