Yahoo settles e-mail privacy class-action for $4M
Feb 11, 2016 09:13 AM EST
Former Madison County chief judge Ann Callis and two colleagues have settled a class action alleging invasion of privacy by electronic mail provider Yahoo. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Yahoo will pay up to $4 million in attorneys' fees and costs.
According to Bloomberg BNA, Yahoo! Inc. has already agreed to change how it handles e-mail traffic to settle class allegations, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It alleged that Yahoo mined e-mails to target advertising (In re Yahoo Mail Litig., N.D. Cal., No. 5:13-cv-04980, motion for preliminary settlement approval filed, 1/7/16).
Madison Record claimed that former Madison County chief judge Ann Callis and two colleagues have settled Yahoo's alleged invasion of privacy. U.S. District Judge Staci Yandle announced the settlement on February 3, and gave the parties 60 days to accomplish it.
Plaintiff Carol Sparks, a lawyer in St. Jacob, accused that Yahoo violated state law by interrupting messages between its users and users of other providers. The case started as an offshoot of a federal class action in California, and settlement in Illinois followed settlement of the California action.
The class action lawsuit, which tied together six lawsuits filed in 2013, was approved by a US District judge in May 2015. In the settlement in PDF form, posted by Ars Technica, Yahoo agreed that e-mail content will be "only sent to servers for analysis for advertising purposes after a Yahoo Mail user can access the email in his or her inbox."
And as far as the plaintiffs know, this will bring Yahoo in line with the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA). In fact, the law was enacted to prohibit wiretapping of any conversation if there's a reasonable expectation that it's not being overheard or recorded.
Yahoo has already agreed in the California settlement to change the processing of all incoming and outgoing email. And under the terms of the settlement agreement, Yahoo agreed to pay up to $4 million in attorneys' fees and costs, as well as a $5,000 service award for every class representative.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment about the settlement. But then, Yahoo spokesman claimed that Yahoo is pleased to have resolved such matter.