Google's $23M Data Leak Settlement Gains Final Approval

A federal judge on Thursday said he will approve Google's $23 million settlement of a 13-year-old class-action lawsuit alleging that the company's search engine leaked consumers' personal information by transmitting their search queries to publishers.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, wrote in a docket entry that the deal was "fair, accurate and reasonable.”

The settlement resolves a battle dating to 2010, when search users sued Google for allegedly disclosing their queries to outside publishers. The users alleged that those queries sometimes included names and other identifying information. (Google no longer transmits search queries when people click on links in the search results.)

The settlement agreement, announced in January, allows an estimated 200 million U.S. web users who conducted Google searches between October 25, 2006 and September 30, 2013 to put in a claim for a portion of the settlement fund. 

As of August, more than 2.5 million people made claims. They are expected to receive around $7 each, according to court papers.



Google had argued earlier in the proceedings that the complaint should be dismissed on the grounds that the allegations, even if proven true, wouldn't show that the plaintiffs had been injured by the data leakage.

Davila ruled in 2020 that the users could proceed with several claims, including that Google violated the federal wiretap law and that it broke its privacy promises.

Google has denied any wrongdoing. 

Lawyers for Google and the users reached a tentative settlement in 2021, but continued to negotiate over the details through most of last year, according to court records.

Next story loading loading..