It looks like this saga is coming to an end, finally. In case you don’t remember, this settlement is related to a class action lawsuit filed by several Gmail users who alleged that at launch in adequate controls in Google’s Buzz platform had violated their privacy. According to news released this week, a federal judge has granted preliminary approval to a settlement on the matter. I am not really going to beat Google up too bad on this except to say that preserving privacy should be at the top of the list in designing new technical capabilities going forward, especially ones that are social.
As part of the settlement agreement, Google will create an $8.5 million fund, the majority of which will go to organizations focused on Internet privacy education and policy, and will make additional efforts to educate users about the privacy aspects of Buzz. Immediately following the Buzz launch in February of this year, Google moved quickly to make significant product improvements including increased visibility, an updated start up process featuring auto-suggestions, and adding Buzz to the Google Dashboard. In April, Google rolled out a “second chance” encouraging Buzz users to check and verify their privacy settings.
The Court will consider final approval of the proposed settlement on January 31, 2011. Full details on the settlement are available at www.BuzzClassAction.com.