It’s highly unlikely for the privacy settlement of a lawsuit facing Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to receive the approval of judges owing to its nature. The settlement, which amounts to $8.5 million, fails because it involves donation to institutions associated with the attorneys who filed the suit.
During a fairness hearing on Friday in San Jose, California, a federal judge Edward Davila emphatically said that the settlement “doesn’t pass the smell test” and that he will likely throw it out.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and the relevant parties announced the settlement announced about a year ago.
Consumer Watchdog published on its website that they are opposed to the settlement. Other organizations that jointly oppose the settlement are the Electronic Privacy Information Center, The Center for Digital Democracy, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Patient Privacy Rights.
These consumer privacy groups have principally opposed the settlement arguing that it doesn’t offer any payment to the members of the class, but only to academic institutions attended by the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.
In the suit, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been accused of having shared personal information derived from user searches to marketers, data brokers, and other third parties. Yet, instead of the settlement taking the affected class members into consideration, Google has settled for the disbursement of millions of dollars for research projects to be undertaken by Harvard, Stanford University and Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Kassra Nassiri, who is a lead lawyer in the lawsuit, is a former student of Harvard Law School. Nassiri also earned his master’s degree at Stanford University. Michael Aschenbrener another lawyer in the case also has a degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Bloomberg.com has also reported that Theodore Frank, a lawyer at the Washington-based Center for Class Action Fairness, also told Davila that the payment is unfair as it sets aside $2 million in fees for the plaintiff’s lawyers, but nothing for the affected class members.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has however pointed out that the institutions selected are a clear demonstration that the settlement money isn’t being directed to dubious projects. Google has further argued that the presence of American Association of Retired Persons among the recipients is also an indication of diversity in the selected programs.
This article has been written by Victor Ochieng.