AOL Search Data Class Action Settlement
By Matt O’Donnell
UPDATE 11/20/13: Payments for the AOL Search Data Class Action Settlement have been mailed. Class Members are reporting to Top Class Actions that they began receiving their settlement checks on Nov. 18, 2013.
AOL Inc. has reached a $5 million class action lawsuit settlement over allegations it made certain users’ search query data available for download from the Internet in 2006. Class Members that submit a timely Claim Form stand to receive up to $100 cash from the class action settlement.
The AOL search data settlement will resolve a class action lawsuit, titled Landwehr v. AOL Inc., that was filed after AOL made files containing some users’ search queries available for download at research.aol.com in 2006. AOL said the search data was anonymous. According to the class action lawsuit, however, some users’ identities could be determined from the search data and AOL violated privacy and consumer protection laws by making the data available for download.
AOL denies any wrongdoing but has agreed to provide up to $5 million in cash payments to eligible Class Members who submit valid claims. The class action settlement also provides that AOL will reduce the possibility of a similar data release for the next three years and help Class Members who have been, or can, be identified by third-party websites that claim to host the search data by contacting them to ask for the removal of those Class Members’ data.
Class Members of the AOL search data settlement include anyone who lived in the United States or its territories at any time between March and May of 2006 and had their search query data available for download from research.aol.com in 2006.
There are three types of payment Class Members can claim from the class action lawsuit settlement:
Tier 1 Payment: You are eligible for a payment of up to $50 if you:
- Were an AOL member between March and May 2006, and
- Believe in good faith that your search data was made available for download from research.aol.com.
Tier 2 Payment: You are eligible for a payment of up to $100 if you:
- Were an AOL member between March and May 2006,
- Believe in good faith that your search data was made available for download from
- research.aol.com, and
- Either: 1) you have been identified from that data or 2) another person or company could be reasonably certain of your identity based on the data.
Arbitration Claim: If you are eligible for a Tier 2 Payment and feel you suffered losses greater than $100, you can give up your right to that Tier Payment and file an “Arbitration Claim.” If you choose to do so, a neutral party will assess your claim. There is no guarantee your Arbitration Claim will be successful or that you will receive more than $100.
Payments from the AOL class action settlement will be determined at a later date and will depend on the total amount of valid claims received. The only way to receive a payment is to submit a Claim Form by the deadline.
As of the publish date of this article, no claims filing deadline has been set, but you may need to file a claim as early as July 26, 2013. Keep checking Top Class Actions or sign up for our free weekly newsletter to receive updates on the AOL class action lawsuit settlement as they occur.
Claim Forms and more information on your rights in the AOL Search Data Class Action Lawsuit Settlement can be found at www.AOLSearchDataSettlement.com. Detailed claims filing instructions can be found in our Open Lawsuit Settlements section.
Updated May 29th, 2013
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