EPIC and a coalition of consumer and privacy organizations have filed an objection to the "cy pres" allocation proposed by the attorneys in the Google Buzz matter. "Cy pres" ("as near as possible") is a legal doctrine that allows courts to allocate funds to protect the interests of individuals when there is a class action settlement. In these cases, courts are often concerned about collusion between attorneys that produces quick settlements and does not protect the interests of the class members. EPIC, which filed the successful complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that led to the Google Buzz agreement, and the other groups say that the proposed settlement does not satisfy the "cy pres" requirement. They note that several of the organizations proposed by Google are currently funded by Google. Other parties in the case have also objected to the proposed settlement. The Court has already stated that "the final approval list of cy pres organizations may draw, but need not be drawn, entirely from the submission of nominations by Class Counsel." The Court also said, "The Court reserves the right to designate cy pres recipients who would reasonably benefit the Class through established Internet privacy education and policy programs on its own motion." For more information, see In re Google Buzz.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler