When Google Buzz was rolled out in February – without being publicly tested first – all kinds of privacy issues became apparent almost immediately.
As the EFF commented at the time, “these problems arose because Google attempted to overcome its market disadvantage in competing with Twitter and Facebook by making a secondary use of your information.
Google leveraged information gathered in a popular service (Gmail) with a new service (Buzz), and set a default to sharing your email contacts to maximize uptake of the service. In the process, the privacy of Google users was overlooked and ultimately compromised.”
Now, less than 8 moths since Buzz’s release, Google has assented to pay $8.5 million in order to settle the class action suit that consolidated a number of civil cases filed against the company regarding to the violation of privacy that occurred.
The Register reports that the money will be funneled into a fund. Some of it will be used to pay the lawyers, some will be given to the people that sued, and some of it will go to Internet privacy organizations that engage in privacy education and research.