As reported by Law360 (subscription), on Friday, July 22, 2019, the parties proposed a $13 million settlement in the federal multidistrict litigation accusing Google LLC of illegally gathering Wi-Fi network data with its Street View vehicles. As part of the settlement, Google agreed to fund online privacy organizations and educate the public about encrypted networks.
According to Law360, the proposed cy pres settlement would end the putative class action and give nearly $10 million to eight different organizations with a history of addressing online consumer privacy issues. The remaining funds would be dedicated to attorney fees, plaintiff service awards, and other related expenses.
Along with making monetary payments, Google has agreed to destroy all the data it collected and host webpages for 5 years that are dedicated to teaching the public about the importance of encrypting their networks along with instructions on how to do so. The settlement also requires that Google not gather any protected data from users with its Street View vehicles without proper notice and consent.
“In light of the risks of continuing litigation — which may not yield any recovery for plaintiffs and the proposed class members — the settlement agreement is deserving of preliminary approval because it provides the immediate benefits of substantial cy pres donations tailored to serve and promote the interests of class members, and injunctive relief,” counsel for the plaintiffs wrote in the settlement motion. “This [provides] an excellent recovery for the proposed class members and is, therefore, fair, adequate and reasonable.”
The proposed nonprofit recipients are the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, the Center for Digital Democracy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, the World Privacy Forum, Public Knowledge, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Consumer Reports Inc.