You’re Likely Eligible for Part of a $23 Million Google Settlement

You’re Likely Eligible for Part of a $23 Million Google Settlement
A Google sign is seen at the company's office in San Francisco, Calif., on April 12, 2023. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)
Tom Ozimek

People who used Google search between 2006 and 2013 could be eligible for a portion of a $23 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against the Big Tech giant.

Google is accused of sharing users’ search queries with third-party websites and companies without their consent from Oct. 25, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2013, according to a notice of proposed settlement of the class action suit. (pdf).
While Google has not made any admissions of wrongdoing, it has agreed to enter into the settlement (pdf) to avoid burdensome and costly litigation, according to the Kroll Settlement Administration, which is involved in the proceedings.
The class action lawsuit is called In re Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation, Case No. 5:10-cv-4809-EJD, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The court has a final approval hearing scheduled for Oct. 12, 2023, at the San Jose Courthouse.

Google did not immediately return a request for comment on the settlement.

What Does The Settlement Provide?

Under the terms of the settlement, Google will pay a total of $23 million in payments to settlement class members and their representatives, as well as attorney’s fees and administration costs.
Also, Google will change its “FAQ” and “Key Terms” webpages to explain in detail the circumstances under which search queries are shared with third parties using referrer headers.

Who Is Eligible?

If you used Google search and clicked on a search link between Oct. 25, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2013, you are considered a settlement class member.
Additionally, the settlement class includes individuals who have the authority to bring forth any claims from the lawsuit on behalf of these Google search users, including representatives, heirs, administrators, and assigns.

How To Apply?

The only way to receive a payment from the settlement is to file a claim by July 31, 2023.
One way to file a claim is by registering to obtain a class member ID on the settlement site. Once you have received a notification with a class member ID, you can use that ID to submit the claim form online.
Another way to take part is by printing out a physical copy of the claim form (pdf) and mailing it to In re Google Referrer Header Privacy Settlement, c/o Kroll Settlement Administration, P.O. Box 225391, New York, NY 10150-5391.

When submitting the claim, you will need to confirm that you conducted a search on Google and clicked on a search result between Oct. 26, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2013.

People with questions about the settlement and benefits can contact the settlement administrator through the toll-free number 1-833-512-2306 or email [email protected].

How Much Can I Get?

Individuals who submit an approved claim stand to receive approximately $7.70, based on the available data from the involved parties.

The final payout amount will be determined by the number of valid claims submitted.

The distribution of settlement payments will take place after the court grants final approval for the settlement and resolves any potential appeals.

A final approval hearing for this case’s settlement is currently scheduled for Oct. 12, 2023. At that point, the court will consider whether to approve the settlement and will weigh any objections.

What If I Don’t Submit a Claim?

Failure to take any action will result in non-receipt of a payment from the class-action settlement.

Additionally, by not participating, you waive your right to file a lawsuit against Google regarding the legal matters addressed in this case.

However, you may keep your right to sue Google if you exclude yourself from the settlement by submitting a written exclusion request (pdf) to the settlement administrator, settlement class counsel, and defendants’ counsel by July 31, 2023. If you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will not receive any money.
You also have the right to object to the settlement in writing (pdf) and still get benefits.
More details about the settlement and related proceedings can be found on an FAQ page posted online.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
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