| March 16
March 16 A federal judge has rejected Google's
proposed class-action settlement with non-Gmail users who said
it illegally scanned their emails to Gmail users to create
In a decision on Wednesday night, U.S. District Judge Lucy
Koh in San Jose, California, said it was unclear that the
accord, which provided no money for plaintiffs but up to $2.2
million in fees and expenses for their lawyers, would ensure
Google's compliance with federal and state privacy laws.
Koh called the proposed disclosure notice inadequate. She
said this was because it did not clearly reveal any technical
changes that Google would make, or that Google scans non-Gmail
users' emails to create ads for Gmail users.
The judge also said the notice did not make clear that
Google could still extract data for the "dual purpose" of
creating targeted ads and detecting spam and malware, and then
use that data once emails went into storage after being
"In sum, based on the parties' current filings, the court
cannot conclude that the settlement is fundamentally fair,
adequate, and reasonable," Koh wrote.
Google, a unit of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet
Inc, declined to comment.
Koh distinguished the settlement from a similar accord with
Yahoo Inc that she said required more disclosures.
Michael Sobol, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann &
Bernstein representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately
respond on Thursday to requests for comment.
The named plaintiffs, Daniel Matera of New York and Susan
Rashkis of San Francisco, had accused Google of violating the
federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California
Invasion of Privacy Act through its scanning practices.
Koh ruled six days after Google won preliminary approval
from a different judge in her court of a separate $22.5 million
settlement with businesses over internet ad placements.
In that case, known as Google AdWords Litigation, businesses
accused Google of placing their ads in obscure places such as
error pages and undeveloped websites known as parked domains,
causing them to overpay for the placements.
The case is Matera v Google Inc, U.S. District Court,
Northern District of California, No. 15-04062.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan