[LINK] ITWire: 'Google settles Buzz class action'
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Nov 3 14:48:59 EST 2010
- $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support
organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web
- plus ensuring that Buzz users can join this on-line community
without compromising their privacy]
Google settles Buzz class action
By David Heath
Wednesday, 03 November 2010 12:36
In an email to all US-based registered users of Google Buzz, Google
has announced details of the settlement reached with a group of Buzz
users concerned about privacy flaws in the product.
Earlier this year, Google launched Buzz and almost immediately
reports emerged of a major privacy flaw in the product (for instance,
see the first comment in the link above) where the people a user
followed and those that followed the user was publicly visible.
A number of early Buzz adopters sued Google over this major problem
(which was repaired very quickly after Google was made aware) on the
basis that the system should never have been released in such a
On-line services have has a very chequered career when it comes to
managing subscribers' privacy. For instance, Facebook endured the
recent "Quit Facebook Day" and also has long-pasting bad press over
it's constantly-changing privacy landscape.
"We are satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward,"
said a Google spokesperson via the official class-action website
http://www.BuzzClassAction.com . "We have always been committed to
offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products,
and will continue to work together with users to provide the best
Gary E. Mason, counsel for the Plaintiffs in the litigation, said,
"We feel this Settlement provides many benefits to Class Members,
including providing a significant amount of money to non-profit
groups committed to educating users about Internet privacy and
ensuring that Buzz users can join this on-line community without
compromising their privacy."
Today, Google has sent an email to all registered US-based Buzz users
detailing the settlement reached. The contents are as follows:
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
This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United
States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California.
iTWire recommends that all parties to the action visit the official
class action website and take the action most appropriate to their
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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