Google’s $8.5 Million Proposed Settlement for Privacy Violations Opposed

27 August 2013 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Privacy groups oppose the current offer to settle a 2010 suit that “Google transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent in order to enhance advertising revenue and profitability.” According to the 2010 complaint Google included:

The search terms can contain users’ real names, street addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers and social security numbers, all of which increases the risk of identity theft, according to the original complaint. Those queries can also contain highly-personal and sensitive issues, such as confidential medical information, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality.

The class is actually quite large as Computerworld reported that Google’s proposed settlement of the 2010 class action:

...provides for a single settlement class, in this case all persons in the U.S. who submitted a search query to Google at any time from Oct. 25, 2006 until the date of the notice of the proposed class action settlement.

On August 22, 2013 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) sent US District Judge Edward Davila a joint letter opposing the settlement on behalf of: Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy Rights, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Epic complained in its letter about Google’s settlement proposal that:

(1) it fails to require Google to make any substantive changes to its business practices;
(2) it provides no monetary relief to the class;

Specifically Computerworld reported that part of the settlement:

...is meant to cover settlement administration expenses and part will be paid to the World Privacy Forum, Carnegie-Mellon, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and Stanford Center for Internet, and Society among others.

Given the fact that according to Pew Research more than +92% of adults use search engines every day this will be an interesting case to watch.
 

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Authors

Related Services