Proposed Cy-Pres Only Settlement Provides No Benefit to Class Members
July 22, 2019
A proposed settlement with Google concerning the Street View program will provide no actual benefit to class members. With Street View, Google not only captured digital images of streets but also intercepted private wifi communications, including passwords. Beginning in 2007, EPIC and other consumer groups spent several years urging federal and state regulators to act. In 2013, 38 State Attorneys General settled claims against Google. In that settlement, Google agreed to end the collection of network data and launch a public service campaign to help users install secure wireless networks. Six years later, lawyers have just put before a federal judge a settlement that proposes that the company again end the program and launch a public service campaign. Chief Justice Robert has raised "fundamental concerns" about settlements that provide no benefits to class members and no change in business practices. In a cy press case earlier this year, Justice Thomas opposed the Gaos settlement, which also involved Google, explaining "because the class members here received no settlement fund, no meaningful injunctive relief, and no other benefit whatsoever in exchange for the settlement of their claims." EPIC seeks to promote class action fairness and has proposed objective criteria that courts should consider to protect the interests of Internet users in class action settlements.