Google may get out of a big class-action privacy lawsuit virtually unscathed if its settlement proposal is approved. However, EPIC, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy Rights, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse contend that 1) it fails to require Google to make any substantive changes to its business practices; and 2) it provides no monetary relief to the class.
An October 2010 class action lawsuit against Google included allegations that “Google transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent in order to enhance advertising revenue and profitability.” Following three years of litigation, Google and the plaintiff users this June presented a settlement proposal to the federal court. However, Google is not proposing to change its privacy policies.
Interestingly, the class of plaintiffs is yet to be determined. The proposed settlement identifies the class as “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.” That must be a huge number.