EPIC Urges Supreme Court to Protect Internet Users in Controversial Class Action Settlement

EPIC has filed an amicus brief in Frank v. Gaos, concerning a class action settlement that provided no benefit to Internet users and no change in the business practices of defendant Google. EPIC said the settlement was not "fair, reasonable, and adequate." The case involves Google's disclosure of Internet user search histories to third parties without user consent, a business practice that could violate federal and state privacy law. EPIC stated, "The proposed settlement is bad for consumers and does nothing to change Google's business practices." A federal appeals court narrowly approved that settlement, 2-1, with the dissenting judge warning that courts must be on the lookout "not only for explicit collusion, but also for more subtle signs that class counsel have allowed pursuit of their own self-interests." EPIC said that, "cy pres requires vigilant judicial oversight to guard against the risks of collusion and ensure that judges are not rubber-stamping settlements that pay attorneys while failing to benefit class members." EPIC and several consumer privacy organization objected to the original settlement on three separate occasions. EPIC routinely opposes class action settlements that fail to provided a benefit to Internet users.

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