Fordham Law

CLIP Awarded Over $300K from Class Action Settlement Fund

September 26, 2011

The Center on Law and Information Policy will receive $322,795 from a fund established to support internet privacy research and education as part of multimillion-dollar settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving online privacy.

U.S. District Court Judge George Wu in the Central District of California approved the $2.5 million settlement against Internet advertising companies Quantcast and Clearspring. The litigation against the companies stemmed from a 2009 report that popular websites utilizing the companies' advertising services stored "Flash cookies" on users' computers to collect information and, in some cases, to recreate information in less sophisticated cookies that had already been deleted by users.

CLIP was chosen as one of the award recipients based on its reputation as a prominent academic center working on Internet privacy issues. Professor Joel R. Reidenberg, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Founding Director of CLIP, said, "The practice changes and transparency included in the settlement agreement will improve privacy for Internet users." He also said that  "the settlement’s support of privacy research and education will advance positive developments for the protection of Internet users."

The award funding will enable CLIP to continue to expand its privacy programming, which includes the preparation of research reports, the organization of conferences, workshops, and policy roundtables, and the convening of faculty workshops to assist scholars from around the country in improving their works-in-progress.

CLIP's portion of the settlement represents $250,000 in cy pres relief plus a pro rata distribution. Other organizations receiving the same amount are Carnegie Mellon's CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., and the University of California–Berkeley. Smaller awards in the amounts of up to $100,000 and $50,000 were also announced.