Snapchat has reportedly paid a $35 million settlement to close a legal case which centres on its use of filters and lenses.

The instant social messaging app is known for allowing users to change their appearance with photo or video filters. The scanning of a person’s face however has come under scrutiny for violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which states that private companies must declare this activity and how long personal data is captured for.

The law around safeguarding biometric data in Illinois allows individuals control over their personal information and places requirements on private entities to be transparent about the specific purpose and length of time for which a person’s data is being collected and stored.

Biometric information includes scans of facial features such as the retina or iris, fingerprints, hands or voice.

A representative for Snapchat said in a statement, “Snapchat lenses do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person, or engage in facial identification” and the images are held on the user’s mobile device rather than being sent to a server.

“While we are confident that Lenses do not violate BIPA, out of an abundance of caution and as a testament to our commitment to user privacy, earlier this year we rolled out an in-app consent notice for Snapchatters in Illinois,” Boogaard says.

The settlement amount will be eligible to llinois residents who used filters and lenses on the app from 17 November 2015 and the present time. While the settlement is still being confirmed, those it applies to can submit a claim before 5 November 2022.

In a similar case, Google was forced to pay $100 million to mitigate further legal actions after the company was also accused of failing to abide by the Biometric Information Privacy Act over its face regrouping tool which collects similar faces together from photographs.

The issue of social media apps misusing their user’s personal information has also affected Tiktok’s trust credentials with the FCC commissioner branding the app a surveillance tool to collect and store sensitive data from US citizens.