Judge upholds $13 million Google settlement in Street View case

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld Google’s settlement in a class action case over allegations that it collected Wi-Fi data illegally with its Street View program.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the $13 million settlement was unfair because it only distributed money to privacy groups and did not pay the class members.

Judge Bridget Bade argued in the decision that it was not feasible to distribute money directly to the 60 million people whose data was allegedly inadvertently collected. 

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The initial suit was filed in 2010 by plaintiffs alleging that the vehicles Google deployed to take photos of streets around the world had collected sensitive info including emails, passwords and documents from Wi-Fi connections.

Google settled the case in San Francisco federal court in 2018, agreeing to the $13 million payment to nine privacy groups involved in litigation.

District Judge Charles Breyer approved the settlement last year after two class members and a collection of state attorneys general objected to giving the payments to the organizations.

One of the objectors, David Lowery, then appealed the case, resulting in Monday’s ruling.