Google settles Buzz privacy lawsuit

3 Nov 2010

After settling a class action lawsuit over Google Buzz’s privacy issues, Google will create a fund worth $8.5m to pay for lawyer expenses and provide funding for organisations on privacy education.

Google launched Buzz as a response to Facebook and Twitter, as a status updating service that would integrate into Gmail.

The controversy started earlier this year where Google automatically made its Gmail users members of Buzz without permission and also exposed their email contact data.

According to a statement from Google, the class action settlement against Buzz, filed by Gmail users that alleged that Buzz infringed on their privacy, has been preliminarily approved by federal district court Judge James Ware.

It acknowledges the changes Google has made to Buzz and as part of the agreement, Google will create a $8.5m fund to go to organisations focused on internet privacy education. They will also further educate users about the privacy aspects of the service.

“We feel this settlement has 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,” said Gary E Mason, counsel for the plaintiffs in the litigation.

The court will make a final approval on 31 January, 2011.

The class action settlement won’t provide Gmail users with monetary compensation. Buzz users who disagree with these terms and wish to sue Google themselves on the matter have until 6 December to exclude themselves from this settlement. More details can be found here.