Aug 31, 2022 - News

TikTok settlement shows Illinois loves digital privacy

Illustration of a gavel with a facial recognition frame tracing its shape
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A federal judge recently approved a $92 million settlement for TikTok users over data privacy, with Illinois users expected to receive the biggest portion of the return.

  • Distribution details haven't been announced, but affected Illinois residents are expected to receive five more shares of the settlement than other U.S. residents will.

Why it matters: You can thank Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act, which imposes stricter privacy rules than federal law and is considered the toughest in the nation.

  • The push for BIPA was led by the Illinois ACLU in early 2008 — just months after the first iPhone was introduced.

Context: Passed in October 2008, it prohibits sites from collecting biometric data and sharing it with third-party companies without consent.

  • Biometric data includes facial recognition, fingerprints and voice prints.

The big picture: Four unnamed Illinois teenagers brought the TikTok suit in 2020, and the company agreed to settle earlier this year. But it's not the only one.

  • Facebook paid out $397 checks to Illinois users this year.
  • Snapchat recently reached a $35 million settlement with Illinois users.
  • And Google settled a lawsuit for an undisclosed amount, with details expected in September.
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