Friday, October 12, 2012
Google accused of spying on Gmail users
Google isn’t exactly a stranger to allegations that they invade the privacy of their customers, but now the search engine is being asked to explain itself in court over accusations that they snoop through messages sent through its Gmail service.
Representatives from Google are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit waged at the company’s Gmail platform because the plaintiffs in the case cannot explicitly prove that their correspondence is being unlawfully monitored by the email service.
Brad Scott and Todd Harrington are the lead plaintiffs in a case that attempts to call-out the Silicon Valley search engine company as being in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) because they believe Gmail conducts clandestine scans of emails for words and content, intentionally intercepting private communiqué as a result without obtaining the user’s permission. Google, on the other hand, maintains that only computers complete all the legwork and that no humans actually have their eyes on any emails, also insisting that neither Mr. Scott nor Mr. Harrington can back up their claims that any action from Gmail has led to injury.
Google condemned the case this week, Courthouse News reports, arguing by way of a 25-page motion that Gmail scans data sent over its servers using its "fully automated processes involve no human review of any kind" that they insist exists to screen out viruses and spam "for the protection of its users." Now they are asking US District Judge Lucy Koh to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.
The plaintiffs say that Google’s actions are enough to land them in court because that conduct constitutes wiretapping and eavesdropping in their eyes, a claim which Google says is “contorting” state law "in ways the California Legislature never intended.”