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Google forced to pay $400 settlement checks – see if you’re eligible to get one

Published Jun 9th, 2022 5:13PM EDT
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Image: New Africa/Adobe

Google and Facebook have existed in fierce competition with each other for years, but that doesn’t mean they’re not on equal footing from time to time. Case in point: Google settlement checks that are going out later this year offer one such example. Those payouts will give out as much as $400 to approved members of a big class-action case against the search giant.

If this sounds similar to another recent piece of news we reported — our piece from earlier this week, detailing $400 Facebook settlement checks — that’s because both developments stem from basically the same set of facts. Both Facebook and Google were sued for violating the state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Is there a class-action lawsuit against Google?

The lawsuit against Google, which you can check out in full right here, reads in part:

“Google is actively collecting, storing, and using — without providing notice, obtaining informed written consent or publishing data retention policies — the biometrics of millions of unwitting individuals whose faces appear in photographs uploaded to Google Photos in Illinois.”

Those actions would constitute a violation of the BIPA, introduced by Illinois lawmakers in 2008. Among other things, that law prohibits companies from collecting and storing biometric data of any kind — including hand and face scans. More specifically, that action is prohibited if the company doesn’t make the individual aware of what it’s doing and how long that data will be kept.

Google Logo Sign
Google’s logo on a large, backlit sign inside Google’s offices. Image source: Kyodo/Newscom/The Mega Agency

Bottom line, according to a notice about the class action? You could be eligible for one of the Google settlement checks if you appeared in a Google Photos photo anytime between May 1, 2015, and April 25, 2022. And also if you were an Illinois resident during that time.

Google settlement checks

The final amount of the individual Google Settlement payouts will reportedly vary a bit. The estimate is that they’ll range from $200 on the low end up to $400. The final total will depend on a few factors, including the number of valid claims that surface. As well as the total amount of the Court-approved payment expenses for this case.

Importantly, if you think you meet the prerequisites for members of the class you’ll need to take proactive action. Moreover, you need to do so by a specific date. Go to www.GoogleBIPASettlement.com, which is where you can find claim forms to fill out. Those forms need to be either submitted online or postmarked via the mail by September 24, 2022.

That also means, as you might be able to surmise, that the court hearing this case hasn’t held a final approval hearing yet. That hearing is taking place on September 28, 2022. On the docket that day will be approval of the settlement, as well as the approval of attorneys’ fees. Those, by the way, could total up to 40 percent of the $100 million settlement fund.

This class action against Google, by the way, is distinct from the Facebook settlement. Those checks we mentioned from Facebook, which stood accused of the same law violations in Illinois as Google, have actually already started going out to recipients.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.