Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Google Buzz Class Action Details

Earlier this week Google sent out a rather rare email to users of Google Buzz, so rare in fact that my personal email accounts thought it was spam.

The gist of the email, as part of a settlement over Google Buzz and privacy concerns the company has setup an $8.5 Million fund to fund organizations focused on Internet privacy policy or privacy education, as well as to cover lawyers’ fees and costs and other expenses.

Shortly after its launch [Google Buzz] , 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

What Are My Options?

  • EXCLUDE YOURSELF - This is the only option that allows you to bring your own lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Google about the legal claims resolved in this Settlement. You must mail your request for exclusion so that it is received no later than December 6, 2010.
  • OBJECT - Write to the Court about why you do not like the Settlement. Your objection must be received by January 10, 2011.
  • GO TO A HEARING - Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement. Send your Notice of Intent to Appear so that it is received no later than January 10, 2011.
  • DO NOTHING - Give up your rights to sue Google about the legal claims in this case and thereby accept the terms of this Settlement.
Please consult the Notice for more details on your options.

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