A federal appeals court has rejected a proposed class action settlement in a case involving Google’s tracking of internet users in violation of the users’ privacy settings. The court was particularly “troubled” by the prior relationships between Google, class counsel, and the organizations selected to receive funds in the settlement. The court found that “if challenged by an objector, a district court must review the selected cy pres recipients to determine whether they have a significant prior affiliation with any party, counsel, or the court.” EPIC had urged the court to reject the deal in an amicus brief. EPIC said the settlement was “fundamentally flawed” because “Google is allowed to continue its unlawful conduct and the class members receive no monetary relief.” EPIC also explained that the selection of organizations awarded in the settlement “raise significant conflicts of interest concerns.” EPIC has proposed an objective basis for courts to make determinations in consumer privacy cases that protect the interests of class members and avoid the risk of collusion between the parties in settlement.
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