The complaint objects to Google's automated e-mail scans and delivery of advertisements without compensating e-mail senders.
Attorneys representing Texas resident Keith Dunbar on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Google alleging that Gmail violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.
The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue more frequently noted for patent infringement complaints. The issue in this particular case is the way that Gmail scans the content of e-mail messages to serve targeted ads.
The complaint objects to Gmail's use of information in e-mail messages sent to Gmail accounts by those who don't use Gmail.
"Google intercepts and uses the information from non-Gmail account holders without regard to the privacy or proprietary nature of the information," the complaint states. "As result of Google's actions intercepting non-Gmail account holders' e-mail, Google obtains a monetary benefit without the consent of the Class members and without compensation to them."
This is not a new objection and isn't ikely to trouble Google's legal department much. Eric Goldman, associate professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law, characterizes the complaint as an "are-you-kidding-me? lawsuit" on his blog.
"[T]he topic was exhaustively debated when Gmail first publicly launched in 2004," said Goldman in an e-mail. "There were numerous calls on government agencies to investigate Google, and Cal. Sen. Figueroa 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."
"We haven't received a formal complaint and can't comment on specifics," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "To be clear though, Gmail -- like most Web mail providers -- uses automatic scanning to fight against spam and viruses. We use similar technology to show advertisements that help keep our services free. This is how Gmail has always worked."
Google argues that e-mail recipients have the right to view e-mail messages using the service of their choosing and that on the Internet senders are not required to consent to automated scanning, which every e-mail provider does, for security purposes if nothing else.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
InformationWeek Tech Digest August 03, 2015The networking industry agrees that software-defined networking is the way of the future. So where are all the deployments? We take a look at where SDN is being deployed and what's getting in the way of deployments.