A settlement has been reached with AOL Inc. (“AOL”) in a class action lawsuit concerning certain users’ search query data that were made available for download from the Internet in 2006. AOL continues to claim that the data was anonymous; but the lawsuit claims that some users’ identities could be determined from the search data and that AOL violated certain privacy and consumer protection laws.
AOL denies it did anything wrong, but has agreed to settle with the class action plaintiffs. The settlement provides payments for anyone who: (a) had an AOL account between March 1, 2006 and May 31, 2006, and (b) believes in good faith that their search data may have been made public.
To be eligible for a settlement payment from the AOL Search Data Settlement, you need to fill out and return a Claim Form. The claim deadline has not yet been set, but you may need to file a claim as early as July 26, 2013. You must submit your claim form to the claims administrator at: P.O. Box 65771, Sterling, VA 20165-8806 or email@example.com. You must provide complete and accurate information and submit your claim on time or you will not be eligible to receive a payment. If you file more than one claim, your claims will be rejected. AOL may review any claims submitted to determine if the information you provide is consistent with its records.
CLICK HERE, to download a 3-page .PDF copy of the Claim Form.
There are three types of payments:
- Tier 1 Payment: 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, you are eligible for a payment of up to $50.
- Tier 2 Payment: If you were an AOL member between March and May 2006 and believe that your search data was made available for download from research.aol.com, and either (a) you have been identified from that data, or (b) another person or company could be reasonably certain of your identity based on the data, you are eligible for a payment of up to $100.
- 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.