A privacy advocates have asked a U.S. court to decline a proposed $8.5 million settlement with Google in a class action lawsuit over search privacy. Their primary point of contention: it does not require Google to change its business practices.
The lawsuit, filed in October 2010, stated that Google allegedly transmitted user search queries to third parties without users' knowledge or consent in order to increase ad revenue. The plaintiffs contended that when a user clicks a link from Google's search results page, the owner of the website would receive from Google the user's search terms, which could contain the user's real name, contact information, credit card numbers, and Social Security number. Those queries could also include highly personal and sensitive information such as confidential medical information, according to the complaint.
The $8.5 million settlement would not provide a monetary award to the individuals who were part of the class that filed suit, but would be used to pay settlement-related expenses, with the remainder going to organizations that would promote public awareness, research, development, and other initiatives related to protecting privacy on the Internet. At the time of filing, the proposed recipients included World Privacy Forum; Carnegie-Mellon; Chicago-Kent College of Law Center for Information, Society, and Policy; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University...