(photo source: Edelson.com)
If Jay Edelson were not based in Chicago, would Facebook be coughing up $550 million in cash to its users in Illinois?
The class action suit Edelson originally brought against Facebook is about privacy. In a state where privacy reigns supreme, Illinois. It seems that privacy is all Edelson wants to talk about these days. Due to his skill in litigating cases on the hot topic, Silicon Valley is starting to call him “Tech’s Least Friended Attorney.”
About five years ago, he realized that what Facebook was doing with its ‘facial tagging features’ could be in violation of Illinois’ unusually strict Biometric Information Privacy Act. Turns out Edelson was right.
Edelson PC was the first firm to launch the suit. After that, two other firms joined and the case was transferred to the United States District Court in San Francisco, Facebook’s home turf.
It’s been in litigation for about five years as Facebook maintained that they never did anything wrong.
““We decided to pursue a settlement as it was in the best interest of our community and our shareholders to move past this matter,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement (source: NY Times).
The almost half a billion cash fund has been established. As noted on Edelson’s site: “The parties have reached a settlement in principle in the pending Facebook biometric class action (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation (15-cv-03747-JD) (N.D. Cal.)). “
It’s the biggest cash settlement ever when it comes to a privacy related lawsuit.
Edelson said in the press release, “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.”
His landmark victory even earned him props on Twitter from Legendary Litigator, Ted Frank, who is often very critical of class action suits.
We highly recommend tuning into Edelson’s new podcast “Non-Complaint.”