Articles Tagged with gmail

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 account e-mail address to an account e-mail address the owner of which was also located within Pennsylvania from within” the statute of limitations.”

Yesterday, Google was named in a class action lawsuit by a plaintiff identified only as “A.K., as next friend of minor child J.K.” Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the lawsuit alleges that Google has violated (and continues to violate) the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (the “Act”) and various state privacy laws by its “intentional and willful interception, scanning, and use of” emails sent to and from J.K., a minor child.

The plaintiff claims to represent similarly situated minor children in the state of Illinois and alleges, among other things, that Google’s Gmail product violates federal and state law. Section 2511 of the Act makes punishable anyone who “intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication.”

This is not the first time Google has been sued for Gmail’s use of email scanning to deliver personalized ads. In November 2010, Keith Dunbar filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging the same violations. The case was transferred in June 2012 to Judge Lucy Koh on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is still in discovery at the time of writing.

Last week, Sprint filed several requests for the issuance of subpoenas in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of the subpoenas, according to the declarations accompanying them, is to reveal the identity of one who identifies him/herself as a ‘mole’ or insider in the company who may be violating Sprint’s copyright. The mystery mole has a Gmail account, as well as accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and Sprint has requested that the court subpoena all three companies.

The mystery mole purports to leak inside information “from deep within the enterprise,” though the logo on each of its pages contains nearly illegible text that says “Not affiliated w/ SprintNextel.”

The cases are Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Facebook Inc., Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Google Inc., and Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Twitter, Inc. Continue reading →