Google has agreed to pay certain people $100 million to end a class action lawsuit over one of its facial recognition features in the Google Photos app. The complaint alleges that Google’s face grouping tool, which automatically identifies your face in photos and videos in the Photos app, violates a law.
The law in question is the Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA), which applies to the state of Illinois in the United States. Google allegedly violated it by collecting and analyzing faces without proper notification, asking for “informed” consent, or sharing data retention rules with the public. Face Grouping is supposed to help you find photos of specific people by detecting faces and automatically organizing them into collections.
Google has therefore agreed to pay $100 million as a result of this class action and is required to provide users with a notice regarding the face grouping feature. Those who reside or have resided in the State of Illinois and were featured in a photo or video on Google Photos between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022 have until September 24, 2022 to submit a request on a dedicated site. According to the class action notice, they can receive between $200 and $400, depending on court expenses and the number of people who file a claim.
Google reacted to this case:
We are happy to resolve this issue related to specific Illinois laws, and we remain committed to implementing easy-to-use controls for our users. Google Photos can group similar faces together to help you organize photos of the same person to easily find old photos and memories. Of course, all of this is only visible to you, and you can easily disable this feature if you wish.