Lawyers in a privacy class action against LinkedIn have urged the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California to give final approval to a $13 million settlement that was made public last year. The deadline for filing claims has now passed, with 550,000 LinkedIn users filing claims. Under the terms of the settlement, each user would receive approximately $16, with class counsel receiving more than $3 million in attorneys’ fees. The monetary conditions of the proposed settlement differ from other recent privacy settlements in which Internet-based companies funded nonprofits rather than compensating affected individuals directly.
Other terms of the proposed settlement require LinkedIn to expressly inform users that the “Add Connections” mechanism imports their personal address book and to allow “Add Connections” users to decide which contacts receive automated invitations to join their particular network as well as any follow-up emails.
The underlying lawsuit was filed in September 2013 by a group of LinkedIn users who claimed that the company violated federal wiretapping laws by intentionally “hacking” into their accounts and “misappropriated” their names and identities by sending unauthorized email invitations to the users’ “friends.” Ultimately, the court dismissed the hacking claim, but allowed the remaining claims to proceed.