Greetings. I’m Craig Hunt, and we’re here to discuss a recent lawsuit against Google and what it means in the world of Internet privacy.
Today, millions of people use Google&apos;s Gmail service for e-mail. You may be one of the many individuals who received a legal notice in your gmail inbox about a legal matter, and a settlement reached with Google. In this presentation, we&apos;ll look at some of the details of the lawsuit, and discuss how it affects you.
First, let’s take a brief look at the background that led to the privacy issues. In it&apos;s infancy, the Internet was dominated by large institutions like Universities, government and business, very little personal information was shared. A steady evolution occurred, and in 2004, we were introduced to a new phrase: Web 2.0. The term Web 2.0 describes the Internet’s evolution to include user generated content. This gave rise to the phenomenon of social networking.
Social networking is all about sharing information – And there&apos;s seemingly no limit to what is shared on the Internet today. Sites such as facebook and twitter and many others are constantly streaming with updates on our daily lives. Google face increasing competition from other Web companies such as face book, and the need to compete in the Web 2.0 world led Google to develop a new product. Google Buzz was launched in February 2010. Google provided the product to all of it&apos;s existing Gmail consumers. Buzz included links to other Web 2.0 infrastructures, and it was promoted Buzz as convenient tool to interact and more easily share all of your information.
But almost immediately, there was a negative reaction from some. There were allegations that sharing was occurred without the users knowledge or consent.
Specifically, some took issue with Google&apos;s exposing lists of individuals e-mail contacts. The result was a class action lawsuit. A group of Gmail users sued based on California&apos;s privacy laws.
In early October, Google and those who fled the lawsuit reached an agreement, and a judge has granted preliminary approval to settling the matter outside of court. But a hearing in early 2010 determine the true outcome.
Basically, Google has agreed to address the privacy concerns with software updates and technical changes. The court acknowledges that Google took action to address the concerns early on. New privacy settings allow buzz users greater control over what information is made public on the Web. And, financially, Google is required to pay out 8.5 million dollars. The money will go to private non profit organizations that educate the public on Internet privacy issues.
What&apos;s your opinion? A class action lawsuit means that all those affected have legal rights, and opportunity to protest the settlement. An E-mail, which Google sent to all of it&apos;s gmail customers under a legal obligation, outlines four options you may have. Excluding yourself from this joint lawsuit allows you to file a separate lawsuit as an individual. If you have objections to the lawsuit terms, you have the opportunity to object in writing or at a public hearing, And finally, you may of course, do nothing. The consequence is that you are accepting the settlement terms and there for have lost legal standing to file a future lawsuit on the same issues.
Setting aside of the complicated legal matters, the real impact on all of this has been the strides made in awareness of privacy issues on-line. Google is a well known corporation, and the publicity will serve to make folks more aware. The high profile case highlights that, Individuals on-line have an obligation to have at least a basic understanding of privacy concerns
There are no simple, absolute answers to questions on privacy and Internet security. If you Google the term Internet privacy, you&apos;ll find well over a billion internet pages that reference the topic. Google is just the most recent example of a major Web corporation facing legal battles. Craig&apos;s list, Facebook and others have faced similar fates. The recent Google lawsuit focused on e-mail contact lists, but that is a very small component. Protecting privacy in a world where sharing is the norm, is an almost overwhelming puzzle. The technology is evolving rapidly, and it is complex. But so too is it&apos;s impact on society – our values, and our laws.
Thank you for your time, and I&apos;ll leave you with these references for further information.
Google Faces Lawsuit
Over Internet Privacy
The settlement and it’s impact
on Web 2.0 privacy issues.
A HACC audio project presented by Craig Hunt.
If you use G-mail, you may be affected by
a class Action Law suit.
In This Presentation:
● Background on Web 2.0
● Details about a class Action Lawsuit
● Issues of Internet Privacy
Background: Web 2.0 is about
sharing your content
● The Internet has
evolved from a “static”
environment, to a
dynamic tool with user
generated content. The
evolution is known as
● Content sharing comes
with privacy issues.
BUZZ is launched in 2010
● Google's Social Networking application tied to Gmail.
● Google's promotion:
– Go beyond status messages
– Share updates, photos, videos, and more.
– Start conversations about the things you find
● Buzz auto interacts with other Web2.0 sites like Twitter,
Picasa, Flickr, and Google's existing product line.
The issues with Buzz
● Google automatically
enrolled Gmail users in
Buzz without sufficient
notice or consent.
● Publicly exposed data,
including users’ e-mail
Public VS Private
● Web 2.0 and social
networking are all about
sharing. User’s voluntary
publish content, but may
not expect other data to
● Google allegedly
published e-mail contact
lists. Should the public
know who you e-mail?
● On October 7, 2010, a
federal district court
Judge granted preliminary
approval to settlement.
● Hearings and final
settlement approval are
scheduled for early 2011.
The court acknowledges Google's
effort in making technical
● New privacy settings grant
users control over public
access of content.
● Google to pay $8.5 million to
non-profit agencies for Internet
Privacy education and
Are you affected?
All U.S. Gmail users have legal options in this class action lawsuit.
● EXCLUDE YOURSELF - This allows you to bring your own lawsuit, or be
part of any other lawsuit against Google
● OBJECT - Write to the Court to contest the settlement
● GO TO A HEARING – Gmail users may apply to speak at a court hearing
in January of 2011.
● DO NOTHING - Give up your rights to sue Google about the legal claims
in this case and thereby accept the terms of this Settlement.
Check your Gmail account for a legal notice from Google.
The Impact: Awareness
“The more people know about privacy online,
the better their online experience will be.”
From a Google statement to all Gmail users
$8.5 million settlement goes to non-profit
organizations that promote and educate the
public on Internet privacy.
Google's lawsuit: a small piece of a more
● Overwhelming amount of
– A search for “Internet
privacy” yields 1.5
● There's no immediate
Technology and policy
are constantly evolving.
To learn more . . .
Details of the Buzz lawsuit are posted at:
Top 10 Privacy Tips:
Photos from Microsoft Office Clipart (http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/images/)
Text source: Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4th
Edition, Harvey M. Deitel and Paul J.
Deitel ,Deitel and Associates inc, 2008
Presentation by Craig Hunt for Web 130, Nov. 12, 2010