Google in lawsuit over a Gmail scanning scandal

Google is being sued by Gmail users in California for breach of privacy that allowed the company to scan people’s Gmail accounts in order to deliver relevant ads.

Texas Attorney Sean Rommel, who is co-leading the lawsuit, claims the company is violating laws by critically analysing emails sent through the popular service. He says the company is reading on a daily basis, "every email that's submitted," and claims Gmail are "looking at every word to determine meaning." The plaintiffs also claim that the policy is in breach of the Federal Wiretap Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

However, Google insists it must scan user email to maintain its service. The company also accuse the plaintiffs of criminalising "ordinary business practices” that have been part of its free Gmail service since it was introduced “nearly a decade ago". They further maintain it is a part of normal business practices:

"While Plaintiffs go to great lengths to portray Google in a sinister light, the complaint actually confirms that the automated processes at issue are Google's ordinary business practices implemented as part of providing the free Gmail service to the public. This is fatal to Plaintiffs' claims".

The federal court hearing in San Jose, filed on behalf of 10 individuals, is not the first time Google has been sued for a breach of privacy as it was sued by an Android user last year.

In response to Google's request for the lawsuit to be terminated, Judge Lucy Koh says there is a possibility that the trial may be rescheduled to 2014.

Source: Herald Sun | Image: SfWeekly

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