Facebook has allegedly been accessing user's data in violation of Illinois law. Now they could end up paying for it.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a federal lawsuit filed in 2015 states that the site violated Illinois' strict biometrics law through its use of face scans (for instance, Facebook recognizing someone in a photo and automatically tagging them).

Basically, Facebook is in trouble because the Illinois law states that companies must explicitly ask permission from consumers before collecting biometric information.

"Facebook started rolling out its facial tagging feature for photos in 2010. The social media platform does have information on its website regarding the feature and points users toward their settings to disable it. However, the lawsuit alleges that the company did not obtain written consent from users or properly notify them about how the information would be used or how long it would be kept."

Though Facebook admits to potentially violating the law, their legal counsel is saying that the information collected did not harm anyone.

The lawsuit has been moved to federal court in San Francisco and has been granted class-action status by a judge as of this past Monday. The case will most likely go to trial in July if mediation does not occur before then. If the court sides with Facebook users, that could potentially mean IL Facebook members will each get a significant payout.

"The lawsuit asks the court to award damages of $5,000 for each reckless violation of Illinois’ biometrics law and $1,000 for each negligent violation. Damages could amount to billions of dollars."


H/T to TJ Deal in Rockford.