Google added a paragraph to its terms of service as of Monday to tell customers that, yes, it does scan e-mail content for advertising and customized search results, among other reasons. The change comes as Google undergoes a lawsuit over its e-mail scanning, with the plaintiffs complaining that Google violated their privacy.
E-mail users brought the lawsuit against Google in 2013, alleging that the company was violating wiretapping laws by scanning the content of e-mails. The plaintiffs’ complaints vary, but some of the cases include people who sent their e-mails to Gmail users from non-Gmail accounts and nonetheless had their content scanned. They argue that since they didn’t use Gmail, they didn’t consent to the scanning.
US District Judge Lucy Koh refused Google’s motion to dismiss the case in September. Koh also denied the plaintiffs class-action status in March on the grounds that the ways that Google might have notified the various parties of its e-mail scanning are too different, and she could not decide the case with a single judgment.
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