Earlier today, Facebook announced that it has registered a profit of $18 billion in 2019. During their quarterly earnings call (via Engadget), Facebook CFO David Wehner confirmed that the company has settled the ongoing lawsuit over the use of facial recognition technology.
Facebook was sued based on the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and the plaintiffs claimed that the company had used facial scan without the explicit permission from its users. Wehner confirmed that the company has finally decided to settle the lawsuit for $550 million.
We decided to pursue a settlement as it was in the best interest of our community and our shareholders to move past this matter.
– Facebook spokesperson
ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler said the case is a prime example of other states can do when it comes to privacy. He pointed out that “this case is a great example of how states can take the lead to protect their residents’ privacy rights despite Congress’ failure to do the same.”
Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation. We are proud of the strong team we had in place that had the resolve to fight this critically important case over the last five years. We hope and expect that other companies will follow Facebook’s lead and pay significant attention to the importance of our biometric information.
– Jay Edelson, lawyer (for the plaintiffs)
The settlement still needs to go in front of a judge to get the final approval.