On August 29, 2016, Google resolved yet another privacy suit – this one for $5.5 million with again nothing going to consumers. Instead, the money will go to privacy groups agreed upon by Google and class counsel. Specifically, the list of proposed recipients of this latest cy pres fund include:
- Berkeley Center for Law & Technology;
- Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University;
- Center for Democracy & Technology (Privacy and Data Project);
- Public Counsel;
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; and
- Center for Internet & Society at Stanford University (Consumer Privacy Project)
As previously discussed, the cy pres method of settling privacy class actions is sought after by tech companies given such a mechanism more easily helps fund non-profit partners – organizations that more often than not push for the very policies advocated by defendants. Given that class counsel look to resolve cases as soon as possible, the settling defendant obviously dictates the cy pres recipients. More than likely, this latest Google settlement will obtain the necessary court approval.
Hopefully, Courts in the future take a harder look at this settlement method given the lack of direct benefit to those most impacted.