Google pays $8.5m to settle Buzz privacy case

Google is to pay $8.5m to settle a private class-action lawsuit that alleged its Buzz social networking service violated users' privacy.

Google is to pay $8.5m to settle a private class-action lawsuit that alleged its Buzz social networking service violated users' privacy.

Over $6m of the settlement will be used to help fund organisations focused on Internet privacy policy or privacy education, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the class action, seven Gmail users alleged the company violated privacy law in February by exposing their e-mail contacts to users of Google Buzz.

Each are set to receive $2,500 under the settlement agreement, although this has yet to be approved by the judge in charge of the case.

Google's Buzz service drew widespread criticism from privacy groups around the world at its launch for exposing users' most e-mailed contacts.

Critics complained there was too little control over who can follow users and there was no way to block people who do not have public profiles.

Google has since revamped the Buzz service so it is not enabled automatically and gives users more control over displaying personal information.

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