Mountain View, Calif. – Google (NASD: GOOG) said on Tuesday that a
federal judge has approved a class-action settlement resolving a lawsuit filed
by Gmail users, who alleged that last February’s launch of the Google Buzz
social networking and messaging tool violated their privacy. Under the
agreement, Google will create an $8.5 million fund, with most of the money
going to organizations focused on Internet privacy education and policy.
issue was the default launch setting on Buzz that automatically added a user’s
Gmail contacts to their list of Buzz contacts, displaying who a user
corresponds with without his or her prior permission.
"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,"
the company wrote in an email to Gmail users.
The court will consider final
approval of the settlement on Jan. 31.