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James Boyd
Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research

Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2011

Judge awards CACR $300,000 in Google Buzz settlement

June 3, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A U.S. district judge this week awarded Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research $300,000 as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement over Google Buzz, the company's social media service.

The lawsuit was filed after users of Gmail -- Google's popular e-mail service -- believed their privacy had been violated after the launch of Google Buzz in February 2010. The suit alleged that Google Buzz exposed Gmail contacts publicly, prompting multiple complaints about privacy settings and personal information being shared unwillingly.

Security Matters logo

A U.S. district judge has awarded the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research $300,000 to further its outreach mission with Security Matters, a video and radio series aimed at educating consumers about online privacy and security.

As part of the settlement agreement, Google agreed to pay out $8.5 million to Internet privacy advocacy groups or organizations. CACR was one of 12 outlets selected to receive a share of those funds out of the 77 entities that applied for consideration.

The $300,000 award will go toward the continuing production of Security Matters, a new online video and radio series produced collaboratively with WFIU radio. Security Matters is designed to help casual, nontechnical computer users learn about online privacy and security. Recent episodes have covered Facebook privacy settings, social media etiquette, and passwords for mobile devices. While Security Matters will cover eight broad topics over the next 10 months, videos reacting to current events will also be produced.

When news of a massive data breach in the Sony PlayStation Network broke in late April, Security Matters produced and published a video with key facts and important tips for those affected within 48 hours of the incident coming to light.

"Security Matters is quickly becoming a go-to resource for consumers searching for accessible, easy-to-understand instructions that can empower them to control their data and security," said James Boyd, CACR external relations manager and Security Matters producer. "Our mission is simple: help people understand the risks online, then give them the knowledge and skills to take control of their digital lives."

Released on Thursdays, Security Matters episodes can be found on a dedicated YouTube channel or the Security Matters website. Users are encouraged to share the videos with family and friends, or engage with other Security Matters users or CACR staff on a Facebook fan site. Corresponding radio spots condense the tips and advice from the videos into short, 60-second segments that air on WFIU.

"We get questions all the time," Boyd said. "'What makes a strong password? How do I manage my Facebook account? How can I tell if my computer has a virus?' Security Matters will address the most common questions consumers have, and hopefully some questions they haven't thought of yet. Educating users about potential problems and helping them prevent those problems from coming to fruition is a key component to what we're trying to do."

The Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in both Information Assurance Education and Research. CACR is part of the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University.