Google ‘Safari Hack’ Settlement Faces New Challenge

MediaPost reports on CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness founder Ted Frank’s appeal to the Google “Safari hack” class action settlement. 

Class-action activist Theodore Frank is appealing a decision that approved Google’s $5.5 million settlement of a class-action alleging that it violated Safari users’ privacy by circumventing their no-tracking settings.

The deal, approved last month, requires Google to donate more than $3 million to six schools and nonprofits — Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Center for Democracy & Technology, Public Counsel, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford University. Those groups must agree to use the money for projects related to online privacy.

The lawyers who brought the case will receive $1.925 million, but individual Web users won’t receive anything.

Frank, a well-known activist who founded the Washington-based Center for Class Action Fairness, unsuccessfully urged U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware to reject the deal. He argued that the agreement should have provided funds to individual Safari users, as opposed to the nonprofits — several of which already had relationships with Google.

Frank suggested that individual users could submit claims to the court, as happened when Facebook created a $20 million fund to allegations that it violated a California law with its “sponsored stories” program. Alternatively, Frank said, individuals could be compensated through a lottery process.

Robinson rejected those arguments, noting that the nonprofit fund recipients research and advocate for online privacy. She said in her ruling that donations to those groups are “an effective and beneficial remedy” in the case.

Frank this week filed the paperwork to appeal the decision to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Read the full article at MediaPost