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Google LLC has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle putative class action litigation filed in connection with its discontinued Google+ media platform, although class members may receive only $5 each and no more than $12.
In October and December 2018, Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., acknowledged that software bugs in its Google+ social media platform potentially exposed users profile information to unauthorized third parties, including users’ names, genders and email addresses, as well as additional information including users’ occupations and places lived, according to the plaintiffs’ motion in support of the settlement, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose in In Re Google Plus Profile Litigation.
There is no evidence the data was accessed, according to the motion.
The litigation was filed in October 2018. Google took the platform offline in April 2019.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, claimants will receive an initial cash payment of $5 each, which will increase up to $12 per claimant if sufficient funds remain, or decrease on a pro rata basis if there are insufficient funds.
Attorneys will receive up to $1,875,000 plus $200,000 for additional costs.
A hearing on preliminary agreement of the settlement agreement is set for Feb. 20 in the San Jose court.
An estimated 10 million users in the United States had account settings that could have been exposed by the second bug, while the number impacted by the first bug “cannot be conclusively determined,” according to the plaintiffs’ brief.
The plaintiffs’ brief states the settlement, which follows mediation, “provides quick relief for Settlement Class members, including payments for potentially disseminating their non-public information to unauthorized third-party application developers.
“Importantly, the Personal Information of all Class members was never disseminated or accessed by hackers or other malicious third parties, but instead was potentially exposed to third-party software developers known to google.”
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
In August, a federal appeals court struck down Google’s class action settlement meant to resolve claims it invaded the privacy of millions of computer users by installing “cookies” in their browsers, but paying those users nothing for their troubles.
(Reuters) — Alphabet Inc.’s Google will shut down the consumer version of its failed social network Google+ and tighten its data sharing policies after announcing on Monday that private profile data of at least 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of external developers.