Google facing lawsuit over Gmail snooping

Google is facing a class action lawsuit after a Texas resident filed a complaint claiming it snooped on his emails.

Google facing lawsuit over Gmail snooping

Keith Dunbar alleged the search giant had skimmed information he’d sent to Gmail users in order to sell targeted advertising, claiming Google’s tactics breached the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.

“Google intercepts and uses information from non-Gmail account holders without regard to the private or proprietary nature of the information,” the lawsuit alleged.

“No consent from non-Gmail account holders is given prior to Google using the content of non-Gmail account holders for the purpose of delivering targeted ads,” the complaint read. “Google does not inform non-Gmail account holders that it scans the content of their emails for the purpose of delivering targeted text ads.”

This is not the first time Google has faced this issue. It was brought up in legal challenges as far back as 2004, and lawyers suggest the company is unlikely to lose out in a battle that was first addressed six years ago.

“The topic was exhaustively debated when Gmail first publicly launched in 2004,” Santa Clara University School of Law professor Eric Goldman told Information Week, which first reported the case.

“There were numerous calls on government agencies to investigate Google, and [politicians] proposed anti-Gmail legislation in the California legislature. Frankly, after all the furor died down a half-decade ago, I had assumed everyone had moved on long ago.”

Google’s privacy statement also states that no-one other than the recipient of mails is allowed to read incoming Gmail messages.

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