Begin forwarded message:
Date: 2 November 2010 3:30:00 PM EDT
Subject: Important Information about Google Buzz Class Action Settlement
Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we've reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com
), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.
Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.
The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users' concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.
Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com
This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway | Mountain View, CA 94043
Aside from the obvious lesson to ask normal people what they think about running roughshod over their privacy, Google still seems befuddled by their own arrogance when it comes to your privacy.
Every word in their announcement is chosen to belittle the problem and the users who think private information should remain private, and to uncouple Google's error from this settlement.
"We heard from a number of people concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and reached a settlement."
Hmm, did this suit possibly have anything to do with the privacy issue?
The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users' concerns.
Wow, I guess you're on the ball and did the right thing, no harm no foul?
Oh. Maybe you did do something wrong?
support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web
You know, because "the web" needs education about privacy, unlike, say, Google.
The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be ... do more to educate people about privacy
By "people", do you mean users, who knew this was a problem, or Google, who pretend it wasn't and isn't? Someone certainly needs an education about privacy concerns, but I'm not sure it's the web.
. . .
PS. If you have a Gmail account and do nothing, and you do not exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Google about the claims in this case, ever again.
If you do want to reserve your right to sue for breach of privacy (and lose nothing by reserving that right), here's how:
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:
You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or at the Buzz Class Action website.
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