Google plans to pay out an $8.5 million settlement as part of a privacy class action against its Gmail Buzz feature, the Internet giant said Tuesday. The funds will be applied toward an independent fund, designed to support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the Internet.

Anyone looking to personally receive a portion of that settlement is out of luck. It does not include compensation for any of the millions of Gmail users, who comprise the settlement group. Folks, however, can opt out of this particular settlement group and strike out on their own -- providing they opt out before Dec. 6. Google (GOOG) posted information about the settlement and opting out on its site.

The lawsuit arose from allegations that Google automatically enrolled Gmail users in Buzz when the social networking feature was added in February. The complaint specifically cites that Gmail users, via Buzz, had their email contacts publicly exposed as a social network, without their consent. Google, however, "denies the accuracy" of the claims.

The court, meanwhile, will hold a hearing Jan. 31 to consider approving the $8.5 million settlement.

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The article mistakenly states that Google has settled the class action. There will be no settlement until the Court takes up the matter on January 31, 2011. I've opposed the settlement for a variety of reasons including that the settlement is a bribe to lead plaintiffs to accept it and to privacy groups so that they will not oppose it and it does not stop Google from violating the privacy of any owner of the computers that visit the internet not necessary those who own Gmail who are the class members and the settlement is minscule compared to damage that will be done to Google in a court trial and that the court appointed class lawyer is only interestedin earning a fee.

January 14 2011 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply