Google has confirmed it has agreed an $US8.5 million settlement for a class action brought against its Buzz service.
The search giant agreed to the settlement earlier this year but has now decided to tell US Gmail users via email it has received preliminary approval for the settlement.
However, no payments will be made to users themselves. Instead, the money will go into a fund for privacy education.
Google found itself in trouble when it was discovered the Buzz social networking service exposed some users’ contact lists and data to other members.
A US federal district court judge granted approval for the settlement on 7 October.
"We are satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward," a Google spokesperson said.
"We have always been committed to offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products, and will continue to work together with users to provide the best experience possible."
The settlement agreement noted Google had made important changes to Buzz and confirmed the search giant would do more to educate users on the privacy aspects of the social service.
Commenting on the case, Sophos's head of technology for the Asia Pacific region, Paul Ducklin, warned users about signing up to services that purport to be free.
"Many of the popular 'in the cloud' services which you and your friends may have signed up to - including Gmail and most social networking sites - are openly presented, and accepted, as 'free'. Most of them simply are not," Ducklin said in a blog.
"You're really agreeing to sell those organisations the right to accumulate, index, commercialise, and in some cases sell on to third parties, information about who you are, what you do, when you do it and how you choose to talk about it online."
Google has been coming under heavy fire in numerous countries for alleged invasions of privacy when it collected data during the Street View operation.
Today, the ICO confirmed it would not be issuing a fine.
This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk
Copyright © ITPro, Dennis Publishing
Issue: 315 | May 2013
Access CRN's extensive online resources including; email bulletins, community discussions and unique online news.
Processing registration... Please wait.
This process can take up to a minute to complete.
A confirmation email has been sent to your email address - SUPPLIED GOES EMAIL HERE. Please click on the link in the email to verify your email address. You need to verify your email before you can log on to the CRN website or start posting comments on articles.
If you do not receive your confirmation email within the next few minutes, it may be because the email has been captured by a junk mail filter. Please ensure you add the domain '@crn.com.au' to your white-listed senders.