Ethics center and law school receive hefty sum in federal case
THE SANTA CLARA
October 9, 2014
Two Santa Clara hubs for Internet ethics have been named as recipients of a portion of $9 million-settlement from a class-action lawsuit brought against Netflix.
Santa Clara’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the School of Law’s High Tech Law Institute were granted approximately $176,000 each in the settlement after applying to receive the funds. The class-action lawsuit alleged that Netflix had retained their users’ viewing histories and other personal information without their consent.
In the settlement, Netflix was ordered to pay a lump sum toward education on privacy protection rather than splitting the money among all of its subscribers, according to Miriam Schulman, associate director of the Markkula Center.
Joy Peacock, assistant director of the High Tech Law Institute, said the funds will be utilized for privacy programming.
“We will consider a variety of options, including privacy law related events, courses and scholarships,” said Peacock. “The funds will enhance the institute’s ability to provide excellent privacy law education to our students — the future lawyers to many tech companies.”
Irina Raicu, director of the Internet ethics program at the Markkula Center, said the center will use their portion of the settlement money to continue to fund the program, which teaches about issues including “privacy-related dangers posed by current business practices related to online data collection.”
The Internet ethics program hosts events such as the IT, Ethics and Law lecture series, co-sponsored by the High Tech Law Institute, which teaches students about the dangers of privacy protection online.
“Many of our materials are specifically directed at undergraduate students, whom some researchers have deemed as ‘consumers who are most likely to engage in risky electronic behavior,’” said Raicu.
This will not the first time that Santa Clara has received settlement money from a class-action lawsuit. According to Schulman, the center received $500,000 from a Google settlement in 2011.
Schulman said the money funded several programs on privacy, including an online application for undergraduates, which teaches about privacy ethics.
According to Raicu, the money from the Netflix settlement should be distributed to the university within the next month or so.
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