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Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the lawyers-win-the-pie dept.

Google 165

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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165 comments

I for one (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108118)

welcome our new, eight million dollar richer, lawyer Overlords.

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108420)

From the site in the email, "Google will pay a total of $8,500,000 into an interest-bearing account. This $8,500,000, plus interest, will constitute the Common Fund."

And, "Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys' fees of 25% of the Common Fund, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses."

Lawyers:
Gary E. Mason of Mason, LLP
Michael Ram of Ram & Olson LLP

Re:I for one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109080)

Advised by A. Bastard, Grabbit & Runn, LLP...

Re:I for one (3, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108570)

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

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109150)

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

You mean much more wary of getting caught violating privacy.

They automatically notified anyone with an account (4, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108120)

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?

Re:They automatically notified anyone with an acco (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108312)

Mine wasn't. I guess enough people marked it as Spam to train Google's filters...

Re:They automatically notified anyone with an acco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108364)

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?

Mine just came in to my priority inbox. I think you are joking. Har.

Precedent? (4, Informative)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 3 years ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#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."

Re:Precedent? (5, Funny)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108326)

Yeah. You would think we would at least get some free email, or something.

Re:Precedent? (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108558)

Well I hear in Zynga's lawsuit their proposed settlement includes the ChickenHawk (+150 ATK,+150 DEF) for Mafiawars, and 10 free chickens in Farmville.

Re:Precedent? (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109028)

Well I hear in Zynga's lawsuit their proposed settlement includes the ChickenHawk (+150 ATK,+150 DEF) for Mafiawars, and 10 free chickens in Farmville.

Zynga flipping their customers the bird again.

Alternate Headline (2, Funny)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108700)

Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit - Refund Issued to All Gmail Users

Re:Alternate Headline (1)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108732)

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:Alternate Headline (2, Interesting)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108802)

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 sensitive, just like it would be ridiculous to use Facebook for anything sensitive.

Most people are lulled into a false sense of security because Google doesn't release email data. It's in their best interest not to. But people forget that they have it all there.

Re:Alternate Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108838)

No, Google whores advertisers to you. There's a difference. What, you actually thought the advertisers get uniquely identifiable information about you? AdSense doesn't work that way. Google is the middle man, and Google does the ad targeting.

Re:Alternate Headline (1, Insightful)

alnjmshntr (625401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108932)

Let me put it this way. A businessman (Google) sells bicycles (You). The businessman builds a factory (Gmail) to make bicycles. The businessman sells bicycles to kids (advertisers).

The bicycle is just the product, it doesn't pay anything.

Re:Alternate Headline (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109440)

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^)

Re:Precedent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108250)

Hmm, I think it is just as good as any other class action where I have been part of the class. I think I have a whole shitload of useless coupons from those. Oh, there was the 27 cents I got one time too. Basically, class actions seem to be all about the lawyers getting their fees and possibly the company getting some small punishment (through having to pay said lawyers). It seems pretty much agreed ahead of time that the injured folks get nothing or a coupon or something similar.

Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108136)

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.

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (3, Informative)

Goody (23843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108218)

Opt out of the settlement and sue them yourself to get your justice.

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108230)

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

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

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (2, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108306)

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?

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (1)

wunderbus (1545573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109306)

Please answer your own questions. There needs to be some punishment, so what should it be? And please clarify what you mean by loss of privacy. Does it mean the doors were unlocked, or that the doors were unlocked and someone came in, or all of the above and plus the intruder used your private information to hurt you? Without answers for these questions, privacy invasion complaints seem meaningless. We need some way of quantifying the damage.

Re:Lawyers and Consultants keep the cash! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109352)

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.

He has free time now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108168)

What does ultra-lib big-loss Russ Feingold think about this?

even if they gave me money (4, Interesting)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108184)

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].

Re:even if they gave me money (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:even if they gave me money (1, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108598)

The pro-Google replies will get instant +5. The replies like yours will hover between +2 and +3 before falling low as the story moves off the front page.

Slashdot simply does not give a shit about privacy anymore (except when it affects piracy, such as an ISP revealing user activity...then, privacy is suddenly a big deal around here). Google can do no wrong here. If Steve Jobs or Ballmer said, "Only users who have something to hide care about privacy," there'd be a call for their heads. When Google's CEO says it, people just pretend he didn't, apparently.

Re:even if they gave me money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108892)

Except what tends to happen is actually the opposite: pro-privacy posts always get instant +5. And what do you know, the moderation reflects that. So here you are, attempting to cash in on the free karma.

Do anti-Google posts get automatically modded down? No. Just the posts which troll while doing it. If you posted a well-reasoned argument about the invasiveness of web services like Google, you would probably be left alone. Instead you have to attack the people who are reading your post, or misconstrue and misquote Schmidt to make a one-sided argument.

Try sticking to the facts, without letting emotion get in the way, and abandon the persecution complex. Because right now your responses appear more slimy than most politicians' do.

Re:even if they gave me money (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109022)

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 reputation.

Reputation actually makes a good heuristic for predicting future behavior.

Re:even if they gave me money (2, Interesting)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109044)

And don't forget that Google owners don't refer to its users as "dumb fucks".

Re:even if they gave me money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109124)

It shouldn't be up to the user to "learn about my privacy" and how to control it

Ahh you must be North American*, where would you like the warning label?

* Sorry, deepest apology for the racial joke and lowline troll, totally irresponsible of me, please forgive me,
I just wanted to give the rest of the planet something to smile about, it releases healthy endorphins.

Re:even if they gave me money (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109362)

I'm not sure where you live, but it sounds more like a European opinion. Here in the EU, we have data protection laws which impose quite strict controls on how you are allowed to share personal data that you collect about your customers (or anyone else, for that matter). I'd be very surprised if FaceBook and Buzz didn't violate the UK's Data Protection Act (for example) in a variety of ways.

Re:even if they gave me money (2, Funny)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108484)

So tell me, how many days of you get at google per year? :)

Re:even if they gave me money (2, Insightful)

znerk (1162519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109202)

So tell me, how many days of you get at google per year? :)

Uhm... what?
-1, Unintelligible.

Re:even if they gave me money (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108498)

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:even if they gave me money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108916)

Only if you had a Google profile. And IIRC, at that time, only YouTube or Buzz (maybe Blogger?) users had profiles. Gmail, Docs, et cetera still don't opt you in for a profile. I had to make one manually to publicly share my Voice contact info.

Re:even if they gave me money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34109408)

so you never told a story about a friend at a pub then?

Re:even if they gave me money (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108586)

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:even if they gave me money (2, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108588)

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.

Re:even if they gave me money (-1, Troll)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108622)

We have a growing crowd of (probably astroturfing) Google-fellating fan boys. You can't even criticize Google without your comments getting trolled into oblivion.

Re:even if they gave me money (0, Flamebait)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109110)

Nope, its not astrotufring unless its paid, like Microsoft does it.

A big reson people react so strongly is that much of the fuzz about Google and privacy is manufactured by pr people. The problem is, Google is amongst the absolute top when it comes to privacy. There are much bigger fish to fry with much worse policies. The campaign against Google trying to purport them as evil is pretty transparent and an obvious PR fake since none of the complaints originate from users themselves, only various "interest groups", all nicely tied to Microsoft.

Microsofts problem is that everybody thinks they are a bunch of douchebags that couldnt code themselves out of a wet basic Hello World. Google on the other hand is the posterchild of quality, customer satisfaction and delivery.

What to do? Bring Google down to your level where you know how to fight.

I will likely opt out. (2, Interesting)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108242)

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.

Re:I will likely opt out. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108324)

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.

Re:I will likely opt out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108880)

The US is an unfair legal blackhole with companies as the singularity sucking our rights out. The unfair part is that Google did not need to "write a letter" to opt us into their little experiment about those defaults. When the damage was done, then I need to write a letter.

Legally *somehow* they can do whatever they want on their side, but for me
an email reply
a webform
a phonecall

opt-out only works when it benefits *them*?

Re:I will likely opt out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108974)

A letter? With pen and paper? Whither shall you find such equipment? How shall you survive that deed? 'Tis a calamity, I say! I have refound respect for our ancient ancestors, fathers of the human race circa 1990 AC. Imagine it, they had to lift their bulk from their chairs, of all things! Ha ha, what uncultured savages they must have been.

Re:I will likely opt out. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109372)

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 cooperative lawyers who bring suits like this when they realise that they are exposed to potential liability, quickly settle with a large kickback to the lawyers, and hope that most people fail to opt out of the class?

Wait What? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108244)

Summary says: 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.

Article sez: It will also be used to pay the lawyers and the people who sued.

Article also says 8.5 mil... Maybe the submitter read a different article

Get what you pay for. (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108280)

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).

Important: Read This! (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108296)

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.

Re:Important: Read This! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Important: Read This! (2, Informative)

flyingkillerrobots (1865630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108630)

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.

Re:Important: Read This! (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108866)

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

Re:Important: Read This! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108532)

best best

best

Re:Important: Read This! (2)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108546)

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:Important: Read This! (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108632)

Sigh. *read the settlement*.

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

Re:Important: Read This! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108654)

Is this normal, to have such a difficult method of opting out? What constitutes proof that I used gmail after Feb 9 2010?

Re:Important: Read This! (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108856)

First of all, this only affects US citizens.
 
No.
 
  the Class includes all Gmail users in the United States
 
Many people are "in" the United States for various time periods and purposes who are not citizens.

Official link (1)

itamblyn (867415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108308)

Where is the official link from Google explaining this? I saw an email from "Google", and writeup from the Guardian about that email. This sounds like a phishing attempt.

Re:Official link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108370)

Where is the official link from Google explaining this? I saw an email from "Google", and writeup from the Guardian about that email. This sounds like a phishing attempt.

Follow the link provided in the email and then press "FAQ" on the website. RTFE(Read the fucking email).

Re:Official link (4, Insightful)

itamblyn (867415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108470)

Follow the link provided in the email and then press "FAQ" on the website. RTFE(Read the fucking email).

So your method of confirming that an email is real is to click on links in said email. Flawless.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108310)

As long as the lawyers made money, I guess it's OK....

Thanks to all who created this meaningless suit.

What about me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108384)

Do I, the AC Gmail user, get some money? Pretty please?

Opt out (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108396)

..or does this lawsuit/settlement not differentiate those who used Gmail without Buzz and those who actually used Buzz?

It could be the lack of sleep talking, but why would one be included into a class action if you never used said spinoff "Buzz" before and opted out when they deployed it.

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Informative)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108508)

The point is, if you used GMail, you were signed up for Buzz without any warning - If you never "used" Buzz, you still had a public profile, listing everyone you "follow" - which by default was the people you e-mailed the most.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108936)

No, you didn't have a public profile, unless you somehow created it first (via YouTube, Buzz, Blogger, other social services...). The Buzz contacts leak affected only a small minority of all Google users.

Google Buzz lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108512)

Check out below for updated info
http://hydgeeks.blogspot.com/2010/11/important-information-about-google-buzz.html

As a buzz user who cares about privacy (3, Insightful)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108564)

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.

Re:As a buzz user who cares about privacy (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108602)

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?

Re:As a buzz user who cares about privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108636)

The lawyers are asking for 25% of that $8.5 million in addition to their 'costs and expenses'. You sure that sounds about right?

Re:As a buzz user who cares about privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108810)

I disagree with parent.

Automatically aggregating my settlement money with everybody elses is an invasion! An invasion of settlement...ness. yes.

Question: why sue? (1)

klokop (614549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108720)

Question: why sue? What if we (the 'class') would've just asked Google nicely to change Buzz? Would've been a hell of a lot cheaper, right? I'm not a US citizen, so maybe this is a weird question?

Re:Question: why sue? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108742)

Because Lawyers need to eat.

Re:Question: why sue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108898)

Because Lawyers need to eat.

From this settlement's leftovers, apparently nonlawyers (the rest of us) don't :(

Re:Question: why sue? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108914)

Because Lawyers need to eat and don't like fighting over carrion with the flying vultures.

FTFY.

I got one of these from Citi one time. (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108750)

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.

Do I get stuff? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34108772)

tl;dr do I get stuff????

My rights trump a Cali judge (1)

atlbubba88 (1933932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108938)

I personally have a problem when I live in Georgia and a California judge arbitrarily lumps me into a class action without my consent. The simple fact that Google believes they can avoid a major problem by misleading people into believing that a California judge has the power to take away your rights arbitrarily is disconcerting. No matter whether you send in your letter, if you do not live in California, you are not binded to this class action unless you specifically stated so, and even those that live in California have a right to object, because no judge can force a ruling upon subjects, no matter how many options he/she proposes to make his ruling seem legit.

Re:My rights trump a Cali judge (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109220)

I personally have a problem when I live in Georgia and a California judge arbitrarily lumps me into a class action without my consent. The simple fact that Google believes they can avoid a major problem by misleading people into believing that a California judge has the power to take away your rights arbitrarily is disconcerting. No matter whether you send in your letter, if you do not live in California, you are not binded to this class action unless you specifically stated so, and even those that live in California have a right to object, because no judge can force a ruling upon subjects, no matter how many options he/she proposes to make his ruling seem legit.

[citation needed]

Buzz is public since beginning (1)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34108964)

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 professional Google Profile who I think have use Buzz in the correct way. By professional I mean, these people write meaningful microblog posts that span few paragraph, share interesting links that talk about technology, and have meaningful discussion with their followers. I think the private features are just minor side features that allow some private communication, but Google is not really interested in that and the private features have proved to be more troublesome than is useful.

Google Buzz is just so much cooler than Twitter when you use it in a public way. You can post messages as long as you want, no 140 characters limit on Twitter and 420 characters limit on Facebook; You can write comment directly on someone's Buzz post and seen by everyone directly; You can embed links, photos, and videos directly in your Buzz post - no more short URL; You can "retweet" someone's Buzz post easily by clicking the reshare button. When Buzz is so powerful, I just don't see the point of using Twitter anymore.

Behind the scene, Google Buzz is also significantly different than other social networks. The protocol behind Buzz is really just the core product Google is creating, and Google Buzz is expected to be one of the providers within the decentralized Buzz social network. Google has developed various technologies such as PubSubHubbub and Salmon protocol in hope to create a public, open, and decentralized social network, but we all fail to see the true value behind Buzz. Still though, I don't really like the current Buzz protocols, and I think there are better ways to build such protocols.

Google Buzz also has significantly improve its privacy settings since its troublesome debut. When I first used Google Buzz, Buzz will notify me that the stuff that I'm doing is public whenever I first time made public actions such as posting public message, comment in public posts, follow other public profiles, like or reshare a post. And to avoid people confused on the publicy of their actions, the privacy scope is shown clearly in each and every post. It even states clearly on resharing that "X people publicly reshared this". Sometimes I even found it too annoying and thought, why don't Buzz says "X people publicly liked this" as well.

I think the biggest mistake Google Buzz has is its integration with Gmail. Google first introduced Buzz through Gmail in the hope of gaining market share through Gmail - HUGE mistake. There is a fundamental mismatch between Buzz and Gmail - Buzz is public oriented but Gmail is private oriented, and when public features are mixed into private account, disaster happens. While I am happy to have a public Buzz profile, I don't necessary want to correlate it with my private Gmail profile. That's why I created a separate Google account just for the use of Google Buzz. Now it's not that I have embarrassing stuff associated in my email account, but I want a way to clearly separate my public and private identities - albeit a weak separation that people can still find out the link if they want it bad enough because I made no effort to hide the link. We just need a way to separate identity from account - so that we can create multiple identities (persona) in one account and associate the identities with different purposes and privacy scope.

The other problem of Buzz integrated with Gmail is that the UI sux. Google Buzz is no way similar to Gmail, and forcefully cram the Buzz interface into existing Gmail interface is stupid. It would be much better to move Buzz into a separate page, to make both products less bloated.

Re:Buzz is public since beginning (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109354)

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

Suing (1)

maitai (46370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109052)

Well that's it. I'm going to give up on suing companies for making hot beverages and switch to suing over my privacy!

Who gets the money? (1)

MessyBlob (1191033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34109388)

Cash set aside for lawyers, THEN leftovers to NPOs? 1. How much will the NPOs see? 2. Will the chosen NPOs be specially selected as sympathetic to the Google view on privacy? 3. Was this money already pre-allocated for NPOs before the settlement? [not taking sides; asking questions!]
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