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Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit 165

Posted by timothy
from the lawyers-win-the-pie dept.
bouldin writes "This evening, Google e-mailed Gmail users who had been invited to Google Buzz to advise of settlement on a class-action privacy suit. The class action suit alleged privacy breaches due to the default privacy settings when Google rolled out the service. Terms of the settlement include $8 million to cover lawyer fees and fund privacy policy education on the Internet, but do not include cash payouts to Gmail users. With several outstanding class action privacy suits against Facebook and Zynga, it is interesting to see Google set this precedent."
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Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit

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  • I for one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:38PM (#34108118) Homepage
    welcome our new, eight million dollar richer, lawyer Overlords.
    • by bonch (38532) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:33AM (#34108570)

      The winners were users, who made a powerful, Microsoft-esque company that much more wary of violating privacy.

    • Re:I for one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by N1AK (864906) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:43AM (#34109496) Homepage
      Crazy isn't it. I got this same email (as a UK resident it has no relevance to me) and find the whole concept so totally distasteful.

      Some lawyers received $2,125,000 for suing Google and getting their clients (all american gmail users) no compensation at all. How can people tolerate the idea that a lawyer is profiteering in their name (if you use Gmail and are American you were included in this settlement). Class action lawsuits like this seem to exist as a way for lawyers to extort companies, it certainly had nothing to do with compensating the people who allegedly had their privacy invaded. I doubt if you asked the people who this lawsuit was in the name of they would have thought settling for $0 compensation, $6.275mil privacy group funding and $2.125mil lawyer bonaza was acceptable. In Fact how on earth is it ok for the lawyers to settle without the agreement of the person the suit is in the name of!?
      • by mprinkey (1434)

        I agree completely. I think, as a group, we should OBJECT to the terms of the settlement because as the aggrieved parties, we were never in anyway contacted by the attorneys in question, never gave implicit or explicit permission for them to represent us, and are currently sharing none of the windfall. Some lawyer among us should draft and official response that we can all cut and paste. Ten or twenty objections will be blown off. Ten or Twenty thousand will not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by thomst (1640045)

          I agree completely. I think, as a group, we should OBJECT to the terms of the settlement because as the aggrieved parties, we were never in anyway contacted by the attorneys in question, never gave implicit or explicit permission for them to represent us, and are currently sharing none of the windfall. Some lawyer among us should draft and official response that we can all cut and paste. Ten or twenty objections will be blown off. Ten or Twenty thousand will not.

          Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

          You can object all you want, and it will have NO effect. A settlement has been reached and that's the end of that ...

          ... HOWEVER, the email we all received includes a link that permits each of us, as an individual, to OPT OUT of the settlement. By opting out, we, in effect, each, individually, make the statement that "these lawyers do NOT represent ME, and I accept no blame or responsibility for this shyster-enriching settlement, nor am I satisfied with its outcome." As a

          • ... HOWEVER, the email we all received includes a link that permits each of us, as an individual, to OPT OUT of the settlement. By opting out, we, in effect, each, individually, make the statement that "these lawyers do NOT represent ME, and I accept no blame or responsibility for this shyster-enriching settlement, nor am I satisfied with its outcome."

            I've looked - to completely opt-out (identified as "Exclude Yourself"), it appears you have to mail a letter. No quick link as in 'unsubscribe me'.

          • by mprinkey (1434)

            IANAL either, but it strikes me as odd that any lawyer can purport to represent me in some legal affair without some consent from me. Pursuing legal actions on my behalf without my issuing of power of attorney is, in fact, illegal. I have to sign over power of attorney to my accountant to have him interact with the IRS on my behalf. How is this any different?

      • Typical In The US (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I read about something like this every couple of weeks. Usually the benefactor is our State or Federal government. I have even experienced this at a much greater scale.

        About 5 years ago my wife needed some surgery. Our surgery was covered by my insurance. The doctor's staff reviewed our insurance and said we had "great insurance" and that they never have problems with our insurance.

        Anyways, she had the surgery and a few months later we received a bill for over 10 thousand of dollars. Turns out that our

  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:38PM (#34108120) Homepage

    They sent me an automatic message into my two Gmail accounts.

    Which were then, ironically, filtered into the 'Spam' folder automatically. How awesome is that?

  • Precedent? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini@yahoo . c om> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:41PM (#34108134)

    What precedent? Settling a privacy class action suit by promising to pay millions to fund some kind of privacy foundation, and no payment to individual users?

    Facebook did that last year [circleid.com] when it settled the class action suit over its "beacon" program.

    • Re:Precedent? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:43PM (#34108142)

      "oops, we harmed you. we admit it. our bad. So uh, we're legally liable for it, but we've decided to pay somebody else. you know, someone who's not you. just letting you know."

      • by jason.sweet (1272826) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:19PM (#34108326)
        Yeah. You would think we would at least get some free email, or something.
      • Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit - Refund Issued to All Gmail Users

        • by kurokame (1764228)

          You pay to use GMail. You just don't pay cash. You pay by letting them whore you to advertisers.

          Google is an advertising company. The tech ventures are just the bait.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rockNme2349 (1414329)

            I agree, and what is the problem? When I buy something from anyone else, I don't use it, and then demand my money back. Likewise, Google hosts emails for free, in exchange for the fact that they can look at them at any time and do with them what they please. Why should I be upset when there is a breach in privacy? The only difference between posting a message on Facebook, and sending an email through GMail, is that Google has better security settings. It would be ridiculous to use GMail for anything sensiti

          • by grcumb (781340)

            You pay to use GMail. You just don't pay cash. You pay by letting them whore you to advertisers.

            Google is an advertising company. The tech ventures are just the bait.

            Fine, so give them their ads back and you'll be even. 8^)

      • by thomst (1640045)

        "oops, we harmed you. we admit it. our bad. So uh, we're legally liable for it, but we've decided to pay somebody else. you know, someone who's not you. just letting you know."

        Er..no.

        It was a settlement, not a judgement against Google, so there was no admission of liability on Google's part. And, although I'm not privy to Google's internal discussions, I'd bet a shiny, new quarter - your choice of state - that, given the size of the settlement, it was merely a tactic on Google's part to make this particular group of legal parasites go the fuck away.

        Again, IANAL, yadda, yadda, yadda ...

        • Ok, true, it was a settlement, not a judgment, but the fact that they are legally required to tell us what they did and what their "punishment" is as part of the settlement is pretty much an admission of wrongdoing, wouldn't you say?

          This is a company that prides itself on it's reputation. I don't think they'd have agreed to a settlement that required them to send out an email like that even if it was cheaper than an expected judgment... well, unless it was significantly cheaper by an order of magnitude etc

  • Terms of the settlement include $8 million to cover lawyer fees and fund privacy policy education on the Internet

    Lawyers: $8M
    HR Consultants to teach "Privacy policy Education": Some token amount
    Actual users who got @#$%ed: $0

    There's justice for you. There needs to be a law established that in a class action suit, the lawyers can get no more than x times the average defendant payout.

    • by Goody (23843) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:57PM (#34108218) Journal
      Opt out of the settlement and sue them yourself to get your justice.
      • by vux984 (928602)

        And hire some more lawyers to win a case that was already won?

        Yes, that's a way better option... for the lawyers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by c0lo (1497653)

          And hire some more lawyers to win a case that was already won?

          Yes, that's a way better option... for the lawyers.

          Assuming Google caused you a higher loss than the amount you receive (and you can demonstrate the loss in the court), you can certainly go for it and cite this case in your suit.

          If you didn't lose something, help me understand why are you complaining?

          • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:14AM (#34108514)

            What is the value of your privacy? How do you quantify the damage caused by loss of said privacy?

            This is the problem with lawsuits that try to reduce everything to dollar amounts. That might be an objective measure in some sense, but the value of the most important things in life is rarely measured in cash, and often compensation for losing them can't be measured in cash either.

            • by dudpixel (1429789) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:30AM (#34108562)

              you lost your privacy?

              hmm, have you tried searching on google?

            • by Raenex (947668)

              What is the value of your privacy?

              Whatever value a jury places on it should you win a lawsuit, or whatever value you settle for. Same as emotional pain and suffering.

          • You can cite the case, but since it was an out-of-court settlement it does not provide a precedent in the legal sense. Typically this kind of thing includes some wording where Google will not admit fault, meaning that it can't be used by people who opt out of the class as an admission of guilt.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Lawyers: $8M HR Consultants to teach "Privacy policy Education": Some token amount Actual users who got @#$%ed: $0

      The settlement agreement states that class attorneys are going to seek 25%. Where are you getting your $8M number?
  • by jappleng (1805148) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:48PM (#34108184) Homepage Journal
    Even if Google said I could get $50 from the lawsuit I wouldn't accept it. I have no reason to take Google's $50 when it was up to me to learn about my privacy on Google Buzz. Plus, Google has done so much for me in the past that it would be like stealing money from a friend. Cannot do that. Freakin lawyers, bunch of [my attorney has advised me not to complete this sentence].
    • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:56PM (#34108216)

      It shouldn't be up to the user to "learn about my privacy" and how to control it -- it should be incumbent upon the company that holds my personal data to not release it without my explicit consent. Revealing to the world who I chat and email with the most was not a smart move on their part.

      If I post something on my Facebook wall, I expect the world to be able to see it - even if I've only allowed my "friends" to see it, I understand that I have no control over the data after my friends see it.

      However, if I send a lot of emails to my ex-girlfriend, I don't want my wife to find out about it when she sees my Google Buzz followers.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        I think the issue is that, unlike Facebook, Google was probably an incompetent boob that simply fucked up.

        Facebook we are quick to castigate because they have a record of instant updates to their TOS that let them have the right to screw over your privacy at any time.

        Google, however, rarely does this. In fact a lot of the time they go out of their way to Not Be Evil, as is their company motto.

        The phrase about malice and incompetence applies well here, especially with a company that doesn't have a soiled re

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ZeRu (1486391)
          And don't forget that Google owners don't refer to its users as "dumb fucks".
        • by Raenex (947668)

          I think the issue is that, unlike Facebook, Google was probably an incompetent boob that simply fucked up.

          Google considered the issue and didn't expect the backlash it received. They did let you opt out of having all your contacts published, but it wasn't by default. They made a business decision in favor of populating the service over privacy.

          Facebook we are quick to castigate because they have a record of instant updates to their TOS that let them have the right to screw over your privacy at any time.

          Google retains those same rights.

          Google, however, rarely does this. In fact a lot of the time they go out of their way to Not Be Evil, as is their company motto.

          They had to be arm-twisted and cudgeled to start respecting user privacy. You can go way back to the flap over them not deleting email when the user requested it, or to the retention of IP addresses in their web logs.

          especially with a company that doesn't have a soiled reputation.

          You just haven't been

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by santax (1541065)
      So tell me, how many days of you get at google per year? :)
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:04AM (#34108498) Homepage

      Look, I enjoy Google's products as well but I think you're missing the point here; Google Buzz automatically took everyone on Gmail and published their contact list to the public.

      What kind of friend gives away your private information without your permission?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532)

      Could you take your lips off Google's ass for a second and acknowledge that it shouldn't be the burden of the user to navigate a company's privacy settings just to avoid having their email history revealed to the world? There's a reasonable expectation that a product or service you use won't exploit you or your personal information. Not accepting the money just makes you an embarrassing corporate tool who is saying, "Feel free to disregard my privacy, Google!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JackieBrown (987087)

        Could you take your lips off Google's ass for a second and acknowledge that it shouldn't be the burden of the user to navigate a company's privacy settings just to avoid having their email history revealed to the world?

        The user's email history was not exposed. The profile (account name) was.

        • by bonch (38532)

          The profiles were a list of you were emailing most. In other words, a history of your email activity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Freakin lawyers, bunch of [my attorney has advised me not to complete this sentence].

      I believe the term you are looking for is "motherfuckers".*

      *This statement protected by the decision rendered in Falwell v. Flynt.

  • One never knows when one may want to sue Google over privacy concerns. This is a good way for them to put a blanket over millions of potential future lawsuits.
    • I was going to do that too, because I don't feel my privacy was harmed in any way (sorry if yours was, Mr Moderator). I don't want to be a party to frivolous class-action lawsuits where lawyers get rich and I get nothing.

      Then I realized I have to actually write a letter or do something physically to opt out, and I gave up. Yes, you can see how deeply run my convictions.
    • I wonder if Google has a business model patent on 'Use of a Class Action Lawsuit to Reduce Legal Liability'. This is the second time that I recall them doing it. The first was in the case of Google Book Search, where there were enough counts of wilful copyright infringement that the minimum statutory fines in the USA alone would have totalled several hundred times the market capitalisation of the company, but the result of the class action lawsuit was practically nothing. Do they have a team of cooperati
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:05PM (#34108264)

    "...With several outstanding class action privacy suits against Facebook and Zynga, it is interesting to see Google set this precedent."

    Just goes to show you that as with most free services, you get what you pay for. And they (lawyers) get what they "paid" for.

  • Lawyer Payment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Omniscientist (806841) <matt AT badecho DOT com> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:07PM (#34108280) Homepage

    The lawyers are taking home 25% of the 8.5 million (plus interest), plus reimbursement of costs and expenses, according to the class action website [buzzclassaction.com].

    Frankly, if I had to choose between a company keeping the money it has earned versus going to a random group of lawyers, I'd go with the former. Maybe I'd be more for punishing an organization financially if they were engaging in risky behavior and refusing to stop; however, from what I can remember about the incident, Google apologized and shut the thing down quickly (I'm not 100% on that, though).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jimmy King (828214)

      Maybe I'd be more for punishing an organization financially if they were engaging in risky behavior and refusing to stop; however, from what I can remember about the incident, Google apologized and shut the thing down quickly (I'm not 100% on that, though).

      While I think the lawyers are just in it for the money for themselves and don't deserve this huge chunk of cash, an argument could be made that Google IS engaging in risky behavior and refusing to stop. I don't think any of this is an accident. I think Google (or at least someone at Google) tries to slip this stuff in just to see if they can sneak it by, then when users catch it they apologize and remove it and claim it was a mistake. The first time, sure, it may have been a mistake where some boilerplat

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by delinear (991444)
      While I'm loathe to support the enrichment of lawyers, the reason option 1 (letting the company keep the money) wouldn't work is that, at the moment, many companies knowindgly sail as close to the edge as they dare or even engage in illegal conduct, but not if they think there's a good chance of being caught/punished. Remove the lawyer element and there's no real check on what a company does, not to mention a lawyer who can scent money is probably quite a vigilant watchdog to sic on companies. It might be b
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:09PM (#34108296) Homepage Journal

    First of all, this only affects US citizens.

    If you used GMail after February 9, 2010 then you *must* opt out of this settlement or you will lose your right to sue Google for privacy violations - forever - with no compensation.

    To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter or other written document by mail saying that you want
    to be excluded from In re Google Buzz User Privacy Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-00672-JW. Be sure to include your full
    name, address, reason why you want out of the Settlement, as well as proof that you used Gmail at some point after February 9, 2010, your signature, and the date. You must mail your request for exclusion so that it is received no later
    than December 6, 2010, to:

    CLASS ACTION ADMINISTRATOR

    In re Google Buzz User Privacy Litigation
    c/o The Garden City Group, Inc.
    P.O. Box 91088
    Seattle, WA 98111-9188

    You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or at the website. An exclusion request is not a claim for payment.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:34PM (#34108368)
      you will lose your right to sue Google for privacy violations - forever - with no compensation.

      I don't think that's true. AFAIK, You only waive your right to sue Google for claims settled in this particular case. A clarification from a lawyer would be nice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        IANAL, but from the website (emphasis mine):

        What are my options? [...] Do nothing - Give up your rights to sue Google about the legal claims in this case and thereby accept the terms of this Settlement.

        You do not forfeit anything other than for this case. And if they are lying, you have a new case anyway.

        • by pipedwho (1174327)

          That's good to know. I want to keep my options open should I ever decide to sue a mega corporation.

    • by fishexe (168879)

      If you used GMail after February 9, 2010 then you *must* opt out of this settlement or you will lose your right to sue Google for privacy violations - forever - with no compensation.

      I'm not sure you get how class actions work. You can only lose your right to sue for the period that the class action referred to. Courts would never uphold a "settlement" in which the winners or unrelated parties lost their right to sue the loser ever, for anything, including unlawful acts that the loser was going to do in the future. You can only lose the right to sue Google for the specific privacy violations mentioned in the suit (i.e. the stuff they did right at the launch of Buzz).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuantumG (50515) *

        Sigh. *read the settlement*.

        This is exactly the same argument we had back when Google Books got their settlement. Will you never learn?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fishexe (168879)

          Sigh. *read the settlement*.

          Ummm...I did? Because it was sent to me. Quote: "Give up your rights to sue Google about the legal claims in this case and thereby accept the terms of this Settlement." The legal claims in this case are the claims related to the specific privacy violations happening at a specific time that were brought up in the suit when it was filed. They are not "privacy, generally". As a matter of law, "the legal claims in this case" can never mean, "privacy, generally".

          Will you never learn?

          Will you never think logically? Or educate y

          • by nomadic (141991)
            IAAL who's done a fair amount of work in class actions* and you are right and the person you are responding to is wrong.

            * no, not class actions like this, and no, not class actions where the plaintiffs only get a coupon or something (actually in a lot of them a lot of individual plaintiffs got a lot more than I ever did out of them); slashdot's consensus about what class action cases are is really, really off-base.
            • by mea37 (1201159)

              "slashdot's consensus about what class action cases are is really, really off-base."

              Really? So you claim you've done a handful of more-legitimate class actions, and you think that overturns the common view of what class-action cases "are"?

              Tell you what: enlighten us. What are class actions? Then we can all dig through our records for records of class action settlements that affected us, and see what percentage conform to your description vs. the /. concensus. I can already tell you which one covers 100%

              • by nomadic (141991)
                Really? So you claim you've done a handful of more-legitimate class actions, and you think that overturns the common view of what class-action cases "are"?

                More importantly, I've had to read extensively cases on the subject, and yes, just because a view of an esoteric subject is common doesn't mean it's right. Just because 95% of people believe something doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

                Tell you what: enlighten us. What are class actions?

                Class actions are just regular civil cases where, due to th
                • by mea37 (1201159)

                  Yes, I've heard the term "selection bias"; apparently one of us knows what it means, and you aren't the one.

                  I'm not "selecting" the cases I'm looking at. I'm looking at every case that has impacted me in any way, and suggesting that everyone else in the discussion do the same.

                  If that's a biased selection, then what you're really saying is "yes, class actions that affect people are crap, but that's not a fair sample" (apparently meaning that we have to include all the cases that don't affect anyone).

                  When I

                  • by nomadic (141991)
                    I'm not "selecting" the cases I'm looking at. I'm looking at every case that has impacted me in any way, and suggesting that everyone else in the discussion do the same.

                    Yes, you ARE "selecting" the cases you're looking at; you're looking at cases where you were a class member. You fit a very specific profile. You are more likely to be class members in certain cases more than others. How on earth could you make the enormous logical leap that what you experience must be the norm without looking at the
                  • by fishexe (168879)

                    Yes, I've heard the term "selection bias"; apparently one of us knows what it means, and you aren't the one.

                    What is it they say about pots and kettles?

                    I'm not "selecting" the cases I'm looking at. I'm looking at every case that has impacted me in any way, and suggesting that everyone else in the discussion do the same.

                    Definition of Selection Bias:

                    A type of bias caused by choosing non-random data for statistical analysis. The bias exists due to a flaw in the sample selection process, where a subset of the data is systematically excluded due to a particular attribute. The exclusion of the subset can influence the statistical significance of the test, or produce distorted results.

                    In this case, data is systematically excluded on the basis of not having happened to you, producing th

              • by fishexe (168879)

                "slashdot's consensus about what class action cases are is really, really off-base."

                Really? So you claim you've done a handful of more-legitimate class actions, and you think that overturns the common view of what class-action cases "are"?

                By tautology, the legal view of what a legal definition is overturns the common view of what a legal definition is.

        • by fishexe (168879)

          Sigh. *read the settlement*.

          To put it in the actual terms of the settlement (where before I was using the terms of the class action notification): "This Agreement shall be the sole and exclusive remedy for any and all Settled Claims of Class Members. Upon entry of the Final Order and Judgment, each Class Member shall be barred from initiating, asserting, or prosecuting against Google any Settled Claims that are released by operation of this Agreement and the Final Order and Judgment." "Settled Claims" means any claim for the specific

    • by delinear (991444)
      I never understood how an out of court settlement, where the company admits no responsibility, negates even relevant court action, let alone all future action. Sure, if you're a party to it then maybe it's akin to a contract not to sue, but if you weren't even aware of it and are still expected to opt out, that to me seems to fail the test of reasonableness that a contract would need, so what's the story?
    • by mea37 (1201159)

      Nonsense. A settlement cannot bar one party from suing another for future misdeeds.

  • Opt out (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:41PM (#34108394)

    Ironic that the only way to opt out of the privacy settlement is to mail in your full name, address, phone number and signature.

  • by fishexe (168879) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:31AM (#34108564) Homepage
    As a frequent Buzz user who also cares deeply about online privacy, this settlement seems just about right to me. I would much rather my fellow users were educated about how to protect their privacy online than have a few extra pennies in my pocket (and that is about what this would amount to if paid out in cash to every class member). I actually wish more class action settlements would end like this. How many times have I been notified that I was part of a class winning a class action only to be informed my share was less than my time was worth to read the damn letter in the first place? (I'll tell you: three times). In any one of those cases I would much rather that my share had been aggregated together with every other class member's and put to a good cause.
    • by bonch (38532)

      I would much rather my fellow users were educated about how to protect their privacy online than have a few extra pennies in my pocket (and that is about what this would amount to if paid out in cash to every class member).

      Presumably, by "protect their privacy online," you mean somehow knowing that Google is going to automatically link your Gmail account to Buzz and list your most emailed contacts?

      • by fishexe (168879)

        I would much rather my fellow users were educated about how to protect their privacy online than have a few extra pennies in my pocket (and that is about what this would amount to if paid out in cash to every class member).

        Presumably, by "protect their privacy online," you mean somehow knowing that Google is going to automatically link your Gmail account to Buzz and list your most emailed contacts?

        I'm pretty sure Google stopped doing that as soon as there was a public outcry, even before the suit was filed, and isn't going to do that again if it cost them $8.5 million. But yeah, people should know these things and how to disable them. Would you prefer that Google automatically display your most emailed contacts and NOT tell you that or how to disable it?

  • It informed me that a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all Citibank credit card customers had been won. I don't remember the exact number, but they were pretty obscene. The judgment was for like $50 million and $30 million was going to the lawyers while $20 million was going to some charity selected by the lawyers. I considered becoming a lawyer and suing lawyers on behalf of people who get 'represented' by these guys.
  • I imagine:

    Lawyers: $7,999,999.
    Privacy Policy Education Fund: $1.
  • I have used Buzz for a month now and I'm quite satisfied with its functionality. IMHO Google Buzz is way different from what we all thought and is much more sophisticated. Buzz is some sort like Facebook operates in Twitter mode, that is, conversations and social interactions are made in Facebook style, but the social connection model is Twitter's public follower/followee style.

    I feel that Google Buzz was already designed for public communication since it is launched. Currently I'm following 90 people with

    • I use Buzz differently, I don't follow anyone and at the same time keep adding auto-aggregate links so that all my tweets, blog posts (i have 3 blogs and counting...), youtube uploads, picasa photos etc get posted to Buzz. Then I just point people at my Buzz page, it summarises (most of) my public internet activity in one place. Handy for new friends and stalkers alike

  • People signed up for Gmail without any expectation that their address book would be used to distribute information about their habits. Google did that, did it without permission and even did it without notice.

    I'm amazed that Google thought that people wouldn't have a problem with those moves.

    My guess is that there was a socially retarded executive at Google who thought people would like it, had enough power to silence the common sense wielding opposition to push the release of Buzz through.

    To Googles credi

  • "With several outstanding class action privacy suits against Facebook and Zynga, it is interesting to see Google set this precedent"

    That is, of course, unless you know the first thing about the law. In that case, you are aware that one defendent deciding to settle doesn't set a precedent at all for other defendents in separate lawsuits (even if the nature of those suits is similar).

    Between that, my lack of interest in suing Google over this matter, and my general antipathy toward class actions in practice,

  • Terms of the settlement include $8 million to cover lawyer fees and fund privacy policy education on the Internet, but do not include cash payouts to Gmail users.

    Nonsense! They offered to refund every cent I've paid them for my Gmail service for the last half-decade I've been with them, which totaled to $0.00.

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