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Google Facing Class Action Suit Over Gmail In Canada

     

engine

7:59 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Wayne Plimmer, a retiree living in Sechelt, British Columbia, filed a class action lawsuit against Google last week. In it, he and his attorney allege that Google’s Gmail service “intercepts, obtains and uses personal information it collections from emails sent to Gmail users.”

Gmail users, of course, can only use the service if they consent to Google’s terms of service, which explicitly allow the company’s algorithms to scan your email in order to present you with targeted ads. The twist in this lawsuit, and a number of previous ones filed against Yahoo and Google in a number of courts in the U.S. earlier this year, is that the plaintiff is not a Gmail user, which would immediately render his arguments moot. Instead, Plimmer argues that Google is invading his privacy by readings emails he sends to Gmail users. In addition, the lawsuit also argues that Google infringes on the email senders’ copyright, as well as solicitor-client, physician-patient, priest-penitent and journalist-source privileges.Google Facing Class Action Suit Over Gmail In Canada [techcrunch.com]

dstiles

8:31 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've been worried about that for some time. I've never used gmail and use virtually no G services now, but a few of my customers use gmail explicitly and I sometimes have to send them sensitive details, which I'm sure G "reads".

A step further: here in the UK a popular ISP, NTL, use mail servers apparently operated by G (the mail HELO claims to be G). I suspect they "intercept and read" mail but I have no evidence beyond extreme distrust of G to back it up and I doubt that NTL have true knowledge of what happens.

Tropical Island

12:47 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"...I sometimes have to send them sensitive details, which I'm sure G "reads"."

What the heck do you think they are doing with your "sensitive" details?

They do a scan for advertising purposes not keep your information.

Really the paranoia of people gets way out there.

The only sensitive details I could think of that would be worrisome might be something illicit like child porn or terrorist related. Otherwise chill out. Do you think it's just Google?
Do you think that mail you send to Yahoo, Hotmail, etc, etc is not being scanned for advertising purposes?

Jeeesh!

topr8

12:59 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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>>They do a scan for advertising purposes not keep your information.

who knows what they (and others eg hotmail/yahoo) keep, and how in the future that data may advertently or inadvertently become available to various interested parties.

>>The only sensitive details I could think of that would be worrisome might be something illicit like child porn or terrorist related.

really, how about if you were discussing a medical condition and then one day you can't get life insurance because of it.
or discussing your financial difficulties and then all of a sudden you can't get a bank loan.
how about sensitive, specific information about your business and a competitor gets hold of it.

i'm not for one minute suggesting that this happens now, but if the content of emails is somehow collected, who knows how this data may become available in the future.

Tropical Island

1:22 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tropical_island is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



really, how about if you were discussing a medical condition and then one day you can't get life insurance because of it.
or discussing your financial difficulties and then all of a sudden you can't get a bank loan.


Jeeesh!

bakedjake

1:23 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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They do a scan for advertising purposes not keep your information.


It may still be interception without consent, especially considering the plaintiff had no relationship with Google. Section 1 of BC's privacy act:

Violation of privacy actionable
1 (1) It is a tort, actionable without proof of damage, for a person, wilfully and without a claim of right, to violate the privacy of another.

(2) The nature and degree of privacy to which a person is entitled in a situation or in relation to a matter is that which is reasonable in the circumstances, giving due regard to the lawful interests of others.
(3) In determining whether the act or conduct of a person is a violation of another's privacy, regard must be given to the nature, incidence and occasion of the act or conduct and to any domestic or other relationship between the parties.
(4) Without limiting subsections (1) to (3), privacy may be violated by eavesdropping or surveillance, whether or not accomplished by trespass.


1(4) is interesting, and it will be interesting to see how the case plays out. Note that it specifically says that a violation of privacy is actionable without proof of damage.

I'm not a lawyer, just reading the claim and the law.

The only sensitive details I could think of that would be worrisome might be something illicit like child porn or terrorist related.

I can imagine lots of things I might not want Google to know - what if I'm building a company that might be competitive or detrimental to Google's business interests?

[edited by: bakedjake at 1:58 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2012]

TypicalSurfer

1:28 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If they have the data they'll eventually use it, that's just the way they roll. Google has no regard for the law instead seeing it only as a business negotiation, they use (or misuse) collected data and fight it out later.

That is a conspiracy fact :)

lucy24

7:45 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Really the paranoia of people gets way out there.

... which is why the Founding Fathers in the US decided the proposed Fourth Amendment was pointless and silly and decided to stop with nine. I mean, if you've got nothing to hide, why should you care if anyone snoops?

creeking

8:21 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



in some cases the email sender might not know he is sending to a gmail user.

G provides free email services for domain owners. so someone could send an email to keepsecret@example.com , not knowing that G is providing the email backend for example.com