Google has settled with a class action suit against it’s Buzz social networking program that is integrated into Gmail. If you opted into Buzz, your privacy was at risk. The suit said that Google violated their user’s privacy by automatically adding Buzz to Gmail without asking for a user if they wanted it or not. Google has settled the suit by putting $8.5 million into a fund to help raise awareness of privacy issues. That’s a pretty lame settlement. Below is the email I got on the subject.
|From: Google Buzz <email@example.com>
Date: November 2, 2010 2:30:00 PM CDT
To: gmail user
Subject: Important Information about Google Buzz Class Action Settlement
Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.
Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.
The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.
Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.
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