Monday, September 6, 2010

google punished for buzz

Google never knew that it will actually have to pay a heavy price for its free to use social network - Google Buzz. As per AFP, Google has agreed to pay $8.5 million as settlement of a privacy lawsuit over Google Buzz according to court documents. Eva Hibnick, a 24-year old Florida resident and Harvard Law School student, haa filed a class action lawsuit against Google Buzz for sharing personal data without user content. Not only that, the California based search giant is asked to make more efforts to educate users about Google Buzz's potential impact of privacy.

Google Buzz social network was in troubled waters after Private Group complained against the privacy issues with the service. However, Google quickly worked and fixed the issue while the service continued to receive lukewarm response from Gmail users. Post that, numerous changes have been implemented in the service but a class action law suit was already filed against Buzz.   

Seven different individuals have filed law suits against Google Buzz for privacy violations since the free social network was launched back in February. Now, as per the recent settlement filing posted online (PDF), Google will pay seven plaintiffs not more than $2500 and 30 percent of the settlement money would go to the lawyers as covering fees. The remaining amount would be put in to a fund for organizations that are focused on Internet privacy issues and education.

Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel, in a blog post on the official Google Blog talked about the new simplified and refined privacy policies of Google. So now, if you agree to Google's Terms and Condition pertaining to any new or upcoming servise, you will permit Google to collect your data.

Honestly, hardly 2-5 percent of users who sign up for new services read the Privacy Policies thoroughly. Whatever maybe the case, Google did goof-up on privacy grounds and paid a hefty price.