Attorneys general from nine states urged a federal judge to toss out Google’s US$13 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit blaming its Street View mapping technology for a massive violation of consumer privacy.
The proposed accord in a debacle that became known as “Wi-Spy” doesn’t offer any compensation to millions of people whose confidential data was captured off their Wi-Fi networks by Street View vehicles. Instead, the deal divvies up funds among a group of privacy rights organizations, a small number of individual consumers who led the case and their lawyers, the state officials said in a court filing.
The lawsuit, filed a decade ago, was once called the biggest U.S. wiretap case ever and threatened the internet giant with billions of dollars in damages. The settlement was reached in July and won preliminary approval in October from U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco.
“Without receiving any of the US$13 million cash fund or any meaningful injunctive relief, class members receive no direct benefit from the settlement,” the attorneys general said.
Arizona State Attorney General Mark Brnovich submitted the filing, joined by Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana and Louisiana. The states plan to urge Breyer to reject the deal at a Feb. 28 final approval hearing in San Francisco.
Google agreed in the settlement to delete all collected data and educate people on how to set up encrypted wireless networks. But the company had already made those promises in a 2013 agreement with 39 attorneys general, according to Brnovich’s filing.
Any “injunctive relief is illusory,” the attorneys general said.