Google Settles Vanity-Searcher's Class-Action Lawsuit For $8.5 Million
Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it leaked the names of search users via referrer headers, according to court papers filed on Friday in San Jose, Calif.
The settlement agreement calls for Google to donate $8.5 million to schools and nonprofit organizations, including Harvard Law's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law's Center for Internet and Society, the MacArthur Foundation, and AARP.
The litigation against Google on this issue dates to 2010, when Paloma Gaos filed suit against the company. Gaos alleged that she conducted searches for her own name, as well as her family members' names, and clicked on links on the Google search results. Therefore, she argued, Google disclosed her "sensitive personal information" to third parties by transmitting her queries in the referrer headers.