U.S. appeals court voids Google ‘cookie’ privacy settlement that paid Safari, Explorer browser users nothing

Jonathan Stempel for Reuters:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down Google’s class-action settlement meant to resolve claims it invaded the privacy of millions of computer users by installing “cookies” in their browsers, but paying those users nothing for their troubles.

In a 3-0 decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said it could not tell whether the $5.5 million settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate, and said a lower court judge should revisit the case.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, had been accused of exploiting loopholes in Apple Inc’s Safari and Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer browsers to help advertisers bypass cookie blockers.

The settlement approved in February 2017 by U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware called for Google to stop using cookies for Safari browsers, and pay the $5.5 million mainly to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and six groups, including some with prior Google ties, to research and promote browser privacy…

Google agreed in 2012 and 2013 to pay $39.5 million to settle federal and state charges that it secretly tracked Safari users’ internet use. It did not admit wrongdoing.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2016, “Ooh. $5.5 million. That’ll teach ’em! Good luck to Google coming up with all that money. Boy, they’ll never try anything like that again, by golly!”

1 Comment

  1. So at last count the $5.5 million is approximately 1.3 hours (yes, hours) of pre-tax profit for Google/Alphabet.

    The real bottom line is that $5.5 million is barely more ant “couch change” for Google/Alphabet. That small a payout, in and of itself, will have absolutely no effect on future actions by Google/Alphabet.

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