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US Appeals Court Voids Google Cookie Privacy Settlement That Paid Users Nothing (reuters.com)
165 points by infodocket 70 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

This article doesn't say what the six organizations were, which is the main contention of settlement (the fact that it was going to them, not what they are). But in case you were curious: AARP, World Privacy Forum, Carnegie Mellon University, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Harvard University and Stanford Law School.

Here is an article about when the Supreme Court kicked the case back to the Appellate court earlier this year, which goes a bit deeper into the legal issues behind it: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/seattle-area-att-employees-bri...

World Privacy Forum has been on Google's "payroll", and is probably the one most likely suggested to be controversial: https://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/trade_association_... And despite having a recent post about Facebook from this summer, the most recent search result on their website for "Google" is from 2014.

Giving to law schools has also been a popular choice of Google's, often completely inexplicably coinciding with papers from those law schools supporting Google's legal positions, though there doesn't seem to be any overlap between the list in the link above and the universities being handed money here.

I think who is getting the money should be as important to the case as the fact money was going to them. The legal doctrine they used to distribute the money like this is supposed to be used to benefit the class members indirectly (because giving each party a small amount of money directly would be silly). How does giving money to Stanford and Harvard help anyone?

AARP? The American Association of Retired People? They're a "privacy group"? Did I miss something?

They're an everything group. The single most influential vote in the world.

Cool so no actual privacy groups like EPIC. Glad they overturned it.

Just FYI - I don’t think that’s the link you meant to include. It looks like that’s the url for the main article from a different HN thread.

ACK! You're correct! Thanks for catching that. Here's the link I meant to use: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/supreme-court-sends-consum...

I included the WRONG link - please use this instead: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/supreme-court-sends-consum...

> 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.

That's a love-pat, figuratively coming out of petty cash.

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

Circumventing/exploiting security measures/vulnerabilities, to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, with intent to secretly violate the privacy of large numbers of people?

> He also called the awards to the privacy groups “particularly concerning.”

Wouldn't it be better here for a privacy group to drop a dime (to federal authorities), than to take the money?

I'm not sure what you mean by "drop a dime" in this context. It usually means calling the cops on someone, referencing a time long ago when making a call from a pay phone cost ten cents.


I think gp is referring to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which can lead to criminal charges. IANAL, but I don't think this would really apply probably because of Googles EULA.

Do you have to option of seeing the Eula before the tracking is done?

Since when EULA's are above laws?

> Wouldn't it be better here for a privacy group

The other thing about those privacy groups? "Including some with ties to Google".

Let's hope they do the same for Equifax, which, rounding to the nearest dollar, did the same thing. ($31 million to 143 million victims.)

That is not accurate.

$300 million of the settlement was designated to go to individuals who suffered specific harms (identity theft, etc) due to the breach.

And additional 31 million was designated to go to other people who's information was stolen but didn't suffer additional harms due to the theft.

It turned out to be around $125 per person for the latter group.

Tl;dr A group that litigated the case got all the settlement money, by design. Supreme Court is telling lower courts to curb stomp this practice.

Believe SCOTUS actually held off answering the question this year. [0]

[0] https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/03/opinion-analysis-justices...

This wasn't a decision by the Supreme Court, so nothing was "curb stomped" here

oh that was a separate settlement of the same type, regarding Google, which had reached the Supreme Court, my bad.

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