Google settles for $8.5 million in Buzz privacy lawsuit

I hadn’t even heard about this. But in April, a group of Gmail users sued Google over privacy violations regarding Google Buzz, the search giant’s underwhelming attempt at social networking. Google settled yesterday for $8.5 million. Gmail users, however, will not see a cent.

The Plaintiffs allege that Google automatically enrolled Gmail users in Buzz, and that Buzz publicly exposed data, including users’ most frequent Gmail contacts, without enough user consent. Google denies the accuracy of Plaintiffs’ allegations and denies that it violated any law or caused any harm by the launch of Google Buzz.

Under the Settlement, Google will establish an $8.5 million Common Fund to fund organizations focused on Internet privacy policy or privacy education, as well as to cover lawyers’ fees and costs and other expenses. Google will also do more to educate users about the privacy aspects of Google Buzz.

By and large, it appears that most people just don’t care about online privacy, as the never-ending Facebook fiascos can attest. (Despite the habitual misuse of private data, people still flock to Facebook by the millions.) The tiny minority who protest this kind of abuse need support from us all. Because without them, the corporate titans of the world wouldn’t have even the slightest reason for pause.