arcticpenguin / flickr It’s widely understood that the ads Google puts in Gmail are based on the content of e-mails.

The millions of Gmail users presumably accept the company’s promise that “no humans read your e-mail.” Despite that, a lawsuit claiming that Google’s practice violates pre-Internet anti-wiretapping laws will be going forward. Lawyers representing non-Gmail users of various stripes in a class-action lawsuit say their clients never agreed to have their e-mails intercepted and scanned by Google.

They argue that Google’s “interception” of those e-mails violates federal anti-wiretapping laws and state privacy laws.

And today, US District Judge Lucy Koh agreed with them, refusing to grant Google’s motion to dismiss the case.

Even an e-mail sender who read the company’s privacy policies “would not have necessarily understood that her e-mails were being intercepted to create user profiles or to provide targeted advertisements,” stated the judge.

The plaintiffs in this case haven’t consented implicitly or explicitly to have their e-mails scanned, and so the lawsuit can move forward, she ruled.     

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