Judge Allows Google’s Gmail Scans Lawsuit to Move Forward

google-zipA federal judge ruled Thursday that Google may be violating wiretap law when it scans the e-mails of non-Gmail users, allowing a lawsuit against the company to move forward.

In her ruling, Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District Court of California, questioned the clarity of Google’s privacy policy in explaining how it collects and uses e-mail data for advertising purposes. A “reasonable” Gmail user reading the privacy policy could not be expected to understand the e-mail scanning process.

“Google’s alleged interceptions are neither instrumental to the provision of email services, nor are they an incidental effect of providing these services,” Koh wrote in the ruling. “The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the interceptions fall outside Google’s ordinary course of business.”

“This is a very big deal,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg. “Google can no longer peer inside of everyone’s e-mail.”

“The court rightly rejected Google’s tortured logic that you have to accept intrusions of privacy if you want to send email.l The ruling means federal and state wiretap laws apply to the Internet. It’s a tremendous victory for online privacy. Companies like Google can’t simply do whatever they want with our data and emails.”

The decision came as Google celebrated the 15th anniversary of its search engine and announced that it is planning to overhaul its search product.

Read full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/judge-allows-lawsuit-against-googles-gmail-scans-to-move-forward/2013/09/26/3b4bedaa-26e4-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html

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