On November 30, Google was hit with yet one more class action lawsuit over Gmail’s method of scanning emails to deliver personalized advertising to its users. The named plaintiff in this case, Kristen Brinkman, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Like in the other cases, this case alleges that the way Google automatically scans the emails of its Gmail users to deliver personalized ads is unlawful. The complaint cites Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5701 as prohibiting the behavior in which Google allegedly engaged.
There is nothing unusual about this case as compared to any of the other related cases filed against Google (in California, Florida, and Illinois). The complaint lays out as the proposed class of plaintiffs “[a]ll natural persons located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who sent e-mails from a firstname.lastname@example.org account e-mail address to an @gmail.com account e-mail address the owner of which was also located within Pennsylvania from within” the statute of limitations.”
Theoretically, there could be a similar state-wide class action lawsuit in every state with an applicable statute, as well as one with a nationwide class raising federal claims. Likely we will see more and more of these cases crop up across the country until the question is fully resolved.