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Snapchat Lawsuit—Lenses Feature Violates Biometric Data Laws

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September 8, 2021

An Illinois resident has sued Snapchat, claiming this social media app violates the state’s biometric laws. A fan-favorite hallmark of the app is its filtering abilities, known as the “Lenses feature”, that allow users to add a variety of overlay features to their faces.  

However, the puppy dog ears, eyelash extensions, glittery hearts, etc. can’t filter without screening the user’s face, thus taking a biometric reading of the individual. The Illinois man alleges that Snapchat doesn’t ask for biometric consent, thus, they are breaching state privacy and security rights.  

Milberg is investigating Snapchat’s Lenses feature as it pertains to the biometric laws of the state of Illinois. If you are an Illinois resident who engages with Snapchat, you may qualify for legal compensation. See if you qualify instantly  

Who is Snapchat?  

Founded in 2011, Snapchat was created by two Stanford students, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who confessed that this “disappearing” instant message app was designed for college kids who wanted a secure way to “sext”. Snapchat users can send text and photos to other users, with all message information automatically disappearing after the content is opened.  

Daily Mail confirms, “this epidemic of sexting — be it via Snapchat or other media — affects all social classes, not just the privileged pupils of Eton. Last year, a Childline survey revealed that 60 percent of children aged 13 to 18 have been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves.”  

Regardless of user purposes, by 2015, Snapchat had exploded in popularity, and with continued growth, the app advanced its capabilities. The Lense feature was introduced at the end of 2018, allowing creative filters for users’ photos. But, in order for the filters to work, the app must first read the user’s face.  

If you reside in Illinois and engage with the app’s filer, see if you qualify for compensation.  

What Are Snapchat User Concerns? 

Snapchat users send and receive 400-million photos/videos per day, with the average age of users bouncing between ages 13-18. Many parents are worried after confirmed studies showcase that pedophiles and sex offenders channel this app to target children. Thousands of inappropriate, self-taken photos of underage Snapchat users have made it to the worldwide web, stored on various pedophile websites and forums.  

In addition to these grave concerns, a simple business problem arises: if Snapchat presents themselves as an app that guarantees that photo/video content instantly, permanently disappears, how are these images saved and shared? Furthermore, what role does facial recognition data play regarding public access to this clearly stored data?   

If you’re an Illinois parent with a child/teenager who engages with this app, answer these questions to see if you qualify

What is facial recognition?  

Facial recognition is a 2-D technology that takes detailed geometric readings of a person’s face. Details include the length of a person’s nose, the width between their eyes, etc. These facial features are then stored in an online database, creating a mathematical formula associated with an individual’s identity.  

Most people, whether they know it or not, use the basics of facial recognition. Smartphone users can unlock their phones by simply allowing the screen to scan their face as its own form of a passcode. Security cameras identify faces that are ran through databases to confirm a person’s identity.  

As for Snapchat, their Lenses feature takes detailed notes of a person’s face to accurately apply a specific filter chosen by the user. For example, the popular eyelash extension feature can only work when the app clearly knows the exact location of a user’s eyes.  

If you’re an Illinois resident who has used Snapchat’s Lenses feature, see if you immediately qualify for compensation.  

What are biometric laws?  

Illinois holds the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which protects state residents from facial recognition technology without their consent. Since a mathematical formula from recognition readings is tied to an individual’s identity and permanently stored in an online database, these states consider a lack of consent as a breach of security and privacy.  

Congress has yet to pass a federal law regulating facial recognition, but Illinois’ BIPA legislation was created based on the early technological reality that “Biometrics are unlike other unique identifiers that are used to access finances or other sensitive information… Biometrics, however, are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions.”  

Biometric laws understand that there is a guaranteed risk with unlimited consequences that only the future will divulge.  

If you’re an Illinois resident, you are protected under BIPA. If you or a loved one have engaged with Snapchat, see if you qualify for compensation.  

What are the risks?  

The Illinois resident claims that Snapchat does not offer any opportunities for users to provide consent regarding facial recognition technology. Therefore, they are violating BIPA and storing users’ identities in an online database for others to see.  

With this mathematical formula of information readily available, users are susceptible to identity theft and financial fraud. In addition, other aspects of biometric data, such as DNA, can also be stolen and manipulated for medical fraud.  

If you’re an Illinois resident who uses Snapchat, you face these risks. See if you instantly qualify for immediate compensation. 

How can Milberg provide assistance?  

As we continue to research and study BIPA and the state residents who continue to raise concerns regarding personal security, it’s becoming more evident that biometrical facial recognition poses a serious threat without legal consent. As part of the Snapchat lawsuit, we are seeking Snapchat users in the state of Illinois who have concerns regarding the app’s Lenses feature.  

Our Data Breach, Cyber Security, and Biometric Data lawsuit attorneys are vetted professionals in holding popular, big tech corporations responsible for not only their products, but the technology methods required for use. We have decades of experience with billions of dollars recovered for our clients. 

If you or a loved one in the state of Illinois has privacy concerns regarding Snapchat’s Lenses feature, you may have the right to take legal action. A free Snapchat lawsuit review from Milberg is the first step in the process. Contact us today to talk with a lawyer. 

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