As the kids say it was an “Epic Fail.”
Privacy advocates at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) were trying to stop a settlement (free reg. req.) in a Facebook privacy case. No dice. Judge Richard Seeborg approved the controversial deal today (.pdf).
Back in September, Facebook settled the class action over its privacy-invading advertising program, Beacon. Beacon included futures like a site-wide announcement of videos you had recently rented, among other things.
After privacy plaintiff lawyer Scott Kamber filed the class action, the sides agreed to a settlement in which Facebook would fund a new organization to study online privacy. EPIC argued, not without reason, that there were already non-profits out there advocating for privacy on the Internet that could use the money. EPIC also said that organization would serve as little more than a PR arm for Facebook.
Seeborg disagreed, and wrote:
“The parties have demonstrated that the structure of the Privacy Foundation, and the individuals who will be involved with it, are sufficient to ensure that the settlement funds will be disbursed in a manner that furthers the interests of the Class, and the public at large, consistent with the interests pursued by plaintiffs in this litigation.”